B-P Hiking Club has inaugural outing

Future Hikes Include a Fire Tower, Spelunking and an Adirondack High Peak

Six students and two adults, all dressed in winter gear, pose in the snow next to a sign marking the trailhead for Cat Mountain.

Gary Osarczuk teaches science at Broadalbin-Perth Senior High School, but in his spare time he is an avid hiker and a “46er,” meaning he has hiked all 46 major peaks of the Adirondack Mountains. 

After joining B-P in 2019, Osarczuk immediately wanted to start a hiking club for his students. However, the club was not able to get a hike on the calendar before schools were shut down in spring 2020. Extracurricular activities were limited at the start of the current school year as well, but Osarczuk got approval to launch the club this spring.

Members of B-P’s Hiking Club completed their first hike on Sunday, Feb. 28, with a 3.5- mile round-trip hike up Cat Mountain near Bolton Landing, where the 1,118-foot ascent to the summit rewards hikers with beautiful views of Lake George. 

Four students wearing winter gear are shown standing in the show at the summit of Cat Mountain, with Lake George shown in the distance behind them.For the inaugural hike, Osarczuk was joined by six students, four parents, and two teacher chaperones. He said that several B-P teachers have expressed interest in chaperoning for future hikes with the group.

“I have advised student hiking clubs at other districts, but I knew it would take on a whole new meaning here at B-P,” Osarczuk said. “We have such easy access to the Adirondack Mountains — there is an embarrassment of riches right here in our own backyard. I’m excited to share my passion for the outdoors with my students and hope that they will come to love hiking as much as I do.”

Ten people, all wearing winter gear, are shown standing in the snow at the summit of Cat Mountain, with Lake George shown in the distance behind them.Osarczuk said Hiking Club will offer B-P students two hikes per quarter, with the possibility of additional hikes based on interest and weather. They are planning to hike to a fire tower in the southern Adirondacks in late March, and have a spelunking trip planned for April. Their end-of-year hike will take place in May or June, and the group has their sights set on one of the 46 Adirondack peaks. 

“My students are learning first-hand about the tranquility that being outdoors can provide them, but they’re also learning proper hiking etiquette and how to enjoy nature responsibly,” Osarczuk said. “Once in a while, I sneak in some earth science and even some history.”

Ozarczuk said the club is looking to expand; interested B-P students in grades 7-12 should email him at ozarczukg@bpcsd.org

An adult wearing a face mask, winter hat and sunglasses takes a selfie of students hiking behind him.