Hiking the Breakneck Ridge Trail

Breakneck Ridge Trail

Recently a small group of mainly older scouts ventured out for a stenuous hike on the Breakneck Ridge Trail in the Hudson Highlands State Park. Although the hiking maps showed a likely steep ascent, the magnitude of the pitch was even more intimidating in its actual appearance. However, the trail was not as bad as it first appeared and about every 200 feet of elevation there was a spot for resting and enjoying the view. The trailhead begins at the Hudson River and winds its way nearly straight up mulitple rock facings until one reaches the peak at about 1100 feet. There were multiple scenic view points along the way as evidenced by numerous spectacular photographs. After lunch, our hardy crew headed back down the backside of the ridge along the Breakneck trail bypass.

Along the way, we came across a small swamp with thick reeds atop the mountain with numerous loud, chirping frogs–a unique and unexpected ecosystem that was thriving with life. The area was also ripe for major bird watching, with several different species spotted along the way. In the distance, about 3 miles to the Northeast of the top of the ridge one could view South Beacon Mountain and an abandoned watchtower, where one reportedly can view NYC, some 40 miles south. In the Hudson River below, hikers could view Pollepel Island, home of the Bannerman Castle. Francis Bannerman built a castle simulated after his home country of Scotland and used the island as a major storage facility for his highly successful munitions business. Pollepel Island has a rich history, for more information, see http://www.bannermancastle.org/history.html.

All in all, participants agreed that the strenuous hike was well worth the effort and each agreed that they look forward to a return visit. Maybe next time, our group can make the South Beacon Mountain Tower….Enjoy the pics!

Scout Sunday: Pass the Coffee and Sign ‘Em Up!

Scout Sunday

Manning two tables filled with coffee, juice and dougnuts – as well as hand-outs on Scouting – a hardy band of Scouts, Webelos and adult leaders braved a blustery morning at Immaculate Conception Church on Scout Sunday, March 25th. The goal was simple: to let church-goers know about all the great activities of Cub Scout Pack 7 and Troop 353 and to recruit new members. There was plenty of enthusiasm as boys, parents, and grandparents stopped by the tables to talk about Scouting and get more information. Several Scouts got up to read a short presentation after each Mass and received enthusiastic applause. Oh, and the doughnuts went fast too.

Swim Night at Durland Aquatics Center


If there is one thing a scout likes to do just about any time of year it is swimming!  During the winter months of February and March, Troop 353 took scouts to the Durland Swim Center in Rye, NY.  The boys had a very fun time playing their version of Water Polo.  Scouts passed their 2nd Class and 1st Class (BSA Swim Test) swimming requirements.  Some even retook the BSA Swim Test just for the challenge!  Clearly, the Water Polo game was the center of attention and considerable fun!  Take a good look at the official Durland Swim Center sign–it may soon be a collector’s island, as our Council is in the midst of trying to sell the property.  For more fun photos from swim night at Durland, click here!