Scouts cross 20 wilderness miles
Friday, September 20, 2013
The summer was a busy season for Bedford’s Troop 414, especially for several Scouts working on their hiking merit badge. On Saturday, Aug. 3, four Scouts and three adults completed a hike of 20 miles through the Pemigewasset Wilderness, comprised of about 46,000 acres of wilderness within 70 square miles in the White Mountains National Forest.
The journey was undertaken by Scouts Matthew Tufts-Moore, of Bedford, Bryce Laurendau, of Bedford, Kyle Eno, of Chester, and Michael Chen, of Bedford. A trio of adult volunteers included Richard Moore, Matthew’s dad and the adult leader for the trip, Jackie Laurendau, who is Bryce’s mom, and Keith Robinson, a veteran hiker of the Appalachian Trail.
Michael Chen, 13, an eighth-grader at Ross A. Lurgio Middle School, said he started his Scouting activities at age 6 when he was a Tiger Cub Scout in Pack 5. Michael moved on to Troop 414 when he bridged from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.
Laura Chen, Michael’s mom and a Troop 414 committee member, noted that Michael was enthused about the wilderness adventure.
“Being able to be out in the wilderness was peaceful and calming,” Michael said. “Bryce and Mr. Robinson really kept us going. The hike would have been hard to do solo.”
The Scouts traversing the 20-mile segment of the “Pemi,” as hikers are wont to call the Pemigewasset, found vistas of dense hardwood forests studded with ragged peaks.
The acreage is managed by the Forest Service, and the Scouts were well aware of the importance of conserving its beauty. They made sure to leave behind no food wrappers, plastic water bottles or other debris that would detract from the pristine appearance of the wilderness.
Sources online note that the Pemigewasset Wilderness, deemed by federal designation a wilderness area in 1984, once was ravaged by heavy logging, which harvested all of the forest cover between 1890 and 1940. Today, a respite of more than 50 years has enabled tremendous regeneration.
The 20-mile hike added to the Scouts’ knowledge of the flora and fauna of the area. It also served as a test of their endurance. The sojourn of 20 miles was the most rigorous they have done.
A set of five 10-mile hikes is required to earn the merit badge.
The Scouts completed a June hike on Mt. Garfield, near the Franconia Ridge, and a July hike of 10 miles on Mt. Carrigain, located on the south side of the Pemi, to work toward the goal.
Troop 414 meets at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays at the Bedford Presbyterian Church, 4 Church Road. Potential Scouts and families are welcome to visit the meetings to learn more.
For more information on Bedford’s Troop 414, visit www.troop414.org.