TICONDEROGA Eight members from Ticonderogas senior Boy Scouting group, Venture Crew 72, spent two weeks in Colorado and New Mexico as part of a larger scouting contingent from New York. The local scouts from Venture Crew 72 included Eain Tierney, David Cook, Kevin Densmore, Dave Mallon and Alex Durkota. The local adult leaders included: Chris Mallon, Jeff Cook and Alan Durkota. While in Colorado, the scouts participated in several outdoor activities which included mountain biking and white water rafting. The mountain biking trail started at the summit of Pikes Peak with an elevation of 14,110 feet and required the scouts to travel over 19 miles as they descended 7,000 feet down the mountains switch-back road. The white water rafting took place over a 15-mile section of the Arkansas River, which involved level 2, 3, and 4 rapids as it flowed through Bighorn Canyon, west of Canon City, Colo. The majority of the trip for the scouts was spent backpacking at Philmont Scout Ranch, located near Cimarron, N.M. During their stay in Philmont, the scouts from Ticonderoga formed a small independent crew that spent eight days in the backcountry and hiked 65 miles while continually carrying 35-45 pound packs. Everyone was required to hike switch-back trails daily that were at altitudes that rapidly and frequently changed between 7,000 and 9,800 feet. On one day, the group hiked 16 miles and successfully reached the summit of Baldy Mountain with an elevation of 12,441 feet. The mountain obtained its name because the upper section is void of all trees and plants and requires the climber to maneuver over loose rock formations. Because the loose rocks typically gives way under the climbers weight, most people frequently slide downwards while ascending the mountain and are forced to re-climb lost ground repeatedly in an attempt to reach the summit. During the eight days of hiking, the scouts experienced daily temperature changes that ranged from the low 90s in the daytime to the low 30s in the evening. On two consecutive evenings the Ticonderoga crew was subjected to two large hail storms; one of which produced hail nearly 1/4 inch in diameter and lasted for five minutes. Some activities the scouts participated in while at Philmont included conservation work on a hiking trail; rock climbing/repelling; loading and shooting black powder rifles; panning for gold near the abandoned Aztec Gold Mine; and horse back riding. During two days on the trail, the group was issued two pack burrows to help carry 200 pounds of a food and equipment over a section of mountain trail. While the burrows were under the crews care, the scouts were responsible for attaching pack harnesses to each burrow, balancing the pack loads, encouraging the burrows to move along the narrow switch back trails, and finally feeding and corralling them in the evening. The scouts and adult leaders from Ticonderoga were each awarded the Philmont Trail award for successfully reaching all designated checkpoints along the 65 mile route. In addition, all members of the Ticonderoga crew will also receive the Boy Scout 50 Miler award for hiking at least 50 consecutive miles during a single backpacking trip. Venture Crew 72 is chartered by the Ticonderoga Elks. It is the Senior High Adventure Scouting program offered by the Boy Scouts of America and is open to both boys and girls between the ages of 14 - 21 who have completed the eighth grade. This co-ed group has 18 registered youth members at this time, who elect youth officers to establish annual programming activities. Adult men and women members provide supervision on all activities and make sure all required BSA guidelines are followed.