Malvern scouts meet Warrior Hikers on Appalachian Trail

A small group of boy scouts from Malvern Troop 7 traveled to Duncannon, Pennsylvania to meet up with the 2014 Warrior Hikers on the Appalachian Trail. From left are, Shane Johnston, Vicki Sharpless, Cas Szupica, Jesse “The Viking” Swensgard, Matt Lanetti, Matt “Machine” Donnelly, Brody Plourde, Richie Cavallaro, Joe “QT” Young, Cosmo Brown, Cecil “Stitch” Thayer, Todd “Big Foot” Rogers & David Lanetti Courtesy Photo


On June 20, a small group of boy scouts from Malvern Troop 7 traveled to Duncannon, Pennsylvania to meet up with the 2014 Warrior Hikers on the Appalachian Trail.

The Warrior Hike ‘Walk off the War’ program is in its third year, the brainchild of U.S. Marine Sean Gobin who walked the entire 2,185 mile trail in 2012 to raise funds to purchase vehicles for disabled veterans. However, he recognized the therapeutic effects of this trek and decided the program would better serve as a way for veterans to decompress after their service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This year, the program has expanded to include not only the Appalachian Trail, but also the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. On March 17, 14 veterans began the hike northward from Georgia toward Mt. Katahdin in Maine.

Malvern Troop 7 became involved with the Warrior Hike program when Troop Committee Chairperson, Vicki Sharpless, challenged the scouts to raise $1,800 – the cost to sponsor one hiker for the 6-month trek. She had heard about Warrior Hike in 2013 and had followed the program through Facebook.

The scouts and their families and friends surpassed the goal, raising approximately $2,500. In fact, two of the scouts, Richie Cavallaro and Brody Plourde, raised almost $2,000 of the total with the help of the students and families of St. Norbert School in Paoli.

Scouts Cavallaro, Plourde, Cas Szupica, Shane Johnston and Matthew Lanetti, along with leaders Sharpless and David Lanetti, made their way to the sleepy town of Duncannon, north of Harrisburg at the junction of the Juniata and Susquehanna Rivers.

The group met up there with the six remaining Warrior Hikers. The scouts and veterans formed a quick bond and shared hiking stories and other experiences. The scouts joined the veterans in their welcome ceremony, riding on fire trucks through the town and attending the evening’s community dinner at the local American Legion hall.

That night as the scouts and veterans parted ways, a promise was made. These new heroes – with trail names The Viking, Stitch, Cosmo, QT, Big Foot and Machine – plan to take a photo of themselves with a Troop 7 shirt at the top of Mt. Katahdin at the end of their journey, and the Troop 7 scouts will be cheering them the whole way.

Reposted from

Community Hike to Learn about Ticks and Lyme Disease

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On Sat., Sept. 13th the Duncannon Outdoor Club will be bushwhacking 2 miles over moderate to easy terrain at an average pace on the Takach property outside of Duncannon, PA. This is a dog friendly hike. Dogs must be friendly toward other dogs and people. This hike will be limited to 10 dogs with no more than 2 dogs per hiker. You do not have to have a dog to attend this hike. All hikers are welcome. We will be learning about ticks and Lyme disease. Wear long pants and bring water. This hike is appropriate for hikers ages 8 and up. Call 395-2462 or email to register. We will be meeting at the Duncannon Family Health Center to carpool at 9:00 am.

Valley full of beautiful hiking options

REPOSTED from Poughkeepsie Journal, written by Karen Maserjian Shan

Hikers enjoy a trek along the Dover Stone Church Trail in eastern Dutchess County. The trail is maintained by Friends of Dover Stone Church.
Hikers enjoy a trek along the Dover Stone Church Trail in eastern Dutchess County. The trail is maintained by Friends of Dover Stone Church.

(Photo: Courtesy photo/Georgette Weir)

Stancy DuHamel remembers when her parents insisted that she and her five siblings head outside. These days she doesn’t need any prompting.

“It’s a great way to clear the mind and discover,” said DuHamel, a resident of New York City and long-term weekender in Wingdale. “Plus the air is fresh.”

Millions of people agree with DuHamel. The Outdoor Foundation’s 2014 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report shows 142.6 million Americans participated in at least one outdoor activity in 2013 and jointly made 12.1 billion such outings. Favorite activities among young people were running, biking, fishing, camping and hiking.

For DuHamel, who volunteers with several conservation and outdoor groups, hiking is an outdoor activity that relieves stress and connects her with nature’s flora and fauna. All you need, she said, is a backpack for binoculars, bug repellent, water, a compass and maps. And don’t forget to wear good hiking shoes.

“My tips are give yourself enough time to relax,” she said.

