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Scouts and the AT

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  • J.F. Hill
    We re thinking about taking our scouts to try a 50 miler on the AT next year during fall break. We went to Cades Cove and hiked up to the AT last December and
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 7, 2005
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      We're thinking about taking our scouts to try a 50 miler on the AT
      next year during fall break. We went to Cades Cove and hiked up to
      the AT last December and 2 adults and 2 kids couldn't even get to
      the trail. We were told the trail (can't remember the name of it,
      but I'll never forget the trail) was moderate but whoa. Next year
      we'll have kids in the age range of maybe a few 11 year olds, some
      12/13 and then the rest maybe 15/16. The plan is to make 10 miles a
      day and camp each night. What advise do any of you folks that have
      done the AT before have? We're in Clay, Alabama (just out of
      Birmingham) so we can't start too far north - we can make NC since
      we raft the Nantahala every other year. My thoughts are to start at
      a northern end and walk south carrying enough food for the trip and
      picking up water along the way but that's as far as my ideas go and
      since I've not done it, my opinions don't carry much weight course
      none of the rest of the troop has done it either. Where can I get
      maps and other information too? How many folks can go in a group?
      I'd read that you were limited in how many could be in a group.
      Anyway, I'm looking for advise and information. I'll be slinging my
      hammock but I don't know about the rest. Are tents allowed? Under
      the stars on the ground? Don't know much do I?

      Thanks,
      john
    • jmellis01
      Hi John, I was an assistant on a very similar sounding trip about 10 years ago. There are bunches of books and more spots on the web than you can count with
      Message 2 of 6 , Aug 7, 2005
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        Hi John,
        I was an assistant on a very similar sounding trip about 10
        years ago. There are bunches of books and more spots on the web
        than you can count with AT info.
        Based on the ages of the kids and the terrain you will be
        hiking you may want to reconsider the mileage. If you want to e-
        mail me offlist I can fill you in on the sad details....
        Hammocking on the AT should be a piece of cake. The shelters
        are convenient but can get crowded. You should always be able to
        find some suitable trees at the campsites. In some areas you can
        hang most anywhere so long as you're a certain distance off the
        trail and away from water.
        Good luck and have a good trip. Planning is everything when
        you're going out with a bunch of kids.

        Have fun,
        John

        --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "J.F. Hill" <nil_dog@y...>
        wrote:
        > We're thinking about taking our scouts to try a 50 miler on the AT
        > next year during fall break. We went to Cades Cove and hiked up
        to
        > the AT last December and 2 adults and 2 kids couldn't even get to
        > the trail. We were told the trail (can't remember the name of it,
        > but I'll never forget the trail) was moderate but whoa. Next year
        > we'll have kids in the age range of maybe a few 11 year olds, some
        > 12/13 and then the rest maybe 15/16. The plan is to make 10 miles
        a
        > day and camp each night. What advise do any of you folks that
        have
        > done the AT before have? We're in Clay, Alabama (just out of
        > Birmingham) so we can't start too far north - we can make NC since
        > we raft the Nantahala every other year. My thoughts are to start
        at
        > a northern end and walk south carrying enough food for the trip
        and
        > picking up water along the way but that's as far as my ideas go and
        > since I've not done it, my opinions don't carry much weight course
        > none of the rest of the troop has done it either. Where can I get
        > maps and other information too? How many folks can go in a
        group?
        > I'd read that you were limited in how many could be in a group.
        > Anyway, I'm looking for advise and information. I'll be slinging
        my
        > hammock but I don't know about the rest. Are tents allowed?
        Under
        > the stars on the ground? Don't know much do I?
        >
        > Thanks,
        > john
      • zippydooda
        Lotta miles, especially given the stuff that scouts usually carry. Should be great for the older boys as long as they can avoid blisters. Seems like an awful
        Message 3 of 6 , Aug 8, 2005
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          Lotta miles, especially given the stuff that scouts usually carry.
          Should be great for the older boys as long as they can avoid blisters.
          Seems like an awful lot for the younger ones. But those who survive
          will have earned one of the cool badges and will have great memories.

          Bill in Houston

          --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "J.F. Hill" <nil_dog@y...> wrote:
          > Next year
          > we'll have kids in the age range of maybe a few 11 year olds, some
          > 12/13 and then the rest maybe 15/16. The plan is to make 10 miles a
          > day and camp each night.
        • Tripp Clark
          John, I have a fair amount of experience working with Scouts (25+ years in the program, Eagle Scout, 11 years summer camp staff, etc.). I have seen some
          Message 4 of 6 , Aug 8, 2005
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            John,

