Troop 868 in Action

Hike of the Birdseye Trail (March, 2003)

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Troop 868 returned to the woods of the Hoosier National Forest in southern Indiana for a day hike of the Birdseye Trail.  Troop 868's first experience hiking this particular trail was a good one.  Six to seven inches of snow had blanketed the area the previous weekend, but warmer temperatures during the week had melted the snow to a depth of only about 2 inches.  The snow had completely melted on much of the trail, leaving behind a combination of slush and mud.  The melting snow was also a perfect consistency for snowball fighting; an activity that occurred quite frequently for about the first 2 hours of the hike.  

Several streams that the trail crossed were swollen by the runoff from the melting snow.  Under normal conditions these lazy brooks wouldn't have presented much of an obstacle, but depths over 12" and rushing currents sent our group on several detours to find fallen trees or other means to cross three of the creeks.  For scouts, this just added to the adventure!  It was also great to see the older guys take charge and help the younger scouts across.  Team work was the name of the game.

The Birdseye Trail is open to horseback riders and mountain bikers as well as hikers, but on this cold day in March we had the trail to ourselves.  Tracks of numerous forest creatures were observed along the trail, including flocks of wild turkey.  The Forest Service rated the trail as "easy to moderate" and we would agree with their rating.  Most sections of the trail were wide and all were very well marked with blue diamond blazes.  Our only complaint was that there were no mile markers or checkpoints; and distinctive landmarks were few.  Our group hiked at a comfortable pace and completed the entire trail in just over 4 hours.

Hikers prepare to hit the trail.  (L to R): Paul, Alex, Chris, Aaron, Shane, Philip, John, and Tim. Shane lobs a snowball at Chris as Philip hastens to join the volley.
Chris (left) and Paul (with snowballs) prepare for an attack on Shane. Shane retreats ... driven back, but far from defeated!
Chris steps carefully on logs and rocks the group threw in to keep their feet dry at one crossing. Shane steadies the log to keep the current from washing it away and reaches out to give Chris a hand.
Shane, Philip, and John do lunch. Alex, Chris, and Paul having lunch.
The most challenging creek crossing of the day.  Shane waits to assist Aaron who is followed by John, Alex, Paul, Chris, and Tim.