Troop 868 in Action

KNOBSTONE TRAIL (October, 2005)

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Because of the fact that two Saturdays in November are consumed by the annual Scouting for Food service project, the Patrol Leaders' Council decided to hold our November outdoor activity on the last weekend in October.

It had been almost 4 years since the troop had last hiked any portion of the Knobstone Trail, so the PLC decided to re-visit this nearby trail.  We decided to do a Friday night base camp at the Delaney Park trailhead in order to get started hiking as early as possible on Saturday morning.  The original plan was to backpack 20~22 miles, but with some younger, less experienced scouts and overnight low temperatures expected to be near freezing, we decided instead to do an 11 mile day hike and nix a second night of camping.

This turned out to be a wise decision, as we work up Saturday morning with frost on the inside of our tents!  As planned, we were up before daybreak and had a hearty breakfast of french toast.  We hit the trail about a half-hour after sunrise.  Our route for the day included the Delaney Park Loop at the extreme northern end of the trail and the Spurgeon Hollow Loop that bordered it to the south.  By hiking the two loops in a "figure 8" route rather than as a large, we were able to achieve the minimum 10 miles required for the hike to count toward the Hiking Merit Badge. 

With leaves changing color and falling, the forest was beautiful.  We didn't see any deer, but we did surprise a flock of wild turkeys.  The Knobstone Trail is extremely well marked and well-maintained.  We encountered only a items of litter (and picked them up).  We encountered a few steep climbs, but the route we selected was generally pretty moderate in terms of difficulty.

Because of the frost, we left our tents up to dry off during the day and had to finish breaking camp after the hike.  A couple of our senior boys hiked on ahead from a couple of miles out and had everything pretty much packed up by the time the last hikers finished the trail.

Hikers Stephen, Tim, Philip, Dylan, and Chris prepare to hit the trail early Saturday morning. Wakeup temperature was in the 30's and everyone started off all bundled up.
As the sun came out, things quickly warmed up and it turned out to be an ideal day for hiking. ASM Tommy Guelda and Stephen look ready to continue hiking during our stop for lunch.
Not so for Chris, who looks like he could use a nap. Or for Tim, who actually took one!
But climbing a big hill immediately after the break got everyone's blood pumping once again. Stephen and Tim fold up one of the troop's canvas wall tents.
Philip (center) stayed back and hiked with younger scouts Chris (left) and Dylan.