Great North Mountain, WV
Apr 21-22, 2018
Spring means its time for the Introduction to Backpacking Trip. The PLC picked the perfect weekend to have this trip. The weather, the sights, the sounds, and smells all told us that Spring is in the air.
Weather and sights.
Clear skies and 60F. Doesn’t get much better than the backpacking weather we had. Overnight it got as low as 38F, but it felt even colder due to the persistent wind.
The view of Wardensville at lunchtime was nothing short of amazing. From above, we saw birds of prey at work and could make out hilltops more than ten miles away. On the ground, we heard and saw an oriole in the brush and met a couple horses on the trail.
We also saw older scouts time and again coaching, coaxing, and mentoring younger scouts to push themselves a little bit farther (especially up that hill pre-lunch on Saturday). They shared the load when the load seemed too heavy for a younger scout, and pushed and pulled to make sure that everybody got to our destination together. Scouters are proud and scouts should be proud of these efforts. Whether you are learning to navigate a trail (or put up bear bags) for the first time, or hike up an impossible hill, it’s good to have accomplished scouts and scouters encouraging you.
Sounds and smells.
The wind was memorable at night. The underground creek we hiked over made us all pause for a moment and appreciate the great outdoors. The slamming down of a jack instead of a queen during cards—and the joyful clamor that ensued—was memorable for many.
What does teen spirit smell like? I don’t know for sure, but there was certainly a great vibe among the groups. The crisp spring air did not have very much pollen – it’s too early in the season for that, thankfully – so all of us allergy sufferers could breathe deep comfortably. There was the occasional horse manure on the horseshoe-trodden trail that kept us on our toes and occasionally brought our finger and thumb to our nose.
After a mostly direct hike back to the parking lot, there was no better feeling than seeing lunch and the trip home ahead. It’s nice to go, and nice to return.
Most memorable from this trip were the teaching of young scouts, collaboration among older scouts to spread the load when necessary, everyone’s high spirits, and the comradery and fellowship that were built during this trip.
Special thank you to ASM Hindley for planning this trip and to all Scouters who joined in to help make this trip a tremendous success.