DuHamel hikes with others for their company, safety and the shared experience, whether it’s at the Great Swamp in Pawling, the Roger Perry Preserve in Dover Plains, Nellie Hill Preserve in Dover Plains or elsewhere. “There’s just a lot of places to get out the door,” she said.

Recently about 24 miles of trails primarily in Dutchess County were designated as “Greenway Trails” and part of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Trail system, including Bowdoin Park, Wilcox Memorial Park, Quiet Cove Riverfront Park, and the Dutchess Rail Trail, which connects to the Walkway Over the Hudson and the Hudson Valley Rail Trail in Ulster County.

The Hudson River Valley Greenway Trail system includes more than 800 miles of designated trails, with nearly 117 miles of designated Greenway Trails in Dutchess County, including riverside trails, countryside corridors and connector trails, many of which offer hiking opportunities.

“Dutchess County recognizes the importance of trails to both residents and visitors, as a recreational resource and an economic driver,” said Mark Castiglione, acting executive director of the Hudson River Valley Greenway. “The Greenway Trails System comprises a variety of trail experiences that help enhance the quality of life in the Hudson River Valley.”

Georgette Weir, a spokeswoman for the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, said more than 2,000 miles of hiking trails run from northern New Jersey through the New York’s Hudson Valley, with most maintained by volunteers.

“There are fabulous trails, many of them offering fabulous views,” said Weir, who also is a member of and volunteer with the Mid-Hudson Adirondack Mountain Club. “I just think people in this region, we’re so fortunate in the outdoor opportunities that we have. We’re known for being an urban area — the Catskills, even down through the Hudson Highlands. You get up to those peaks, and you look out and you see nothing but trees and the river.”

Trails in all levels of difficulty allow generations to get together for family fun and exercise while providing more challenging opportunities for those who are up for it.

Hikers, said Weir, should wear suitable clothes and footwear plus bring a hat, bug spray, sunglasses, water and paper trail guides, the latter as insurance against low cellphone reception in remote areas or problems with cellphone batteries.

Detailed information about 400 hikes is shown on the Trail Conference’s website, Volunteers with the Trail Conference work to maintain trails and direct hikers.

“Many people don’t know what they’re getting into,” Weir said. “We’re there to have a good time and pick a trail appropriate for what they want to do.”

Recently, the Pawling and Dover Plains libraries joined efforts with the Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Community to lend backpacks with hiking accessories to day hikers to encourage them to enjoy a day on the trails. The joint effort also includes Little Free Libraries, a free book exchange at two A.T. shelters in Dover and Pawling along the trail for through-hikers, that is, people trekking the Appalachian Trail in a continuous journey.

“Once you’re in your tent and there’s no TV around, you might like to read before sleeping,” said Susan Totter, director of the Dover Plains Library, of through-hikers’ overnight campsites.

With Dover Plains and Pawling designated as an Appalachian Trail Community, the Little Free Libraries show community support of the Appalachian Trail and its hikers.

“It’s been very exciting to meet other people and learn the history,” said Trotter, including that the A.T. Wiley Shelter’s Little Free Library in Wingdale is turning 75 years old. “My library is working to get our local Boy Scouts to help maintain the box,” she said.

Anthony Coneski, parks event and volunteer coordinator for Scenic Hudson in Poughkeepsie, said from miles-long hikes through the Hudson Highlands’ rocky terrain in Beacon to peaceful river views in the Esopus Meadows Preserves and moderate treks over hills through the Black Creek Preserves, the Hudson Valley offers great hikes.

“New hikers should have a map and plan and know where to go, how long the hike is and know what the weather is,” he said.

Volunteers work to maintain the organization’s parks and trails, including ridding sites of invasive plants, planting native selections, general cleanup and restoration work on old trails, all of which open the way for ongoing trail-hiking fun.

“Get out and enjoy,” said Coneski. “We live in a beautiful area, and there are hiking trails all over.”

Karen Maserjian Shan is a freelance writer:

On the Web

American Hiking Society:

American Trails, New York trail resources:

Dutchess County Tourism, hikes:

Hike the Hudson Valley:

Hudson River Valley Greenway, land trail system:

Hudson Valley Hikers:

The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, high quality, free downloadable maps:

Scenic Hudson:

Hyde Park trek

What: Hyde Park Trail, End-2-End Trek, a nine-mile trek from Top Cottage to the Vanderbilt Mansion, via Val-Kill, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Home and Library and Riverfront Park. Finishers will earn the 2014 Walkabout trail patch.

Where: Vanderbilt Mansion parking lot. Participants will be shuttled to the starting point. The hike will finish at Vanderbilt.

When: June 7, sign-in 7:30-9 a.m.

