Boy Scouts from Troop 665 in Lithia got to spend time this summer hiking part of the Appalachian Trail (AT). Two groups, separated by age set out from Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia, ending in Hog Pen Gap, a trip of more than 50 miles.
According to Chandler Johnson, preparation of this hike started back in October 2018 by getting the scouts to prepare their bodies for the hard task of hiking 10 miles per day up and down the trails with backpacks on.
“The long preparation time helped everybody, as when all was said and done, the hike went 53.5 miles with over 10,000 ft of vertical climbing over the five days,” he said.
On the AT, hikers had to carry a tent and gear in their backpacks. Keeping the weight low required a great deal of planning and coordination.
One group hiked 53.4 miles from June 24 to 28 and the second group hiked 51.75 miles from July 1 to 5. The hike was long and difficult. All of the boys hiked Blood Mountain, which is more than 4,400 ft. in elevation. In the end, all of the hikers completed the trip feeling very accomplished.
Justin, one of the Scouts, thought the hike was difficult, and there were times he wanted to quit.
“I pushed beyond my limits and completed something I never thought I’d be able to do. I’m so happy I got to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said.
Another Scout, Sam, said, “No amount of training can prepare you for the feeling of accomplishment after successfully completing the entire 50-mile hike.”
“The Scouts all worked together and hopefully will remember this trip for a lifetime. This trip was extra special for me as I had the opportunity to hike with both my father and my son,” Rick Bordin, one of the adult leaders, commented.
All of the hikers will receive the Boy Scout 50-Miler Award.
“We are so proud of all our Scouts, and parent leaders, that took on this challenge. They have been training all year with practice hikes to build endurance as well as develop adequate packing techniques, topographical map reading and food and water planning,” said the Scoutmaster, Tom Bristow.
“We had a 100 percent success rate—all those Scouts that took on this challenge finished the full 50 plus miles; a great win for Troop 665, and we could not be more thrilled with the way things turned out,” he added.
Boy Scout Troop 665 meets Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. at Grace United Methodist Church, located at 5708 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Lithia. For more information, email Tom Bristow at 30Something665@gmail.com.