On November 13, 2010 eight scouts and leaders from Troop 5 and one guest spent an exciting day of rockclimbing in an area known as the Gunks, which is located in the Hudson River Valley near the village of New Paltz.  The Gunks are part of the six thousand acres of wilderness land that are managed by the Mohonk Preserve and are home to over a thousand rock formations that are perfect for climbing.  The day of rockclimbing in the crisp November air was a fun experience for everyone involved.  Scouts Tim Weir, Jason Cushman, Michael Landy and Christopher Miller and scout leaders Landy, Stoeffhaas and Cushman and special guest Nolan McMahon camped at Stone Mountain Farm for this adventure.

We began on Saturday morning meeting up with our instructors Ryan, Cam, and our leader, Tye.  From the parking lot, we hiked about twenty minutes to Stone Mountain Farm, and had a fun day of climbing.  We climbed up the cliffs and rappelled down cliffs that rose up to 100 feet at almost completely vertical inclines.  The guides made it both fun and safe.  The most dangerous part seemed to be standing at the bottom in the slippery rock climbing shoes which, when added to the dead leaves on the ground, caused not a few of us to fall on our tails.   While we all got a bunch of sarcastic comments from Tye (BTW, Tye should talk, he was named after the first Indian tribe in Puerto Rico), Chris Miller earned most of his climbing merit badge requirements.  He joined Jack McCann, Jason Cushman, Michael Landy, Justin Hoak, Jasper Cox and Chris Hopkins as scouts who earned their climbing merit badges at The Cliffs in Valhalla over the last two weeks. 

After climbing, we hiked back to our campsite, put up our tents as the sun was quickly setting and made a fire.  Dinner was cooked by Tim Weir (First Class Cooking), who made tacos, and Jason Cushman (First Class Cooking), who made hobo burgers.  After that, we had S’mores and attempted to stay warm by the fire.  Since we weren’t very successful staying warm, we all decided to go to bed and hoped that our sleeping bags would keep the frigid night air out.  We were wrong…  The temperatures dipped below 32˚ and many of us scurried in the middle of the night to put another layer of clothing on.

We woke up bright and early, restarted the fire with some left-over coals and ate a hearty breakfast by those First Class cooks and Chris Miller (Second Class Cooking).   After breakfast, some scouts went geocaching and found a cache in the hollow of a tree overlooking a huge swath of the Hudson Valley – simply beautiful.   We finished packing up and hit the road for home.

Tim Weir