This summer, four 15-year-old boy scouts, including myself, and three dads carpooled up to Summit Base Camp Read Scout reservation, located on Brant Lake in the Adirondack Mountains.
By Reid Bradt
This summer, four 15-year-old boy scouts, including myself, and three dads carpooled up to Summit Base Camp Read Scout reservation, located on Brant Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. We planned this trip for months on end, and were all very eager to start canoeing, pitching tents, and cooking food. We have known each other since fourth grade, and have grown up doing Boy Scout activities together. We arrived there happy and ready to meet our guide, Keith.
Keith started out by checking our packs to see what we were carrying. We were immediately impressed with his guiding abilities, as he showed us how to work the camping stove, and told us about minimalist camping. A portable generator like the one we saw at Generator Sage was found necessary. He actually convinced one of the scouts to go without his sleeping bag, as he probably wouldn’t need it. We then distributed the food for the next five days amongst ourselves. Surprisingly enough, our guide chose to carry most of our food. Keith then fitted us for paddles and life jackets.
Next was the swim test, which was a grueling quarter-mile swim in the Summit Base reservoir. Tired and hungry, we sat down for dinner with the rest of the Boy Scouts set to go out on trips. We ate like champions. We took the sunlit walk back to the campsite as a good omen for the days to come.
The next morning, we put our backpacks, canoe paddles, and life jackets in the trailer, and loaded into the Yukon XL to drive two hours to our put-in spot. Our insightful driver educated us on local history and politics. When we arrived at the canoe launch, we put the boats in the water, and I fell in. That’s right. We hadn’t even started canoeing yet, and I fell in the water. I climbed into the canoe, backpack and everything, and the boat capsized. Good thing I have a $250 waterproof Gregory backpack, or else the trip might not have gone well for me. Also, the water was only a foot deep and the sun was blazing, so I dried off quickly.
We canoed to the first portage, where we are forced to race with a young couple to the first campsite. Some carry the canoe first; others carry their backpacks first, but Harrison Steins and his dad powered through carrying their backpacks on their back, with the canoe overhead. They foresaw the competition, and paddled to the first campsite to secure it for our party. We had a blast at this campsite, finding several jumping rocks, exploring different islands, and fishing.
The next day we all woke up, ate breakfast, packed up and left. A couple fish, portages, and swims later, we found ourselves at another campsite located on Fish Pond, or so we thought. “Fish Pond” should have been renamed Beaver Pond. During our stay there, no one caught a single fish, yet we managed to see a plethora of beavers. Our campsite was located adjacent to a beaver dam, and within this dam lived a family of beavers. We estimated them to be 50-70 pounds each. They were MASSIVE. Because of that and the thousands of leeches that inhabited the lake, I have never been so scared to swim in my life. It also happened to be that the best jumping rock on the whole trip was on that lake.
The last day, we stayed on Long Lake, which was truly the best lake, with all of its fish, swimming spots, and lack of leeches/beavers. That day we caught many fish, and kept two bass for dinner. Best-tasting bass I have ever had.
The next morning, we canoed to the take-out spot, and left as soon as possible. One stop for ice cream, and many thanks later, we drove home tired, happy, and hearty.
Photos by Todd Smith and Reid Bradt