Hike to Frederick lets Scouts show they're fit

April 04, 1993|By Rafael Alvarez | Rafael Alvarez,Staff Writer

CERESVILLE -- Ryan Haden has President John F. Kennedy to thank for his aching legs and sore feet today.

In the early 1960s, when Mr. Kennedy declared America's youth to be soft and flabby, Baltimore Boy Scout Troop 35 decided to prove him wrong. Its members hiked 40 miles.

Yesterday, Troop 35's scouts and their families repeated the ordeal for the 31st consecutive year -- this time, 40 miles from Reisterstown west to Frederick, mostly on Route 26, Liberty Road.

With five miles to go, even though it wasn't exactly a race, Ryan Haden was far ahead of the pack.

"I need a foot massage," Ryan panted as he ambled into the Route 26 checkpoint at 2 p.m. "My feet are killing me."

Jim Hull, one of Troop 35's scout fathers, took off Ryan's shoes and socks to apply a handful of foot powder while J. Paul Mullen, another father, handed the teen-ager a sliced orange and a cup of hot chocolate.

Ryan, who runs track for Towson Senior High School, said he sang to himself as he ran the first 20 miles of the course before jogging the rest of the way on a 40-degree day with a cold, stiff wind blowing, mainly, into the walkers' faces.

Tunes from "The Phantom of the Opera" kept the 16-year-old going in his fourth 40-mile hike with the scout troop, which operates out of the Church of the Redeemer at North Charles Street and Melrose Avenue.

"I sing to keep from going crazy," said Ryan, who was expected to finish first for the first time.

If so, he would be rewarded with Troop 35's "Iridium Boot," a small emblem of a hiking boot made from the hard, exceptionally corrosion-resistant metal.

Behind Ryan, scattered some five, 10 and 15 miles down the road, those about to surrender to the challenge could be seen sitting on guardrails, hanging onto friends or getting into passing cars driven by parents.

"It's numbing," said 16-year-old Lauren Crabtree, of Rodgers Forge, her hands swollen from the effort, not an uncommon occurrence for long-distance walkers.

At 7 a.m., about 70 scouts accompanied by friends and relatives began the hike at Reisterstown Bible Church on Route 140.

The last of those going all 40 miles weren't expected to make it to the finish line until after 8 p.m.

In the years since the hike was founded by former troop leader CarlA. Zapffe -- who suggested his scouts march to Broad Creek to show John Kennedy that some of the nation's youth were fit -- destinations have been Annapolis; Washington; York, Pa.; Hanover, Pa.; Gettysburg, Pa.; and Lancaster, Pa.

Past hikes have included Zoe Calvert, a 13th-generation descendant of the first Lord Baltimore and the daughter of Troop 35's current scoutmaster, Dave Calvert.

Eric M. James, a trucker from Overlea and an Eagle Scout alumnus of Troop 35, came in first in 1973 and 1974. Yesterday he was hiking with his son, Antonio.

RF "I'd say these kids are as equally fit as my generation," said Mr.

James, who one year carried a fellow scout over the finish line on his shoulders.

Young Antonio said he was going to try to go all the way, but it wasn't as important as walking along a road with his old man on a chilly Saturday afternoon.

"My feet hurt a little bit," said Antonio.

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