Retracing FDR’s Steps

Two years ago, the troop made its maiden voyage up to Hyde Park to visit the estate & Presidential Library of FDR and camp in the beautiful Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park.  That trip was memorable due to the fact that it was approximately one month before President Barack Obama was elected (historically significant), the designated campground was stunningly secluded but exhibited uniquely fun features, and the scouts got to explore the cliffs and cleanup the marina area securing an hour of community service.  So it was with great anticipation, that the troop returned in 2010.  In addition to being blessed with fabulous weather, the boys provided ample entertainment at night with a variety of skits.  This year’s main campsite attraction was not the giant dirt bowl of two years ago, but instead an amazingly large grapevine hanging from high atop the tall trees allowing the boys to swing like Tarzan!  The weekend was topped off with a respectful US flag retirement ceremony, led by Assistant Scoutmaster Mike Occhicone.  Our scouts truly love this outing, as these pictures will attest!

Exploring Picturesque Catskills: North South Lake

Every year Troop 353 tries to explore some new territory given that so many varied terrains are within a short 2-hour drive. A visit to North South Lake turned our small group of explorers into huge believers that this is one park that should be revisited frequently!  North South Lake is not a New York State property, but instead a park in the Dept. of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) domain.  We had read about the attractiveness of the park through various online sources, but nothing could prepare us for the incredible beauty we discovered.  The list of scenic and historic points along the scenic Escarpment Trail are numerous:  Badman’s Cave, Sunset & Lookout Rock, Artist Rock, Boulder Rock, Inspration Point, Catskill Mountain House & Kaaterskill Hotel.  There were numerous croppings that allowed for small grade rock climbing and bouldering.  At the picturesque North South Lake & public campground, a boat rental provided opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, rowing, and paddleboats.  Fishing is also available for those looking to hook a chain pickerel, brown bullhead, pumpkinseed, black crappie or largemouth bass (no license required for those 16 & under).  We encountered many outdoor enthusiasts that day: hikers, geocachers, nature groups, wedding parties and numerous other families.  Finally, a short distance away are the famous Kaaterskill Falls–a two tiered waterfall system of 175 feet and 85 feet, that are believed to be the highest in NY state. Unquestionably, this park has something for everyone!  Check out the incredible pictures here!