Troop 868 in Action

Nathan McClure Trail (March, 2005)

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This was the troop's third time hiking the Nathan McClure Trail.  Each of the first two experiences were characterized by missed trail blazes, miles of backtracking, running out of daylight, and more than a tad bit of embarrassment.  This was to be our first time hiking the trail from beginning to end without an unplanned detours.

We arrived at the Little Lick Campground in the Daniel Boone National Forest after dark on Friday night.  An advance party of two Assistant Scoutmasters had arrived earlier in the day with the troop truck and had all the tents set up and ready for occupation when the rest of the troop arrived by bus.  This helped us get fed and into bed much earlier than would otherwise have been possible ... and we wanted to get an early start on the trail.

Saturday morning was cool but sunny.  Unlike our previous times hiking the trail where we started at the trailhead at the campground, this time we decided to start at the distant trailhead and hike back towards our base camp.

We found some sections of the trail were not very well marked, but the path was pretty obvious and we didn't have any problems and made fairly rapid progress ... until we got to within a 1/2 or so of the end.  At this point, we lost the trail ... it was as if it simply stopped at the bottom of a steep hill.  We dispatched search teams out in all directions from the last blaze in an attempt to locate the trail, but were unsuccessful.  Knowing (from a topographical map and prior experience) where we were, we elected to go "cross country" up the hillside and encountered a forest access road on the ridge at the top.  Being pretty sure the road led to the campground, but not sure whether to go left or right, Assistant Scoutmaster Williams stayed with the group while Scoutmaster Meek took his best guess and headed off down the road, keeping in contact via FRS radio.  About a half-hour later he radioed back to report that he had guessed correctly and that the rest of the group should follow.

Assistant Scoutmaster Davis had remained in base camp and prepared an outstanding Dutch Oven dinner consisting of Yankee Pot Roast.  We ate to excess, then had a campfire program before turning in for the night.

On Sunday morning we had a breakfast of french toast followed by an in-camp worship service.  Scouts had time to work on advancements before it was time to break camp, have lunch, then head home.

(L to R) Jeremy, Alex, Aaron, ASM Guzman, Trey, Stephen, Dave, Chris, Vincent, ASM Williams, and SPL Tim (kneeling).  Patrick, Trey, Chris, Alex, Tim, and Stephen all thought it was funny to find a "No Parking" sign in the middle of the woods.
The scenery along the trail is breathtaking.  This waterfall being only one example of multiple creeks and formations. (F to B & L to R): Stephen, Trey, Chris, Tim, ASM Guzman, Jeremy, Aaron, Patrick, Dave, and Scoutmaster Meek.
Hikers Trey, ASM Williams, ASM Guzman, Dave, Patrick, Aaron, Chris (nearly hidden behind Aaron), Stephen, and Alex. Stephen, Aaron, and Chris act innocent as Vincent pulls Alex down through a hole in the top of a natural bridge.
Aaron, Patrick, Dave, ASM Paul Guzman, Jeremy (partially hidden), and Alex.  Why is Dave standing in the water? Base camp was a welcome site after nearly 8 hours of hiking in the mountains.  
Chris flips french toast as Alex plays in the fire.  Stephen, Tim, and Jeremy supervise. Senior Patrol Leader Tim and Cobra Patrol Leader Stephen took a turn at washing dishes.  Rank has few privileges in Troop 868.
Scoutmaster Bob Meek shares a message as the troop gathers for worship on Sunday morning. Aaron (standing) and Alex (kneeling) fold one of the troop's canvas wall tents as ASM Paul Guzman supervises.