Ninety-three years ago when the first Boy Scouts came to Goose Pond for summer camp, most of them arrived in Lake Ariel by train from Scranton and then hiked the six miles from the station to camp carrying what they would need for about two weeks in a haversack.
While there is no record in the annals of Troop 1 from Honesdale that recount its members making such a trip in its century of existence, camp lore tells tales of scouts making several hikes from Goose Pond to Dan Beard’s Camp on Lake Teedyuskung, some 17-miles or so away.
This past Sunday, scouts and leaders decided to make the march to Goose Pond reminiscent of days gone by and for some added adventure to their week-long experience at camp.
Clad in DayGlo yellow shirts silkscreened especially for the trek, the troop members who took on this challenge departed the Honesdale High School around 6:30am and rambled the backroads of Wayne County.
They avoided the main highways when possible, choosing a route that took them on Wanoka, Hoadley’s, Crane, Lake Shore, and Finn Swamp roads; about 16 miles in all. Like most folks, they experienced the rain as well.
About 45 minutes from arriving at camp, Troop 1 became caught in the deluge. They had been on the road for more than six hours and while many in Wayne County looked on the storm in a negative fashion, scouts and leaders alike almost welcomed it after spending all morning in the sticky heat.
“The rain felt good at first,” said Scoutmaster Mike Jurkowski, “then it became tough.”
Duncan Cordaro, who also enjoyed the rain, explained how he and his fellow scouts prepared for the trip.
“We had most of our gear packed up ahead of time and then we planned out how we wanted to get to camp,” he told. The scouts had to make sure their gear was going to arrive at camp and also made plans to have a vehicle with them on the hike for emergencies and to bring along extra water.
“The hills were tough and there were some areas we hiked that had construction and loose rocks,” retold Dustin Edsall.
The whole scheme was hatched a few months ago when the troop was hiking from Honesdale to the Dorflinger-Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary for a campout. “As we were hiking along someone said that we should try to hike to Goose Pond for summer camp,” Jurkowski noted.
“At first everyone laughed at the idea, but it never went away and we started to plan out how we would do it. We thought about stretching it out to a 20-mile hike so the kids could finish that requirement for the Hiking Merit Badge, but we decided just to hike to camp.” To earn the badge scouts have to complete a 20-mile day hike in addition to five 10-mile day hikes, so every scout who finished the trek fulfilled a part of the requirements.
Page 2 of 2 - While the rain may have dampened their uniforms, it certainly didn’t soften their spirits.
“The best part of the trip for me,” said Kyle Peer, “was being with my friends and setting the pace for most of the hike.”