Thursday, July 14, 2011

Girl Scouts Take on Tough Terrain

This June, I traveled with ten other Girl Scouts and four wonderful adult volunteers to Virginia and North Carolina for an amazing outdoor adventure! We drove for two long days, finally reaching Grayson Highlands in Virginia, where we began backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. We hiked more than 35 miles over the course of four days, across difficult but beautiful terrain. Each day, we were witness to the amazing natural beauty of the Appalachian Trail – one day we hiked alongside fields of wild ponies! I can’t count the times we hauled our packs to the top of a treacherous mountain peak to be greeted by an exquisite view of the miles surrounding us, including the long trek we’d just completed! These views justified all of the hard, sometimes painful, hiking we did over those four days.

We finished our backpacking in Damascus, Virginia and headed into North Carolina for a couple of days of canoeing in the New River. We packed all of our camping gear into dry bags and hit the river, canoeing more than ten miles a day, and camping at the end of each day. The river was serene, and it was so relaxing to float lazily down the river to our next campsite… except when it was raining! The first day we were canoeing, we paddled into a huge thunderstorm.

Every day after that, it rained a little bit but we were lucky to have a few hours of beautiful sunshine to go rock climbing on the famous Looking Glass rock wall in North Carolina. When we were driven off the wall by a crazy hail storm, all of our gear was soaked, but thankfully our sister Girl Scouts in Ashville, North Carolina invited us to stay in their Girl Scout house for two days while we packed up – and dried out! – our gear.

The two week adventure definitely had its difficulties, but with a great group of girls and helpful adults, everything was worthwhile. The girls ranged in age from 12 to 18. I was one of the few older girls, but this gave me an opportunity to be a leader and role model when the younger girls were having difficulties on the trail. That’s not to say it was an easy trip for me, though! Backpacking for several days is physically taxing, and it took determination to keep going every day. I am so grateful to have had a motivating team alongside me!

Again, Girl Scouts has provided me an amazing opportunity to experience something new, with a group of smart, fun girls and volunteers! I encourage all of my readers to get involved in trips like this one, either as a participant or an adult volunteer. It was truly an amazing trip I’ll never forget!

For comments or questions regarding travel opportunities, please visit Girl Scouts of Central Texas Travel Pathway.

- Annie L.

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