CRUSO, North Carolina (CNN) -- Good training and preparation kept a group of Boy Scouts safe after they became lost
while hiking in the North Carolina mountains, a troop leader and a relative said Monday.
"Our Scouts did get a
little off course," says Scouting official Rodney Jones.
Eight Scouts, ages 11 to 14, and their three adult leaders
emerged unharmed from the dense forest Monday morning after an intense overnight search by 28 rescuers and nine dogs.
scouts had failed to return home from a camping trip Sunday in the Pisgah National Forest southwest of Asheville.
had gotten off trail, which is not uncommon in that part of the woods," said Kathryn Logan, sister of one of the Scout leaders
and aunt of one of the Scouts. "... They had been backpacking all weekend, so they were prepared, so they're OK and everybody's
The Scouts and their leaders "did just what they were supposed to do, they hunkered down," said Rodney Jones,
assistant scoutmaster of Troop 217, from Raleigh, North Carolina.
Jones, whose son was among the missing campers, referred
to the Scout motto and said the group "behaved as Scouts, and were prepared."
The Scouts awoke at 7:30 a.m. Monday
and started packing up, Jones said. One of the leaders spotted a power line, which the group followed to a cabin. There they
encountered a meter reader for the local power utility, who took them to the Cruso Fire Department, the search effort's headquarters,
said fire department spokeswoman Charity Sharp.
The campers were never in any danger, but they couldn't let anyone
know, Logan said.
"There's no reception for cell phones in that part of the woods," she said. "A lot of the leaders
had cell phones, but I'd just been out there also in a different part of the same forest, and we didn't have cell phone reception
either. It's kind of hard to get to a point where you have cell phone reception."
Jones said two in
the party had recently earned merit badges in wilderness survival.
The Scouts "probably learned more in the last two
days than they would have learned in school," he quipped.