Friday, February 1, 2008
Carlisle Scouts challenge the elements on annual Deep Freeze outing
Over the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, many in Carlisle forget the hustle and bustle of school and work to enjoy three days with their family and friends. However, a few men and boys from Carlisle's Boy Scout Troop 135 challenged the arctic air blowing in from Canada and spent two nights on the annual Deep Freeze camping trip in the forest near Vermont's Mount Snow.
After a three-hour drive we reached our destination, Grout Pond. The temperature was down to the mid-20s, with some gusting. Hauling our loaded expedition sleds, we hiked in about a mile and a half until we reached the shore of the pond itself. We used an ice pick to test the ice before walking on it. After we chipped through several inches and hadn't reached water, we decided that the ice was safe to cross.
We hiked to the far end of the pond and made camp in a wooded peninsula. That night temperatures dropped to 10 degrees, darkness fell at around 5 p.m., and we retired not long afterward. Overnight we received a light coat of snow, and everything froze that wasn't in a sleeping bag.
By morning it had warmed to about 15 degrees, and we started off on a hike across the Somerset Reservoir. After hiking two miles through the woods and part way across the reservoir, we stopped on the ice to have a lunch of hot soup, followed by a game of football. It clouded up and the wind blew a steady 20 mph on the return, with snow blowing directly on our noses.
It got dark within an hour of returning to camp, and the temperature dropped to two degrees. We had a hand- cranked radio tuned to the Pats-Chargers game, and it seemed warmer when we won. A cozy campfire warmed us, one side at a time, and we went to bed around 9:30. I estimate it reached about minus 5 during the night. Lying there in my sleeping bag, I thought, "I'm too old for this!"
On Monday, the sole thing that got me out of my sleeping bag was the fact that the sooner I did, the sooner I would be at home where I could actually control the temperature! I was in the middle of a Peaches and Crème oatmeal when I was called over to help take my tent down. By the time I got back, my oatmeal was colder than a freezer, but it still tasted like heaven to me.
Once everybody was packed, we headed back across the pond. The wind was again blowing in our faces, and the words Dillon had been saying all weekend, "Steak and Cheese sub," were ringing in my ears. When we got off the pond, adrenalin was pumping through my system, and I didn't stop until I got to the parking lot.
On the way home we stopped at a Subway to celebrate, consuming foot- long subs in two or three bites. My fellow adventurers and I agree that even school seems like a luxury now — at least we have heat.
© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito