In summer of 2019, I participated in the Goshen Order of the Arrow Trail Crew (GOAT). Based out of Lenhok’sin High Adventure at the Goshen Scout Reservation, GOAT offers a two-week program, where one week is filled with trail work and skill building, and is followed by a week of backpacking and fun activities through the Lenhok’sin Program. Through the GOAT program, I was able to experience all of the amazing outposts at Lenhok’sin High Adventure while still performing acts of service and fulfilling my commitment as a member of the Order of the Arrow. The GOAT Crew was composed of several scouts from the Amangamek-Wipit Order of the Arrow Lodge, furthering the goal of cheerful service and the brotherhood of scouting.
While working on the many trails around Goshen, I learned how to interpret trail blazes, repair wooden bridges, and use several tools that I had never even heard of before. This trail work helped to ensure that the many miles of trail system were cleared after a long off season, and ready to host the scouts that would come adventuring during the next few weeks. I was also able to see behind the scenes action of what it takes to set up and operate a high adventure camp while creating friendships with staff members.
After a week of hard work restoring trails, the GOAT crew took a well-earned rest and traveled into Lexington where we ordered burgers and shakes, hung out at a local pet shop to play with puppies, and watched Men in Black: International.
The next week was spent backpacking along the newly restored trails throughout Goshen, climbing the five mountain peaks and visiting the various outposts that were part of the Lenhok’sin program. The first part of our weeklong journey was spent climbing Viewing Rock and Jump Rock, two of the five peaks required to earn the Five Peaks Award. Following the long and strenuous hike, we hiked to the Caving Outpost, where we ate dinner before spending three hours crawling through a part of the three miles of extensive caves beneath a cow pasture near Goshen. On day two, we packed up our gear and hiked to The Knob, which was the third peak at Goshen. At the end of our hike, we traveled on to Mountain Man, where we learned about fur trapping and trading in the 18th century. At Mountain Man, the GOAT crew engaged in a shooting competition with black-powder rifles, threw hatchets at oak logs, and shared potatoes with the Irish immigrant who helped run the outpost. On the third day, we completed a primitive night in the backcountry woods of Goshen, away from the safety of Outposts. The GOAT crew finished the trek at Foxfire, an 18th century Appalachian blacksmith’s forge, where we learned the trade of blade making and forged a legendary butterknife worthy of King Arthur himself.
GOAT is an amazing program that I feel every scout who is able should take advantage of. A week of high adventure programs and service at a discounted rate? There’s really no better way to spend two weeks of your summer.
Find out more on how to join the GOAT Crew at http://wipit470.org/goat.html or by emailing GOAT@wipit470.org.