Sunday, July 2, 2017

A stroll in the woods. Not!

For several hundred years, according to some, the 14-18 year-old young men of our church congregation with their leaders and dads have backpacked for six days on the Appalachian Trail just after the end of the school year.  This year was no exception.
The hearty, foolish (foolhardy?) group set off from just north of Front Royal, Virginia with smiles and high hopes.  The pale, uneasy-looking older gentleman in blue is me.
"Well, that wasn't so bad!" remarked several in the group as they completed a mere five miles the first day, arriving at the shelter and campsite.  "And look!  A horseshoe pit!"
Indeed, and so the first annual Jim and Molly Denton Shelter World Cup of Horseshoes began.  No one could remember the real rules, so Denton Shelter rules were enforced after they were made up.  In the end, youth and talent were no match for age and cunning, and the Old Guys ruled.
"What a pleasant start," said several of the youth naively as they shouldered their packs the next morning.  One could almost hear the chuckle of the hills ahead...
We lost one adult leader the second day, due to bad glucose control.
The next adult leader succumbed the next day to 95-degree temps and some extreme trail. He was lucky to leave before...
THE ROLLER COASTER!!  AAAGGHHH!!  It turned out to be the worst day's hike I've ever done, and I've been on some bad hikes.  I'll attribute it to the heat and absurd inclinations of the trail, but there were numerous times when my fried brain could not remember "roller coaster;" I found myself trying to recall; "cotton candy? uh, no. Ferris wheel? nope." etc. Everyone was wasted.
Luckily, a couple of OK days followed with lower temperatures and less steep trails.
We ended just short of Harper's Ferry, and reunited with the now-refreshed adult leaders.
To finish off the trip, we visited the Gettysburg National Battlefield, an interesting but somber place.
I don't know if Wendy's Corporation is aware of it, but all Scout/Young Men expeditions by tradition end at one of their establishments.  The record is $20 of food bought and consumed by a single youth.  It probably cost Wendy's more than that to de-stinkify the restaurant.
All in all, one of those great activities that are a lot better in retrospect.
We hope that your hikes are pleasant, and your roller coasters more fun.

1 comment:

Patti said...

It's the rough hikes you remember later with fondness. Too soon?