Montgomery Hosts Regional Scouting Tradition

            The Uwharrie Trail recently witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of folks passing over its course.  For the sixth consecutive year a group from the Boy Scouts of America, associated with the Old North State Council out of Greensboro , conducted a 50-mile hike during the days following Christmas.  Also joining this year was a group from the Occoneechee Council out of Raleigh .  In all, some 70 scouts and leaders participated in the journey. 

            This year’s beginning point was located at the Dark Mountain Trailhead near the locally famous Jumpin’ Off Rock.  The groups then headed south along the Uwharrie Trail as they traversed Dark Mountain , Morris Mountain and Dennis Mountain on their path towards the Wood Run Trailhead on Highway 24/27.  After reaching 24/27 the scouts made several loops along other trails in order to reach the 50 mile plateau.  Each night the scouts set up camp and dined on fine, outdoor cuisine while preparing for the next leg of the hike.  David Craft, a Uwharrie Trail advocate and yearly participant in the hike, said “The weather was perfect.  Every year I look forward to getting out with the younger guys and helping teach them the scouting ethic.  We’re very fortunate to be able to have such a wonderful wilderness area within a short drive from the house”. 

            In addition to simply hiking the 50 miles, the scouts have a special opportunity to work on merit badges they need in order to continue their advancement in scouting.  Some of the merit badges that could be secured on the trip include: Astronomy, Backpacking, Camping, Cooking, Forestry, Hiking, Nature, Wilderness Survival, and numerous others.  Members could work on the merit badges at home, but what better opportunity to learn about nature than by spending four nights sleeping in her presence. 

            As an Eagle Scout, I commend these youth and their supervisors for creating such a yearly tradition.  It speaks very highly for the scouts that they are willing to come out immediately after Christmas and brave the elements instead of laying around the house playing their new video games.  It’s virtually certain that these guys will one day reflect upon the “50 miler” and recall many of the lessons they learned along the way.  Furthermore, this time offers one more opportunity to develop their characters such as the scouting tradition strives for.