            I have a fair amount of experience working with Scouts (25+ years in
            the program, Eagle Scout, 11 years summer camp staff, etc.). I have
            seen some younger Scouts who are skilled, experienced and mature
            enough for a trek like you describe, but they are few. I would have
            real reservations about taking a bunch of 11 and 12 year olds on
            such a trip. There is a reason that Philmont limits their program
            to 14 year olds and over. An AT trip is every bit as taxing and
            does not have the support infrastructure that Philmont does to
            encourage success and offer a safety net. I suggest for your
            consideration that the AT trip would be a great program for the
            older Scouts and that the younger Scouts may get more from a more
            basic trip held concurrently (maybe even in the same area to
            coordinate transportation) that focuses on basic Scouting skills.
            Maybe include some day hikes for the younger boys. The ONLY way I
            would even consider taking these younger boys on a 50 miler like
            described is if and after they have been on several (3 or so)
            weekend shakedown backpacking trips with full packs and comparable
            mileage. Even at this, I would be very uneasy with the idea.

            Beyond this, please keep in mind that small group size is important
            on the AT. You really want not more than six folks in a group
            hiking together (for reasons of LNT, trail courtesy,
            campsite/shelter impact, etc.), and with the BSA's 2-deep leadership
            requirement, this means typical groups are 2 adults and 3 - 4
            Scouts. If enough adults are available, one convenient way to
            organze the trek is to have one group of 5-6 heading south and one
            group of 5-6 heading north. Each group has vehicle(s) which are
            left at each end. When they intersect in the middle, they swap
            keys. This splits up the group and eases transportation issues at
            the end.

            John, I've been fortunate the past few years to have hiked the
            southern 500 or so miles of the AT. I'd be happy to look back over
            my notes and maps and suggest some good 50 mile sections that you
            could consider. Let me know if you need some ideas in this area.

            Bottom line, in my opinion, do the 50-miler, but make it an
            adventure that your older Scouts can take part in and your younger
            Scouts can look forward to (a few years down the road).

            Tripp


            --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "J.F. Hill" <nil_dog@y...>
            wrote:
            > We're thinking about taking our scouts to try a 50 miler on the AT
            > next year during fall break. We went to Cades Cove and hiked up
            to
            > the AT last December and 2 adults and 2 kids couldn't even get to
            > the trail. We were told the trail (can't remember the name of it,
            > but I'll never forget the trail) was moderate but whoa. Next year
            > we'll have kids in the age range of maybe a few 11 year olds, some
            > 12/13 and then the rest maybe 15/16. The plan is to make 10 miles
            a
            > day and camp each night. What advise do any of you folks that
            have
            > done the AT before have? We're in Clay, Alabama (just out of
            > Birmingham) so we can't start too far north - we can make NC since
            > we raft the Nantahala every other year. My thoughts are to start
            at
            > a northern end and walk south carrying enough food for the trip
            and
            > picking up water along the way but that's as far as my ideas go and
            > since I've not done it, my opinions don't carry much weight course
            > none of the rest of the troop has done it either. Where can I get
            > maps and other information too? How many folks can go in a
            group?
            > I'd read that you were limited in how many could be in a group.
            > Anyway, I'm looking for advise and information. I'll be slinging
            my
            > hammock but I don't know about the rest. Are tents allowed?
            Under
            > the stars on the ground? Don't know much do I?
            >
            > Thanks,
            > john
          • Joseph Vossen
            I couldn t agree more; what we used to do is allow the older, experienced scouts a chance to go on a trip to the AT, which we called high adventure trips.
            Message 5 of 6 , Aug 8, 2005
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              I couldn't agree more; what we used to do is allow the older,
              experienced scouts a chance to go on a trip to the AT, which we called
              'high adventure' trips. The younger kids would go on the 'standard'
              trip and 2 adults and maybe 3-4 older scouts would go on the AT trip.
              We would only allow the kids to go after they had a certain amount of
              experience and time in the troop. This was a big incentive for the
              kids to go camping since they all wanted to go on these 'high
              adventure' outings.

              One place on the AT that I have found to be very successful is
              Standing Indian in western NC. If you look at the map, the AT comes
              down from the north, loops east of Standing Indian campground and then
              goes along the southern part before heading into GA. The nice thing
              about this spot is you can park your car at the Standing Indian back
              country parking lot, take a side trail to the AT, hike the AT and then
              take another side trail back to the parking lot; this means you don't
              have to shuffle cars. In addition, there are a lot of side trails
              from the AT back to the campground so you have some 'bail' points if
              needed.

              Water availability is pretty good (actually, very good this year :));
              but even in August during a dry spell we found enough water.

              We try to keep the group small, no more than 4-6 people so as to not
              impact the area that much.

              Don't forget to hang your food; that part of western NC is a bear sanctuary.