Bring: Hiking supplies, including water, lunch, insect repellant, rain gear and other essentials.

Pre-registration: Call Hyde Park Recreation at 845-229-8086 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit

Information: or

Hiking sites

For a longer list, visit this story at

Beacon Hill and Lake Minnewaska, Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Ulster County. Easy trail loop hike around a pleasant hill and lake with views.

Black Creek Preserve, Esopus. Family-friendly hikes.

Bonticou Crag Hike, Mohonk Preserve, Gardiner. Moderate hike through the woods and top of a crag.

Brace Mountain, South Taconic Mountains. Moderate to strenuous trail to highest point in Dutchess County.

Breakneck Ridge Trail, Hudson Highlands State Park, Beacon. Rugged loop hike with steep climbs.

Burger Hill, Rhinebeck. A half-mile trail through open meadows with broad views.

Cat’s Rock, Pawling. Moderate hike with nice views.

Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park, Dutchess and Putnam counties. Various trails, including easy, moderate and difficult hikes.

Depot Hill, Beekman and Pawling. Moderate hike to the top of Mount Egbert.

Esopus Meadows Preserve, Esopus. Four trails through woodland or shoreline with picnicking and views.

Falling Waters Preserve, Glasco. Two miles of trails include a gravel road, a carriage road and a riverside footpath.

Fishkill Ridge, Beacon. 11.5 miles of strenuous trails, including uphill climbs, rock scrambles and difficult descents.

Franny Reese State Park, Highland. Part of the 2.5 miles of trails along a historic carriage road leading to an overlook . A link connects the park to the Walkway Loop Trail.

Ferncliff Forest Game Refuge and Forest Preserve, Rhinebeck. Woods walk, fire tower, pond, campsites by permit.

Gertrude’s Nose Loop/Millbrook Mountain, Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Moderate to strenuous loop hike along cliffs of Shawangunks. Exceptional views.

High Peters Kill, Mohonk Preserve, Gardiner. Strenuous trek through wooded area to ridge views and Peters Kill stream.

The Hyde Park Trail, Hyde Park. A growing, 10-mile system of trails and walkways linking town parks, nature preserves and National Park sites with local neighborhoods and the town’s central business corridor.

James Baird State Park, Pleasant Valley. Easy stroll.

Mount Beacon Park, Beacon. Uphill mile-long trail to Mount Beacon’s summit and views from the Hudson Highlands to the Catskill Mountains.

Ogden Mills & Ruth Livingston Mills State Park, Staatsburg. Numerous trails through the grounds of Mills and Norrie State Parks.

Pawling Nature Preserve, Pawling and Dover.

Peach Hill Park, Poughkeepsie. Former orchard, now 3.2 miles of trails to the town’s highest point.

Poets’ Walk, Red Hook. Nearly two miles of gravel and packed dirt trails.

Roosevelt Farm Lane, Hyde Park. A 1.8-mile road connecting Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Sites. Part of the 14-mile Hyde Park Trail.

Sam’s Point Preserve, Cragsmoor. A three-mile partially paved loop with access to the various trails.

Shaupeneak Ridge, Esopus, Ulster County. Nine miles of trails of varying difficulty and length.

Stissing Mountain, Pine Plains. Short but steep hike to impressive fire tower with sweeping views.

The Shawangunk Sensory Trail, Mohonk Preserve, Gardiner, Ulster County. Easy loop trail on the Shawangunk Ridge.

The J & S Grafton Sensory Trail, Mohonk Preserve, Gardiner, Ulster County. Easy loop trail on the Shawangunk Ridge.

Tivoli Bays, Red Hook. Hiking trails wind around and through the tidal areas and the surrounding landscape. Part of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Trapps Mountain Hamlet Path to the Van Leuven Cabin, Mohonk Preserve, Gardiner, Ulster County. Easy walk through the woods.

Undercliff and Overcliff Carriage Roads, Mohonk Preserve, Gardiner. Easy loop trail along the base of the rock climbing cliffs with great views.

Walkway Loop Trail, Poughkeepsie and Town of Lloyd, Ulster County. 4.5-mile walking trail that links Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park and the Mid-Hudson Bridge with amenities in Poughkeepsie, Lloyd.

Walkway Over the Hudson, Poughkeepsie and Town of Lloyd. Far-reaching views along the 1.28-mile walking/biking bridge that is part of the Walkway Loop Trail.

Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, Route 9, Hyde Park. Stroll the grounds, gardens and wooded trails with scenic viewpoints.

Third Thursdays in Boiling Springs and Carlisle, PA

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) continues its “Third Thursdays” event series with an easy, 4-mile hike beginning at 6 p.m. May 15 in Carlisle, PA. Explore the pastoral farmlands of the Cumberland Valley and learn why this landscape differs from much of the rest of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.)

