Troops 260/262 Conquer Italy!

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On July 19, scouts departed on an epic 10-day high adventure trek through Italy. Arriving in Milan, they traveled to Bressanone, a town only 26 miles south of Austria. Deep within the Dolomites, they spent two days exploring the region. After completing an unorthodox 5-mile rural hike on the first day, the scouts ventured off in patrols for the ultimate Urban Navigation on the second. They hiked the famed Alpe di Siusi, starting with a zipline entry, 656 feet above the valley floor and extending a mile in length. From there, the hike traversed through forests, mountains, and meadows, ending at the top of an alpine pasture, 7710 feet above Ortesei, Italy. The hike included spectacular views of the Southern Limestone Alps and even included a close encounter with wild horses.

Photo by Jason Fife
The grand adventure included sea kayaking along the Amalfi Coast at sunset.

From Bressanone, the troops then traveled to the Cinque Terre region, along the Italian Riviera coast. This area is known for its formidable hiking, challenging their endurance. This was made easier by the natural beauty of the rugged coastline and five old fishing villages. The troops conquered the Scalinata di Monesteroli, involving a three-mile hike, highlighted by the Scalinata (Grand Staircase), consisting of 2,000 steps that reach the ancient fishing village of Monesteroli by the sea. There is only one way down and back. These steps are uneven, exposed, and nearly vertical, but offer panoramic views of the Mediterranean coastline. On day four, the scouts hiked between the five villages of the Cinque Terre, with large elevation gains and losses over rugged terrain. However, this was rewarded with exploration of each of the villages along the way. They enjoyed authentic meals and treats of the region as well. Many of the scouts enjoyed diving from the rocks of Manarola, the second-most southern town.

Photo by Krystal Holmes
Troop 260 and 262 scouts conquered the Scalinata di Monesterilo in Cinque Terre.

Days five and six found them in Rome. Competing to find and explore historic points, such as the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Forum, and St. Peter’s Square was a large part of the day’s adventure.

Photo by Kasey Loranger
Troop 262 enjoying the sunset at the Coliseum in Rome.

From Rome, they traveled to climb Mount Vesuvius, the renowned volcano famed for destroying the historic city of Pompeii in 79 A.D. The hike ended at “Il Gran Cono,” the rim of the volcano, where they saw active steam pockets, and experienced sulfuric odors from the only active volcano on the European mainland.

On Day eight of the adventure, the scouts performed another Urban Navigation, this time exploring the ancient city of Pompeii. With its well-preserved buildings, it is the only archaeological site in the world that provides a complete picture of an ancient Roman city. The troops capped the day off by kayaking the Amalfi Coast at sunset, enjoying some well-deserved swimming along the way.

Photo by Krystal Holmes
Scouts take a break from exploring at Pompeii.

For the last full day in Italy, they explored the Catacombs of San Gennaro, sometimes called “The Valley of the Dead.” This burial and worship site lies beneath Naples and is carved out of “tuff,” a type of rock made of volcanic ash ejected from vents during a volcanic eruption. In the afternoon they visited the Galleria Borbonica (Bourbon Tunnels), an ancient underground passage first serving as an aqueduct system in 400 B.C. This was later expanded for military purposes and an escape route between the Royal Palace of Naples and the military barracks during the Bourbon Dynasty. These tunnels were finally used as bombardment shelters during World War II.

Although they enjoyed comfortable accommodations throughout this 10 day trip, and certainly didn’t deprive themselves of fine Italian cuisine, this was a high adventure trip like no other. After two years of planning and months of preparatory hiking, the scouts of Troops 260 & 262 performed exceptionally. They were true ambassadors for the Scouts BSA, Suffield, United States, and most importantly; themselves. Beyond the adventures, scouting teaches citizenship, responsibility and integrity, and this trip was proof of its success.

Troop 260 for boys, and Troop 262 for girls are constantly providing adventure year-round. If you are interested in participating, while learning responsibility and independence, please reach out to Michael Cremins, Scoutmaster 260 (860-597-0688), or Krystal Holmes, Scoutmaster 262 (860-490-1460), and join the adventure!

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