              On 8/8/05, Tripp Clark <trippclark@...> wrote:
              > John,
              >
              > I have a fair amount of experience working with Scouts (25+ years in
              > the program, Eagle Scout, 11 years summer camp staff, etc.). I have
              > seen some younger Scouts who are skilled, experienced and mature
              > enough for a trek like you describe, but they are few. I would have
              > real reservations about taking a bunch of 11 and 12 year olds on
              > such a trip. There is a reason that Philmont limits their program
              > to 14 year olds and over. An AT trip is every bit as taxing and
              > does not have the support infrastructure that Philmont does to
              > encourage success and offer a safety net. I suggest for your
              > consideration that the AT trip would be a great program for the
              > older Scouts and that the younger Scouts may get more from a more
              > basic trip held concurrently (maybe even in the same area to
              > coordinate transportation) that focuses on basic Scouting skills.
              > Maybe include some day hikes for the younger boys. The ONLY way I
              > would even consider taking these younger boys on a 50 miler like
              > described is if and after they have been on several (3 or so)
              > weekend shakedown backpacking trips with full packs and comparable
              > mileage. Even at this, I would be very uneasy with the idea.
              >
              > Beyond this, please keep in mind that small group size is important
              > on the AT. You really want not more than six folks in a group
              > hiking together (for reasons of LNT, trail courtesy,
              > campsite/shelter impact, etc.), and with the BSA's 2-deep leadership
              > requirement, this means typical groups are 2 adults and 3 - 4
              > Scouts. If enough adults are available, one convenient way to
              > organze the trek is to have one group of 5-6 heading south and one
              > group of 5-6 heading north. Each group has vehicle(s) which are
              > left at each end. When they intersect in the middle, they swap
              > keys. This splits up the group and eases transportation issues at
              > the end.
              >
              > John, I've been fortunate the past few years to have hiked the
              > southern 500 or so miles of the AT. I'd be happy to look back over
              > my notes and maps and suggest some good 50 mile sections that you
              > could consider. Let me know if you need some ideas in this area.
              >
              > Bottom line, in my opinion, do the 50-miler, but make it an
              > adventure that your older Scouts can take part in and your younger
              > Scouts can look forward to (a few years down the road).
              >
              > Tripp
              >
              >
              > --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "J.F. Hill" <nil_dog@y...>
              > wrote:
              > > We're thinking about taking our scouts to try a 50 miler on the AT
              > > next year during fall break. We went to Cades Cove and hiked up
              > to
              > > the AT last December and 2 adults and 2 kids couldn't even get to
              > > the trail. We were told the trail (can't remember the name of it,
              > > but I'll never forget the trail) was moderate but whoa. Next year
              > > we'll have kids in the age range of maybe a few 11 year olds, some
              > > 12/13 and then the rest maybe 15/16. The plan is to make 10 miles
              > a
              > > day and camp each night. What advise do any of you folks that
              > have
              > > done the AT before have? We're in Clay, Alabama (just out of
              > > Birmingham) so we can't start too far north - we can make NC since
              > > we raft the Nantahala every other year. My thoughts are to start
              > at
              > > a northern end and walk south carrying enough food for the trip
              > and
              > > picking up water along the way but that's as far as my ideas go and
              > > since I've not done it, my opinions don't carry much weight course
              > > none of the rest of the troop has done it either. Where can I get
              > > maps and other information too? How many folks can go in a
              > group?
              > > I'd read that you were limited in how many could be in a group.
              > > Anyway, I'm looking for advise and information. I'll be slinging
              > my
              > > hammock but I don't know about the rest. Are tents allowed?
              > Under
              > > the stars on the ground? Don't know much do I?
              > >
              > > Thanks,
              > > john
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • Ray Garlington
              ... 10 miles per day carrying food for a week will be difficult for the boys. As others have said, make sure you have an experienced crew. ... Check out
              Message 6 of 6 , Aug 9, 2005
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                --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "J.F. Hill" <nil_dog@y...>
                wrote:
                > What advise do any of you folks that have
                > done the AT before have?

                10 miles per day carrying food for a week will be difficult for the
                boys. As others have said, make sure you have an experienced crew.

                > Where can I get
                > maps and other information too?

                Check out http://www.whiteblaze.net/ They have everything you need to
                know about the AT.

                How many folks can go in a group?

                Small groups. You can 'cheat' a little by going in two groups and
                meeting up at your designated camping site (maintain the separate
                group structure). I doubt the shelters will be very crowded during
                the week in the fall, so perhaps you won't have to avoid them. (They
                do have a lot of mice!)

                Are tents allowed? Under the stars on the ground?
                Yes.

                This said, we took a group of experienced boys from the base of
                Standing Indian mountain to the Nantahala Outdoor Center. We ended the
                trip with a rafting trip. (Stayed at the shelter about .9 miles from
                NOC. Left early in the morning, rafted, and travelled home that
                afternoon.) It was a memorable trip, and the boys had a good time.
                Many good views (and hard climbs).
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