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Uwharrie National Forest Backpacking Trip

posted Aug 24, 2014, 12:03 PM by Jim Black
May 16 - 18, 2014
Uwharrie National Forest
12 Boy Scouts attended this event.

This weekend the Scouts of Troop 17 went backpacking. It was tons of fun! Since Uwharrie is fairly close it only took us about an hour-and-a-half to get there.  After we arrived at the Trail Head, we got our gear out and hit the first trail. You had to carry at least one bag, so if you brought two; it was recommended that you carry the lighter one. 

Once we were all ready to go, we began what was supposed to be a 2.8 mile hike. Only a few things happened during the hike up, so I won't go into much detail, but a few things include the hike ending up being a little longer than 2.8 miles, a couple people (who will go unnamed) fell into a creek (kind of), along the way.  Some of us MAY have brought a LITTLE too much stuff.  An air of overall happiness took over the Troop when we arrived at the base camp!

After we were done hiking (thank God!) we had to set up our gear (tents, hammocks, etc.). Then we had a nice Cracker Barrel of chocolate cake. It was delicious, according to most everyone.

The next morning the ten-mile hikers set off, into the woods to complete the hike, while the first-year scouts stayed behind. While what the ten-milers did is unbeknownst to me, I can tell you what we did. (My dad went, so I’ll let him type up his summary of the ten-mile hike)

First, the newer-scouts cooked their breakfast, a hearty meal of bacon, sausage, and biscuits. Then, they cleaned up, and we set off on our very own hike. Along the way, Mr. Mullins identified lots of plant-life to us, especially Poison Ivy. The adults (Mr. Yates, Mr. Mullins, and A.J.'s dad) told us a lot about hiking, and how it should be done. For instance, did you know the saying "step over it, not on it, and around it, not over it"? Well Mr. Mullins told us that one! It's supposed to mean step over a log when you can, not onto it, and go around the log when you can, rather than over it! After learning lots about plants, we decided to head back, and then eat lunch.

Once we got back to the campsite, the first-year scouts had to cook lunch for themselves, and us older kids set up our hammocks. Then once they were done eating, we mostly just sat in our hammocks, played corn hole, and other miscellaneous stuff.

Well, after a while the ten-milers came back, and they wanted a fire for the night, so we went across the street to collect firewood. For dinner that night, we had foil packs, composed of chicken, potatoes, carrots, and onions.  A Special THANKS to Walker Dennis and Mathew Oliver as they prepared the dinner, both are working on the Cooking Merit Badges. After dinner we played more corn hole and cards, although a few went on to bed.

The next morning we woke up, had breakfast (A sausage mountain-man dish cooked up in the Dutch Ovens), and set off, but not before cleaning up our campsite and a morning devotional provided by Ian Foley. 

10 Mile Hike Narrative – provided by Wayne Miracle.

The ten mile hike was a great adventure, for the first ten or so miles.  On the hike was 6 boys and 4 adults.

We started out at a fast pace, averaging 2.5 miles per hour for the first 6 or so miles.  At the 2.5 mile mark we stopped at Dutchman’s Creek, had a hearty trail breakfast and resupplied our water.  Different leaders and boys demonstrated hand pump operated water filtering devices, a Sawyer Squeeze bag filtering method and the gravitation system.  All worked quite well and the Patrol was resupplied with water in 4-5 minutes.  Breakfast ranged from Bacon and Eggs to Bagels/toast with peanut butter to dry cereal, fruits nuts….

The next 4 miles went quickly at a pace of about 2.7 mph, and then we stopped at the base of a rock formation to resupply with water.  Little did we realize that when we would start out next we would hike up the rock formation and climb about 200 feet in elevation over a 400-500 foot section of the trail.  There was a lot of heavy breathing at the top and rubbery legs. There were lots of creaking knees and ankles from the Old Goats on the trail. 

From there we traversed up and down some of the Uwharrie Mountain tops until we stopped for lunch.  Again lunch was a broad variety of Stews made from par-boiled rice, summer sausages, chicken, beans, ect., to apples, dried fruits and PB&J’s.  During lunch another Scout Troop came through marking the trail with the yellow blaze paint indicated for that portion of the trail.  After lunch we were actually ahead of schedule and there was a brief discussion for a brief nap, eventually it was decided to carry on get back to the base camp early.

The last leg of the hike did include another water stop. Along the entire trail we encountered probably 2 dozen or so other hikers and campers.  I know the adults on the hike were really proud of the positive attitudes displayed by the Scouts that made the trek.

Some interesting (but disputed) facts about the hike, this was from my hiking app:
Steps taken: 24,739
Distance: 13.7 miles GPS app; 10.17 miles per trail map
Time: 6 hours 51 minutes, I did not pause the clock during water and meal breaks
Active time: 6 hours 2 minutes, the app does pause on its own
Calories: 1782, this is based on my height, weight and step length under NORMAL conditions, I feel certain it should have been higher
Elevation gain: 433 feet GPS app; lowest point to highest point
1000+ foot gain overall, 1000+ foot loss overall, up the hill, down the hill, up the hill, down the hill
Average Speed: 2.3 mph
Average Pace: 26:26 minutes per mile