During the event, Michele Miller, the ATC’s Resource Program manager in the Mid-Atlantic Region, will be on hand to share information about the routing of the Trail through agricultural lands. Heidi Witmer, executive director of the Carlisle-based LEAF Project, will also share gardening ideas for use in a much smaller scale in your own back yard. Space is limited; register by calling 717.258.5771 or online at

The ATC’s Third Thursdays is a series of free, public events in the Central Pennsylvania region. The series began in April and will run through October with a different event each month.

Additional Third Thursdays events include a Boiling Springs History Hike, Cool Off in the Rock Maze Hike, Music & Art in the Park, Yoga Sunset Hike and Nocturnal Friends Hike.

Third Thursdays Event Series Overview:

Boiling Springs History Hike (5 miles, moderate)

Date: June 19
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Boiling Springs, PA

Cool Off in the Rock Maze Hike (3 miles, moderate)
Date: July 17
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Carlisle, PA

Music & Art in the Park
Date: Aug. 21
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Boiling Springs, PA

Yoga Sunset Hike (3 miles, easy)
Date: Sept. 18
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Boiling Springs, PA

Nocturnal Friends Hike (2.5 miles, easy)
Date: Oct. 16
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Boiling Springs, PA

For more information about the Third Thursday events series, visit


Family Hiking Day activities in Boiling Springs, PA!

Family Hiking Day

Family Hiking Day is this Saturday, September 28th.  It’s a terrific opportunity to get outdoors with the whole family so gather everyone for a hike together or split up, try different hikes and compare notes later.

Guided Hikes:

Ice Cream Rewards

This is a wonderful section for beginning hikers, as well as those who wish to enjoy the Trail without a lot of ups and downs. This area of the Trail passes through a portion of the Cumberland Valley, which is some of the flattest terrain along the entire Trail. Ample parking is available in the municipal lot on Bucher Hill Road at the end of Children’s Lake.   Join your fellow hikers after the hike for a sweet treat at a local ice cream shop.  Wear comfortable hiking shoes and bring plenty of water and snacks.

Hike Leader:  Dennis Hurley, Susquehanna A.T. Club
Starting Point:  Fisherman’s Parking Lot, Bucher Hill Road, Boiling Springs (shuttles provided to Trindle Road Trailhead)
Meeting Time:  8:45 a.m.
Length of Hike:  4 miles (2-3 hours)

MARO Prepares for Family Hiking Day 2013!
MARO Prepares for Family Hiking Day 2013! Pictured: Kelly, Marion, Nicole

White Rocks Scramble
Meet at the Kuhn Road Trailhead in Boiling Springs for a 2.5 mile hike up the White Rocks trail.  This is a steep trail with lots of rock scrambling to keep things interesting.  Once at the top, enjoy the fabulous view of the valley below from atop huge boulders.  Wear comfortable hiking shoes and bring plenty of water and snacks.

Hike leader: Christine Lauriello, Cumberland Valley A.T. Club
Starting Point:  White Rocks Trailhead Parking, Kuhn Road, Boiling Springs
Meeting Time:  8:45 a.m.
Length of Hike:  2.5 miles (2-3 hours)

Whiskey Spring Rock Maze
This hike offers lots of fabulous rock formations that are fascinating to look at.  You’ll hike up and over, as well as around and through as you travel along the Trail.  Although there are a lot of rocks, this is a moderate hike that is lots of fun.  Wear comfortable hiking shoes and bring plenty of water and snacks.

Hike leader: Katie Barker, Susquehanna A.T. Club
Starting Point:  Whiskey Spring Trailhead Shoulder Parking, Whiskey Spring Road, Boiling Springs
Meeting Time:  8:45 a.m.
Length of Hike:  3 miles (2 hours)

Family Hiking Day Celebration:
When:  Saturday, September 28th from 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Where:  The Appalachian Trail at Children’s Lake in Boiling Springs, PA (4 East First Street, 17007)
What:  Tons of fun things to do…

  • Music by Central PA ukulele sensation, Grant Goldsworthy
  • Get to know the Superhero Plants of the Cumberland Valley
  • Conservation scavenger hunt
  • Meet Smokey Bear
  • Face painting
  • ATC tattoos
  • Family Hiking Day stickers for all participants
  • Family Hiking T-shirts for the first 20 participants to complete all of the activity stations and turn in their Family Hiking Day Wrap-Up sheet
Enjoy music, outdoor activities, face painting and a special visit from Smokey Bear.Click here to register for free.Click here to download a free copy of our Family Hiking Day Adventure Packet.For more information, stop by the ATC in Boiling Springs, call 717-258-5771 or email