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High Aventure Caving with Troop 76

Troop 76 scouts take a break in Clarkesville Cave.
Troop 76 scouts take a break in Clarkesville Cave.
Simsbury Boy Scout Troop 76 Venture Scouts embarked on a high adventure Caving trip near Albany, NY over President’s weekend and found out a lot about themselves as they learned the finer points of spelunking.   In attendance were John Boysen, Justin Casalino, Brenton Arena, Cole Starrett, Rigby Michelson, Tyler Drake, Mr. Weiland and Mr. Starrett.

This was an intense trip that tested everyone's mental and physical toughness.  2 days of caving brought out the best in the boys and they all did great!  Guides Steve and Felicia Millett, who also joined the troop's first caving outing last March, and surprise additional guide  Jose Martinez on Saturday, were superb: all about safety and allowing the boys to lead.  They were critical to our success and the Troop has forged a strong bond with them and the CT Speleological Society.

Highlights from the trip:

Friday night:

- Finding our cabin at Rotary Scout Reservation half a mile in the woods under a full moon and in 2 feet of fresh snow.

- Digging pathways in the snow to tent spots and the latrine.

Saturday:

- Duct taping our forearms in place of forgotten elbow pads.  Ripping them off was fun…

- Breaking trail through knee deep snow to the Clarksville Cave and dropping in!

- Lake Room, Corkscrew, Compressor and the Slide all conquered.

- Bats 1 foot away!

- 3 foot tall stalagmites on the floor.

- Rockin and rollin in Mr. Weiland’s Scooby Doo van!

Sunday:

- Onesquethaw Cave is how long (5042 feet) and we’re crawling the entire way?!

- Climbing the log to work our way to the cave’s second level.

- The Spider Room towards the end was very welcome as we could actually stand!

- Mr. Weiland dancing and shadow boxing on the road to stay warm after exiting Onesquethaw!

- Throwing drenched, ripped clothes into the trunk and heading to Dunkin Donuts.

The boys had a great time, conquering the challenges of the caves.  Clarksville is very testing, but Onesquethaw upped the ante requiring patience and concentration.  Tight squeezes were the norm, but with diligence and solid advice from our guides, it was all doable.

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