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Pharaoh Wilderness Backpacker - Max Group Size: 9

If you want to learn about backpacking, this is the one for you.   You’ll learn the fundamentals of traveling light but right.  At the end of the week you will be ready to finish Backpacking merit badge, do a 50-Miler or hike the trails of Philmont! 

After a thorough shakedown of gear, menu, food and clothing.  You will be taken to the Putnam Pond trail-head ready to start into an area rich in history and natural beauty.  As you travel along this trail of a dozen ponds and streams, you will learn trail food preparation and stove use, how to treat water to stay healthy, and the fine points of pack adjustment and foot care so that you can be comfortable every step of the way.

You will acquire or hone valuable outdoor competences as we put the finishing touches on your map and compass skills with a bushwhack over Thunderbolt Mountain.  We will camp, after a shower under a waterfall, on the shore of Pharaoh Lake for which this area is named.

This roadless wilderness area is home to trout, loon, coyote, deer and bear.  It would be hard to find a better place to break into the world of backpacking.

Participants in this Trek will complete all the requirements for Backpacking Merit Badge except: #10 - the 3rd two-night, 15 mile hike; and #11 - the five-day minimum 30 mile hike.

The Paul Smith - Max Group Size: 7

This Trek starts near the site of one of the Adirondacks most famous 19th-Century resort hotels.  You will travel over five major lakes and a series of small ponds connected by streams and carries.  Brook trout up to several pounds have been caught here, and other wildlife abounds.  This is where trekkers have often spotted bald eagles and where you are most likely to see moose.  Tent sites and lean-tos at beaches and islands provide plenty of spectacular mountain and lake views.  You may even get a chance to operate a lock to change from one river level to another.

It is here that you can paddle Bear Pond, with water so clear that even though it is 75 feet deep, you can see its bottom or realize the bumps you see on a log are suddenly moving!  No, it’s not that you’ve been out in the sun too long; those are baby mergansers who have been taking advantage of their natural camouflage.  This is a very special place, the only canoe area in New York State also designated as a Wilderness Area.  These are days you will remember the rest of your life.

This Trek can be extended into a very strenuous 50-Miler.  For most, though, the opportunity to see and enjoy it in a leisurely way is preferable.   Should you decide on doing 50 miles you should allow an extra day (through Saturday).

The Noah John Rondeau Sampler - Max Group Size: 9

Here is a unique mix of the best the Adirondacks has to offer!  Start by canoeing down Long Lake to its outlet.  Then down the Raquette River to Cold River where you will go upstream as far as  you can in a canoe.  Put your canoe and all extra gear in the brush, mark the spot well in your mind (you’ll have to return to it on your way out) and change into backpacking mode.  At this point you will be entering some of the most beautiful and remote wilderness to be found in the Adirondacks, the back side of the High Peaks.  Put on your pack and head for Shattuck’s Clearing (you’ll have to cross a backcountry suspension footbridge to get there) where you will establish a two-day base camp.  Spend some time swimming, rump-bumping over a waterfall or maybe just fishing.

With the Seward Mountains to the north, the Santanoni Range to the south and the Cold River with its native brook trout at your feet, you'll agree, "It just doesn't get any better than this"!  The next day put on your daypack and explore the world of Noah John Rondeau, the hermit of Cold River.  He lived here alone on Santa Clara Lumber Company land for most of his life.  He died in 1967 at the age of 84.

All too soon it is time to pack up, reverse the route and return to where you put in.  This Trek can easily be extended into a 50 Miler.

The Northville-Placid Trail, South – Max Group Size: 11

It will take you a full week (Sunday through Saturday) to complete this 56-mile backpacking adventure.  Start from the tiny community of Upper Benson and head north.  You'll cross rivers and streams on suspension bridges that will make you feel like Indiana Jones and may go days seeing no one other than members of your own crew.

Wildlife abounds here; this is the home of beaver, deer, osprey, bass and trout.  Who knows?  You may even see an eagle!  There will be time after you've made camp at a pristine tent site or Adirondack lean-to to fish for that big one or just lean back and enjoy the sunset.  What a great way to meet the challenge of the 50 Miler Award!

There are a number of different places to start and end your hike in this section of the Northville-Placid Trail.  You may choose to do less than 50 miles and simply have a wonderful trip that meets the last requirement of Backpacking Merit Badge (30 mile hike).  It is recommended that you talk over your options with the Treks Program Director.  Should you decide on doing 50 miles, you will need to allow an extra day (through Saturday).

The Teddy Roosevelt - Max Group Size: 7

In 1901, Vice-President and former New York State Governor Theodore Roosevelt was vacationing in the Adirondacks.  Part of his plans for the holiday included climbing Mt. Marcy, New York's highest mountain.  He left from the Tahawus Club near the McIntyre Iron Works and spent that night south of Marcy.   The next day he reached the summit and was on his way back down when he received word that President McKinley had succumbed to an assassination attempt.   The rest, as they say, is history.

This backpacking trek starts from the same trailhead at the Upper Works, and follows almost the same exact route Roosevelt used 100 years ago to the top of Marcy.  Along the way you will pass by Lake Tear of the Clouds, the highest source of the mighty Hudson River.  The balance of the itinerary will be determined by the Trek Crew.  Possibilities include climbing other of the High Peaks (summits over 4000'), spending part of a day fishing a remote pond or stream, or hiking out an entirely different route.

