By: Kara S.

Girl Scouting is a place where girls can gain COURAGE, CONFIDENCE, and CHARACTER while going on crazy adventures and meeting new friends. This being of my ninth year in Girl Scouts, I still hadn’t had any thrilling adventures, and I was ready for a real challenge. These challenges came February of 2015, and I am so glad they did.
Adventure number one was hiking part of the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail runs 2160 miles from Georgia to Maine. I was so excited when I found out I could hike part of the trail with Girl Scouts! I met a group of Girl Scouts at Woody Gap where we packed up our gear. Each girl had to carry their sleeping bag, sleeping mat, half of a tent, clothes, and food in their backpack. We left Woody Gap and hiked up and down the sides of the mountain chain. The weather was fairly dreary and it misted for about half of the hike there, but the views were absolutely beautiful and more than made up for the weather.
Five miles, six hours, and multiple breaks later, we made it to where we would set up camp for the night. We spent the rest of the evening sitting around our tiny campfire singing songs, talking, and eating trail food. Trail food is freeze-dried food. All you have to do is add hot water to and shake and its ready. It is actually surprisingly very delicious on the trail but not as good at home cooked food. Everyone was exhausted for the long hike and slept extremely well.
     The next morning, we packed up our campsites and headed back. We hiked the five miles back to Woody Gap. The weather was much more beautiful, which made the hike even more enjoyable. With less fog and mist, the views were even more spectacular; you could see for what seemed like miles.

     My second adventure for my ninth year in Girl Scouting was caving. I spent a weekend with my Girl Scout troop in Cloudland Canyon National Park. We stayed in a yurt, which is like platform tent with the amenities of a nice cabin. This was the first time my troop has gone camping in years, and we were so excited to finally be at camp again and to go caving for the first time.
     We met our guides near the cave near Cloudland. They took us to the mouth of the cave, which was no bigger than two and a half feet in diameter. We slid inside, and immediately the cave opened up into an enormous room. We then followed our guide through countless tunnels, corkscrews, and a lot of mud.
     We finally made it to our destination: a room nicknamed “The Signature Room.” The walls of this room were filled with colorful graffiti of people who had been there before us, including cavers from 1959. From The Signature Room, there were two extra paths you could take, and the girls in my troop ventured down both. The first one was called the mouse hole and was a tunnel leading to a little room. The second one was known as army crawl and was a drop down to a tunnel with a ceiling so low, you had to army crawl through it, but then it opened up into a decent size room.
     When we got out of the cave, we were completely covered in mud from head to toe.  We spent the rest of the weekend hiking the many trails to beautiful waterfalls and talking about our first experience inside of a cave. Caving was an experience we will never forget, and we hope to do it again soon!
    Hiking and caving with Girl Scouts are two experiences I will never ever forget. If you ever get the chance to do either one of these adventures, I highly suggest taking the chance. The more adventures you can go on in nature, the more memories you will have!

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