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BWCA vs Adirondacks ?

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Hello Everyone,


My name is Dave and I live in southwestern Ohio. I am an Assistant Scoutmaster with my son's scout troop and I'm researching possible treks for the upcoming summer.


Our troop went to Philmont last year. We went on Trek 32 and we trained for the trip by going on four separate 15 to 19 mile trips in southwestern Ohio in the four months preceding Philmont and we've done one 15-miler since, although the highest "peak" on any of the trips we've done in Ohio is 1,300-ft. The scouts are in the 15-17 year old range. After Philmont, none of them want to go to a regular summer camp program and that's why I'm here.


One of the possibilities that has been discussed is the Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota. Another troop in our city makes the trip there every year and they speak highly of it. I guess I'm ok with that, we would definitely be isolated from others and the fishing would be great but it's a 20 hour drive from here and it's all canoeing.


Another possibility is the Adirondack Mountains in New York. They are a 12 hour drive away. The areas that I would like advise on are as follows:


1 - Has anyone here been to both the Boundary Waters and the Adirondacks? If so, how do they compare?


2 - Has anyone been to both Philmont and the Adirondacks? Other than the climate and the altitude, how does backpacking in the ADK's compare, as in scenery,wildlife, physical requirements and overall satisfaction?


3 - If you had a choice of all backpacking, or all canoeing or a combination of both, what would your choice be and why?


5 - There are several Boy Scout camps in the Adirondack region that have websites that I have looked at that offer high adventure treks, Summit Base, which is part of the Curtis S. Read Scout Reservation; the Sabattis Adventure Camp; the Rollins Pond Adventure Base and the Massawepie Scout Camp. Does anyone here have any experience with any of these camps or any others that could be shared?


We have a few weeks to make a decision and I'm wanting to provide the troop with an accurate assessment. Any input would be very much appreciated.





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Welcome Dave.

I can only address #5...

I am a long time fan of Curtis S. Read Scout Reservation. All three camps with in the reservation work togeather to insure a great time for your entire troop. Summit base is a great place to start any number of treks of any number of days. They are willing to get right into it with you and set up a custom plan to fit your troop. Our troop has done tupper lake- long lake (afloat), friends have done the wilderness areas (L.N.T. to the max) other have done over night in the caves of Chimney mountain. Or you can mix and match. (or go for a pre canned trip if you don't care to do the planning.)


Best of all, your younger scouts can stay at one of the other two camps in the reservation enjoying a great summer camp with all the normal stuff plus WW rafting, horses (10 most years), caves (wet and dry)... Well, you get the idea... you can see more of our past base camp fun at http://www.onmyhonor.com/events0102/camp02/


(This message has been edited by wingnut)

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Hi and welcome Dave,


Rollins Pond Adventure Base is Floodwood Mountain Scout Reservation. Had the pleasure of going there this past summer. We had a great time. Last time I had been there was as a scout in 1971. Each trek decides on what they want to do afoot/afloat and duration 1-4 nites out. Sailing,water skiing and rock climbing is also available.

More info for the 2006 season is available at:





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Sabattis Scout Reservation has been one of our Troops summer camps. Fantastic sceanery, fantastic program for in camp scouts and lots of treks to choose from. The only drawback to some is the lack of a dining hall. More info can be found at cnyscouts.org.

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I have been to both the boundry waters and the adirondacks, when I was a scout. I found the adirondacks to be more setteled on the lakes than the boundry waters.The lakes were smaller than in the boundry waters and the method in which the canoes were portaged was more difficult in the aderondacks than in the boundry waters. With only half of the trip on lakes I did not really get a feel for canoeing while I was in the aderondacks due to the short length of the time in canoes, and it does take time to get uesed to/ learn to canoe.


The hiking in the aderondacks I found to be more strenuous than at phillmont. It is more like east coast hiking where the trails go strait up the mountain as aposed to haveing swich backs. and there are not activity centers it the aderondacks.


If I could choose I would choose either one of the other because when you swich you often have to take a day transfering mediums and dealing with canoes.


I went through massiwepie whe I went to the aderondacks and through Northern tier whe I went to the boundry waters.

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Sabattis Scout Reservation...the only drawback to some is the lack of a dining hall.


And to some, that is Sabattis' greatest attraction! Nothing will solidify your Patrols faster than a week of Patrol cooking and Sabattis bears!


For a subjective account of our last visit to Sabattis, see:




For pics, see:




Finally, for my "Sabattis Bear Song," see:




Sabattis is one of our nation's greatest Scout camps, but when we backpack in the Adirondacks we avoid the expense of using it as our base-camp. We pay to park at the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), and shower there on our way out.


Avoid camping too close to the ADK on your way in and out of the woods. The bears there are very clever. They know exactly what a rope near a tree means, and they will slice it with their claws. If timing dictates that you must camp nearby, then take advantage of the wire provided over Marcy Dam from which bear bags may be hung safely.


Also avoid June, which is mud and black-fly season.


Oh, and the number of people camping together at night is limited, so your Patrols will have to camp about a mile apart (at night--they do enforce that). If you stay in a lean-to for more than three consecutive nights you will need a free DEC permit, see:




My own days of hauling a pack over mountain peaks are over, so I usually usually backpack to the base of Mt. Marcy with the first and second-year Scouts and we take day-hikes up Mt. Marcy and Mt. Algonquin. If you do that, be sure the Scouts pack warm clothing in their day packs, along with their ten essentials. It can be very cold at the summit, even in July and August.


The ADK publishes very detailed topo maps (with trail overlays) and trail guidebooks, see:




One of your most lasting memories of backpacking in the "High Peaks Region" of the Adirondacks will be the all-pervasive smell of evergreens and damp earth.



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I am a backpacker (some Yellowstone some Appalachian trial, others) and in 2005 my family (3 kids under 12) did the boundary waters.


I think as a unit development tool the Boundary waters would have the affect of developing more unity. Canoeing requires the front and back paddlers to work together. Portaging best done when the load is shared thought out and planned. Serious work is needed when portaging but fun swimming is awaiting at the nest put-in.


If you did the the Philmont backpack route then a Boundary water trip would really round out your Scout's development.



Don't rule out the Canadian side of the Boundary waters which is Quentico(sp).


link of interest:





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Ive heard rumors that my council is putting in a Dining Hall at Sabbattis.


I also was told that they are spending $1M in improvements (dining hall included) there.


I dont know when this is taking place or if patrol cooking is being eliminated or it will still be an option or if this is all just a rumor to try and boost attendance.


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  • 4 weeks later...

When my council's resident camp was closed through most of the nineties, my troop took up residence at Buckskin Camp at Curtis S. Read. In my fourth year there my closest friends and I opted for a 50-mile hike through Summit Base. What was mentioned about Read custimizing the trip for the individual group is true. On Sunday night, our guide presented us with three or four options. We chose the northern half of the Northville-Lake Placid Trail. It remains to this day one of my favorite memories of Scouting amongst Nat Jambo and being part of the staff that reopened my home council's camp. I ended up going to college in Plattsburgh for the sole reason of being within an hour's drive of the Adirondack High Peaks. The 'dacks are truly rugged. Steep, damp, rocky, buggy. But, oh so rewarding. Summit Base can offer you two major options. 1-the 50-mile one way trek on the N-LP Trail. 2-a base camp with multiple peakbagging day hikes. In a week, you can probably bag ten or so of the 46 high peaks. Depends on how ambitious your crew is. Just remember to bring your Gore-tex boots and short gaiters. The 'dacks have three seasons. Winter, mud and bug. You'll be there somewhere on the cusp of mud and bug.

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