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Venturing Crew 70 poses atop Mt Katahdin after a six-hour climb. Standing from left are Leo Richardson, Mike Corbeil, Jamie Gianokos, Andrew Heller, Thomas Cruson; seated from left are Amy Cox, Kristen Coates, Jeff Heller, Aaron Cox, and Chris Ciuffo.

Challenging Yet Rewarding Adventure In Maine For Crew 70

Here at home, one becomes used to the sights and tasks of every day life. The ten members of Newtown's Venturing Crew 70 decided to go to some place different, to face new tasks and achieve goals as a group that may not be possible otherwise. That is precisely what they found on their ten-day trip to Maine spent scaling the vertical rocks of Otter Cliffs, hiking the steep terrain of Baxter State Park, and rafting the ferocious waters of the Penobscot River.

The first challenge was getting up early for the full day of driving to the crew's first destination, Acadia National Park. Acadia is located on Mount Desert Island, on the coast of Maine. Stopping along the way, they were able to explore Fort Knox in southern Maine. Once the crew arrived at the park, however, they were able to quickly set up camp at their site, get firewood, and enjoy an amazing dinner, including filet mignon cooked over the campfire. Each member of the crew always had a job to help out the whole, coordinated by the trip's group leader, Jeff Corbeil. Their stay in Acadia allowed them to go hiking, and repel down the seaside Otter Cliffs, where the only way back up to flat land was to climb. One day the entire crew got up at 3 am and drove to the peak of Mount Cadillac to experience the sunrise before it hit anywhere else in America.

The crew's next destination was north to Baxter State Park, home of Mt Katahdin. It is easy to plan a hike to the summit of a mountain, but to actually do it with an entire group takes a lot of strength. From early in the day Crew 70 was hiking up the winding trails. They kept hiking as the trees grew sparser, and the rocks on the trail bigger. They crossed the treacherous "'Knife's Edge," a narrow ridge spanning between the summits of Katahdin, with steep drops on either side and powerful gusts of wind coming up from both directions, and where the trail often involved more climbing than hiking.


Venturing Crew 70 member Andrew Heller is lowered down a cliff on the Maine coast in Adacia National Park.

Despite the taxing conditions of the hike, the view was certainly breathtaking from almost any perspective. The steep edges of either side of the Knife's Edge and Katahdin meld from the misty expanse of forests below, and reach toward the sky. During a lunch break, the crew was able to sit and appreciate the scenery while replenishing their energy.

Continuing the climb, they finally reached the cairn at the summit of Kadahdin, elevation 5,267 feet, and looked back on the incredible trail they had just trekked with each other. It was definitely an experience very different than everyday accomplishments. The crew also endured the hike back down, along another trail. When they reached the base where they had started, they had been hiking together for almost 12 hours.

The final two days of the trip were spent white-water rafting on the Penobscot River. Divided into two separate rafts, Crew 70 tackled Class 5 rapids with names like "The Exterminator." After the first day, camp was set up by the edge of the river, and the rafting company supplied a plentiful lobster dinner, enjoyed with the view of the sunset over the Penobscot, with mountains rising in the distance. Despite some rain the next morning, the last day in Maine continued the adventurous rafting experience.

After one last night, the crew headed home. The trip was one that will never be forgotten by any of the members. In ten days the crew spent achieving challenging activities in the woods of Maine with the same ten people, everyone seemed to learn a little about the value tolerance, trust, and teamwork.

Venturing Crew 70 is a co-ed division of Boy Scouts and is open to all youth ages 14-21. It is lead by Aaron and Amy Cox, and Chris Ciuffo. The group meets regularly on alternate Wednesday nights at Cullens Memorial Association in Newtown and goes on small (evening and weekend) trips year-round. For information, call Amy and Aaron Cox at 426-4602 or 426-4755, or e-mail to