The Fifty-Miler

No Good Scoutmaster Goes Unpunished

Story and Photos by Harvey Hughett

If you know anything about Boy Scouts, you’ve probably heard of the infamous “fifty-miler” award for which each participant receives a colorful commemorative patch. These verify that one has hiked or floated at least fifty miles on a single trip.

Our troop had completed rafting the Main Salmon River (one hundred-plus miles) and hiking into the Selway Crags (fifty-plus miles). These are always memorable events and, as scoutmaster, I’ve only had to seek medical treatment a few times as a result of various fifty-milers. Of course, fifty-milers often take place in remote areas and medical treatment is not always available. If lucky, the scoutmaster is able to coerce a doctor or medic into taking the trips. Once a psychologist accompanied us. He came in handy, although he vowed never to go with us again.

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