A bright, full moon woke me up about every 40 minutes. Finally, though, after much restlessness I was as able to get some sound sleep.
For an hour.
True to his word, Andy woke me up at 3 a.m. for the night hike the boys wanted to do. We were packed up and on the trail by 4 a.m.
The trail wasn't difficult and the air was comfortably cool. We cruised along until we came to Gooch Gap.
It was then that we noticed one of the boys was slumped down over his trekking pole. This had been his regular hiking pattern for the trip. For the entire trip he has lagged behind the others, stopping frequently and usually complaining about one ailment or another.
This time, though, his ailment was a little different. And he was whimpering.
I asked what was wrong, but he would only say his stomach hurt.
When a boy complains about his stomach hurting we are normally concerned and try to find out the cause. Andy and Dave assured me to not worry about this ailment from this boy. They had seen it from him before.
It seems that last year during summer camp the boy came down with one ailment after another. After a couple days of this the leaders decided they needed to take him to a nearby hospital to be checked out.
The doctor could not find anything wrong with the boy. By the time they had returned to camp, several of the other younger scouts had come down with a variety of other phantom maladies.
The only symptom that could be accurately diagnosed was homesickness.
It wasn't until Dave and Andy mentioned this that I realized he never exhibited any of these symptoms while in camp. They only happened on the trail.
Armed with this knowledge we made sure the "sick" boy had gotten enough to eat and water to drink, and then told him he had no choice but to hike. We pushed on to Woody Gap, with pauses several times along the way to again encourage him to hike on.
Despite the pre-sunrise darkness we had no trouble walking on the trail. Occasionally from the distance from our elevation we could view lights of the town of Dahlonega.