OH-0222 Loyalsock Trail Thru-Hike

Stephen Ashton 1 Comment

Averaging more than 10 miles a day and making climbs of 11,000 feet, boys and men from Trail Life Troop-0222 Amherst, OH earned Trail Names like MANimal, Machine, Bear, Mighty, Bravo, Moose, Gazelle, and Rocky as they spent 5 days backpacking the 59-mile Loyalsock Trail in Pennsylvania.

The trip was planned by two young men (Machine and Captain) who expertly led the Troop from Williamsport to "Worlds End." Along the way boys and men experienced Helen's Window, Smith Knob, Highlake, Alpine View, World's End, and an enjoyable swim at the end in The Haystacks, where huge sandstone formations in the creek create pools for swimming, sliding, and (if you are a little creative) water massages.

As temps dipped down into the low 30s, we huddled around the campfire telling stories, jokes, and playing some games. We all survived the night which bottomed out at 29 degrees (cold for us GA boys).

On the trip, as boys studied the book of Ephesians, they banded together to encourage and care for one another. When a young Trailman sprained his ankle, his older brother added his pack to the one already on his back and carried both packs for nearly two miles. During one of the hardest climbs, instead of complaining, one Trailman encouraged, "be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might! (Eph 6:10)" then added, "the Bible doesn't say it will be easy."

One leader commented, "This was one of the hardest things any of us (adults included) have ever done. We met both physical and emotional limits, and continuously prayed for strength to break through them. We saw exhausted leaders and Trailmen serve over and over by helping hang the bear bag every night, filtering water for meals/drinking, encouraging others to keep pushing in both the front and the back of the group, offering to carry other's packs, cooking, walking early to shuttle cars, and too many other examples to list."

These Trailmen are overcomers. Pushing their limits, they met both physical and emotional difficulties through prayer, working as a team, and serving one another. Well done!

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About the Author
Stephen Ashton

Stephen Ashton

Stephen Ashton is the National Director of Marketing for Trail Life USA and serves as an adjunct professor at Clarks Summit University and Anchor Christian University. Prior to his work at Trail Life, he spent 15 years working with at-risk youth in residential therapeutic wilderness programs and served as the Vice-President of the Wilderness Road Therapeutic Camping Association. An author and a speaker, he has written for journals and published a book chronicling the foundations of therapeutic camping. He frequently speaks on the topics of fatherhood, biblical masculinity, outdoor education, and wilderness therapy. Stephen lives in South Carolina with his wife and 4 sons.

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