Category Archives: Backpacking

Grayson Highlands Backpacking

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Finally, a backpacking trip without rain.  I have been on more than half a dozen backpacking trips and all of them have rained except this one.  The weather was nice, even though in the valley it dipped to 15 degrees freezing our water.  Grayson Highlands never ceases to amaze me.

We started on the trail Friday night with headlamps donned.  What a great experience to be out in the wilderness at night.  Some scouts decided to use the moon light to guide their way.  As we arrived to camp, the famous Grayson Highland wild ponies greeted us.   We setup camp and prepared for a big day.  Austin, Landon and Brian decided to sleep under the stars with just their sleeping bags and mats.  They loved it.

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We decided to split into two groups for the rest of the trip and it worked out wonderfully.  Four scouts, who have never been backpacking, stayed at base camp just off the Appalachian Trail (AT), just outside Grayson Highlands State Park.   The other group hiked 8 miles to their next camp.

I was impressed with our older scouts, as they arrived to camp they filtered water, setup their sleeping arrangements, gathered firewood, started the fire with flint and steel, etc.  All with no assistance from the adults.  Well done guys.  Austin finished his Wilderness Survival Merit Badge by making a shelter and sleeping in it.  Landon learned to sleep in his new hammock and it was one of his highlights.

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The younger scouts took a day hike to Mount Rogers, the highest Point in Virginia.  They filtered their water near the Thomas Knob AT shelter, and learned how to use a backpacking stove, among other skills.

I hope to have many more trips like this one!  Here are a lot of pictures for your enjoyment!

Scoutmaster Dan

Linville Gorge Backpacking Trip

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Linville Gorge, North Carolina, the site of the most recent backpacking adventure of Troop 26 provided a steep and arduous challenge steeped with plentiful switchbacks, steep slopes, and slippery rocks.  In addition, we faced problems with navigation early on however; we managed to find the correct trail after consulting their map and compass.  Once on the correct path, we had a nice downward hike stopping at a side stream for lunch.  After we ate lunch, we continued our trek towards the bottom and upon reaching it; we discovered the bridges we were to cross were made out of a massive log with a railing on one side with a rock in the middle.  After enjoying, the walk across we continued along the trail, which had become much rockier until we decided upon a camping site. 

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However, we did not feel satisfied yet so we continued on for around thirty minutes before returning to establish our camp for the night.  Once all the tents were put up we watched as Austin built a nice medium sized campfire and began preparation of supper knowing of the forthcoming rain.  Because we were camping at the bottom of the gorge, it was beginning to get dark at around 4 P.M.  Beginning at some time in the middle of the night was the rain that continued for the rest of our trip. Come morning time, the rain made it interesting to get ready for the hike back but we all managed to get packed and take our tents down without getting too wet. 

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We then hiked back, struggling on the rocks made even more dangerous and slippery by the rain, and then we climbed up the slope on the other side and made it out of the forest and too the cars by about 11A.M. to 12 P.M.  Overall, the trip was wet and fun and everyone seemed to enjoy our first wintry backpacking trip.


Here are more pictures of the trip.