Matthew Carney is going to remember the summer of 2013 for a long, long time.
The 15-year-old Boy Scout from Troop 70 in Setauket recently returned from a two-week, 75-mile trek through the mountains of Colorado and New Mexico with fellow scouts through the Philmont Scout Ranch.
"It’s like nothing I’ve eve done before, nothing like any of
the summer camps I’ve already done," Carney said. "It was really great."
Along the way, Carney carried on his back 50 pounds of gear – not just his sleeping bag, tent, and clothing, but also all of his toiletries, food, several liters of drinking water and other items.
Prior to his trip, Carney trained by taking frequent hikes, including a 10-mile trek at Harriman State Park in upstate New York. He heard lots about this trip from his grandfather, who took the same journey about 50 years ago.
He and his friends and advisors went rafting, fishing, and climbing. They even got to shoot black-powder rifles.
"One of my favorite parts of it was climbing. We were able to
go bouldering and go on all these different crazy rock formations. The sights were definitely some crazy views at
the top of the mountains," said Carney, who will enter Ward Melville High School this year as a sophomore and will play for the wrestling, soccer and lacrosse teams.
Carney, who started out as a Cub Scout at age 5, is looking forward to becoming an Eagle Scout, and is already considering ideas for a service project. It's trips like this one, he said, that will help him achieve that goal.
"I learned a lot of leadership skills over this trip. I learned a lot about
myself – how much I can carry, the limits I can push myself to. It took a lot
of endurance, perseverance," he said. "I learned a lot about teamwork during this trip – definitely
a lot of things that it takes to be an Eagle Scout."