Hiking through history
Girl Scout Troop 40545 from Troy took a trip to Gettysburg this past June to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg.
Koral Fries is a Cadette level scout going into ninth grade. Rebecca Brown is a senior scout going into tenth grade. Caytlyn Nichols was a senior scout and now has graduated. Barb Brown, mother of Rebecca, is the troop leader.
The scouts had a wonderful time and learned many new facts pertaining to the historic battle at Gettysburg.
The girls and their leaders arrived at the campground in Gettysburg in the late afternoon of their first day. They got their site set up and prepared for the week ahead by getting their backpacks supplied.
“We used everything in our backpacks at one point or another during the week,” said Barb Brown.
After one night at the campground, they woke up to a stormy day of rain, thunder and lightning. So, off they went to the Visitors Center and the Civil War Museum, and Cyclorama. They also toured the Eisenhower Farm and its surrounding area, since much of the farm is an indoor tour.
Once the weather cleared enough, they hiked the Soldiers National Cemetery and relived the details of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. By the end of that first full day in
Gettysburg, the girls were pretty hungry so they enjoyed an historical meal at the Dobbin House, one of the oldest and original houses in the area. It was also part of the Underground Railroad.
The troop woke up the next morning to find the same weather, but the rain was on and off so they took their chances and set off to hike the ten mile Johnny Reb trail. This trek enabled them to learn what it was like to be on the Confederate side during the Battle of Gettysburg.
After that long hike, the troop toured the Jenny Wade House, which was the home of the only civilian killed in the Battle of Gettysburg. By the end of their day they had also toured the Hall of Presidents and First Ladies.
The next morning surprised them with a fairly clear day. There was no rain in sight, the sky had lots of clouds and it was extremely hot and humid. The plan for this day was to tackle the Billy Yank Trail to learn the Union side of the battle, which focused on the use of many of the farms in the area. Unfortunately the trail was longer than expected (18 miles) because of some area closures and alternate routes in use. The troop did get to see many of the battle sights and monuments and they also learned the battle movements. They hiked to the major battle points, including Little Round Top and Big Round Top. They ended their day on the battle field with involvement in Picket’s Charge. They were able to understand the battle from the first days to the final day and its turn of events at The Angle where the Battle of Gettysburg had ended. At that point, the troop learned the significance of Cemetery Hill where many of the northern soldiers are buried.
The next day, the troop did the five-mile Historical Walk through downtown Gettysburg. They learned what it was like to live in that town during the battle. They also toured the Lincoln Train Museum, taking a ride with Lincoln. They saw the Diorama of the battles and toured the Jenny Shiver home. There they got to see how sharpshooters were used in the battles and how the Rebels and Yankees fought from her home.
They ran into the Boy Scout Troop from Troy that afternoon. The boys were just coming into Gettysburg for the weekend to do the same thing the girls’ troop had just done. They saw the girls walking the Historical Trail and flagged them down. The Boy Scouts usually have a group that goes every couple of years.
On their last day, before packing to leave for home, the girls did a horse ride into the center of the battlefield with a licensed battlefield guide. During that three hour tour they learned even more about the part horses played in the battle.
The scouts were proud of themselves for all the hiking they did, as well as the other accomplishments on the trip. They met the requirements for the hiking patch.
“We also could not have done this walk without the time and assistance provided from Armenia Mountain Footwear in getting the proper footwear and getting them the correct fitting of each of their shoes. It took a lot of time and work but they did it wonderfully for each of the girls’ needs,” said Barb Brown.
“This was a trip of many firsts for these girls,” added Barb Brown. “They had a great time and learned so much more about their history, more than any textbook could ever teach them.”