This trek is a Historic Trail and will qualify participants for that award.

The Nessmuk Odyssey - Max Group Size: 9

During the late 1800s the Adirondacks became a very popular vacation destination for the wealthy of the northeast and even Europe.  A favorite activity for the very stalwart was to hire a guide with his guideboat and hunt and fish their way across part of the region, staying in hotels and 3-sided "camps" (forerunners of the Adirondack lean-to) with every need catered to by the guide.

George Washington Sears whose pen-name was "Nessmuk", was one of the first to go it alone without a guide or his guideboat, and to paddle his own canoe.   This trek will begin at Old Forge, as Nessmuk did, and will cross the Adirondacks from southwest to northeast. This trek can cover a distance in excess of 100 miles, with a take-out in the vicinity of Paul Smith's College or it can be shortened to approximately 90 miles, with a takeout at Saranac Lake.  There are other options ranging from about 35 miles, to 50, and up.

Along the way there will be time to fish, enjoy campfires, and meet locals and other campers.  At about the half-way point, on the longer routes, you will take a break from paddling and resupply your food packs, swim at a town beach and eat hamburgers and french fries. An extra cost option at this point is to take a scenic flight over the route. 

This Trek will can qualify as either a Historic Trail or 50-Miler.

The Raquette River Headwaters - Max Group Size: 9

The Raquette River is the longest river flowing within the Adirondack Park.   Many Scouts see it as a challenge and set a goal of beginning at its source and paddling its length within the "Blue Line".  This is an admirable goal!   As you travel Blue Mountain Lake, the Marion River, Raquette and Forked Lakes, you will not only be following the paths of millionaires and legendary Adirondack guides of the 19th Century, but you will also be able to get close to wildlife.   It is here that Scouts have seen osprey diving out of the sky to catch their supper.  As you put in after the Marion River Carry, look down into the clear waters and see if you can see trout between 1 and 2 feet long as other Scouts before you have.

Every day before and after supper you'll be able to swim or fish in some of the finest waters one can find in these mountains.  Later, after your evening campfire, you'll be serenaded to sleep by loons.  After Forked Lake this gathering of waters is finally named the Raquette River.   Drift along with the current with a fish line trolled behind.  What's that sound?   Buttermilk Falls!  Could Adirondack Murray really have shot it in a wooden canoe as he claimed? (We'll use the portage trail...)

It's on to Long Lake next.  Too soon it's time to pull the boats from the water and tie them on the trailer.  Who would believe a week could go by so fast?

Options that can be added to this trek include: a scenic flight over your route or a visit to the Adirondack Museum, perhaps the best of its kind in the world.

The Raquette River II - Max Group Size: 9

This is probably the most popular canoe trip in the Adirondacks.  Putting in at the village of Long Lake you will paddle north past the sites of resort hotels that existed in another era.  They are long gone, but people from around the world still love this body of water.  Take extra care in rigging your bear bags this first night out; Long Lake's logo of a bear with her cub is well-chosen.  It's up early the next morning, and quickly you will leave the lake and its motorboats behind.  You are on the river!  Off to your right is the Cold River valley where the hermit Noah John Rondeau spent most of his life.  To your left lies Follensby Pond, the site of one of New York's eagle hatching stations to restore the bald eagle to the wilds of the northeast.

The only carry of this trek is just around the bend.  Don't miss the take-out; Raquette Falls can grind up a canoe into little pieces.   As you move all your gear over this carry of about 1.4 miles, your mind will be saying, "There's got to be an easier way."  For a day and a half more, you will paddle the river, stopping at a high sandy-banked campsite where you can swim and float with the current.  Once you reach Tupper Lake you will turn south and take out where the Bog River spills into the lake.

This is probably the easiest 50-Miler a group of Scouts can do.

The Guideboat Trail - Max Group Size: 9

This trek, named for the many fine 19th century boat builders who lived along this route, also starts at Long Lake Village and follows the Raquette River.   It is physically more demanding, but presents a great deal more variety of terrain and experience.  Once past Raquette Falls you will take the Stoney Creek Ponds cut-off leading to the only documented site of a Native American Village in the Adirondacks.  Here you will carry across to Upper Saranac Lake with its broad expanses of water.  Maybe the time has come to get out your fishing gear, or spend an hour swimming, or just kick back and enjoy the sunset and an evening campfire.  The historic Bartlett Carry (recently secured by the State Of New York) will lead you to Middle Saranac with its white sand beach, considered by many to be the finest in the Adirondacks.  After a swim and lunch a truly unique experience awaits you.  You will paddle into a lock, climb out of your canoe, and hand operate the mechanism to lower your boat with all of its gear to the level of Lower Saranac Lake.  You will experience history and primitive engineering unlike anything you will ever find in books.

Besides enjoying some of the most beautiful Adirondack waters to be found, you will have a chance to meet others seeing the lakes, rivers and mountains as they have been since a long time ago.  This trek qualifies as a 50-miler.

If you are interested in signing up for a Unit Trek, please contact the Twin Rivers Council Service CenterExternal Link or contact  Julie VanAmburgh - Camping and Program Director

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