I recently listened to a podcast about a guy that thru hiked the Continental Divide Trail as a Yo Yo.. that is when you complete the hike, then turn around and do it again, returning to where you began, in one trip. All in all that on the CDT, that would be about 6000 miles.
He did the trek alone and took about a year to hike it from start to finish.
I was amazed as I listened in on the show and heard him describe the preparation, the training, and the gear he used, or didn’t use.
He talked about the wonderful vistas and the wildlife he saw as he navigated down the center of our country. From the Canadian border to Mexico. The varied terrain and encounters with the flora and fauna of our great continent.
In the end he spoke of lessons learned. Things that he would do over again, things he would not. Gear he would take, and gear he would leave at home. He talked of the experience. But the most striking thing he talked about was the solitude. How he loved it at first, but after months on the trail he began to realize that he was lonely. He reflected on the fact that it really started to get to him, but he pushed on. At the completion of this monumental expedition, the most valuable lesson he learned was about friendships.
He values his friends more now than ever before, and says that in the future he won’t hike alone.
He used the hike as a metaphor to illustrate that in our lives we need people. We need friends.
So how does this relate to Scouting? Well in 1907 Baden Powell new that we needed friends and he created the Patrol method. He realized that we have more fun when we do it together. When we play the game of Scouting we challenge one another, we share in the joys of success and we work through the rough times as a Patrol.
I still remember the guys from the Flaming Arrow, Troop 100. My first Patrol! The fun times that we shared, I will cherish for my life time.
Now that I am an adult.. well kinda… I know that I need friends… People to share my life with. I enjoy the solitude of the trail, but its better to hike with a Partner. My wife, my kids, and my friends, as few as they are, they are great friends and I could not get through life without them.
A Scout is Friendly. Remember that. Hold on to your friends and value them. You need them.
Have a Great Scouting Day!