Troop 868 in Action


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The boys had so much fun hiking the Birdseye Trail with snow on the ground back in March, they decided they wanted to go back again in May.  The game plan was to hike the trail from beginning to end, then turn around and hike it back in the other direction, thereby achieving a 22 mile single-day hike.  Unfortunately, two factors worked against us.  The first was daily rain during the preceding week.  The other was the fact that The Birdseye Trail is a multipurpose trail used by horseback and trail bike riders as well as hikers.  Though we didn't see any evidence of recent trail bikers, the horsemen had been out in force!  The trail was heavily pockmarked with numerous indentions left by horses' hooves creating a honeycomb-like pattern of 4" deep holes filled with muddy water.  This made the walk slow, challenging, and very muddy as steps had to be carefully chosen lest one slip, slide, or twist an ankle.  As a result, the troop was only able to finish one pass of the trail.  Nevertheless, everyone had a good time.  The boys encountered a variety of wildlife, including several deer, a wild turkey, numerous box turtles, and even a baby Indiana brown bat.  The latter was encountered lying upside down in the middle of the trail, having evidently fallen from its perch.  One of the scouts carefully placed it into a nearby pine tree where it grabbed onto a branch and seemed content to hang upside down!  The recent rain had swollen several creeks that the trail crossed, prompting the group to use downed trees as makeshift bridges or to remove shoes and socks and go wading!.

(L to R) Patrick, Mr. McAuliffe, Shane, Andrew, Dave, Joe, Stephen, Paul, Tim, and Chris. Dave successfully conquers the first water obstacle with the help of a fallen tree.
Scouts pause an another creek crossing to decide the best way across and to bathe two turtles. Stephen (front) and Tim decide that wading is the way to go.
The water looks deceptively deep with Stephen kneeling at the opposite shore wringing out his socks! Chris, Paul, and Dave managed to find another tree a short distance upstream.  OK, Dave, jump for it!
The troop passed an old cemetery that provided a backdrop for Patrick and Andrew to pose with a turtle. (L to R) Tim, Chris, Paul, Shane, and Joe study a map to determine the troop's progress.
Slish, slosh was the theme of the day as the scouts trudged through mud a large part of the day. No, those aren't footprints!  A closeup shows the ruts and puddles left by horses' hooves.
(L to R) Stephen, Scoutmaster Meek, Tim, Andrew, Patrick, Joe, Chris, Shane, and SPL Paul. Shane holds the baby bat that was found lying upside down on the trail.