Here is a question for you… How do you fix lazy?
I do not intend this to be a rant, rather a real look into why are people.. in particular.. some of our Scouts so lazy. Yes.. I said Lazy, and if the shoe fits they need to wear it.
Well, Scoutmaster Jerry… you can’t call a boy out like that.. you may hurt their feelings… Really? If you don’t want your feelings hurt, stop being lazy. It’s really that simple.
Here is the situation.
We do a very good job of teaching skills. As is the case in Scout Troops all over our Country, Scout leaders have vested interest in making sure that our Scouts are trained in skills, both life skills and those skills that can be applied in the great out doors. In the case of my Troop, we have assembled a group of adult leaders that are the best. That is a pretty lofty claim, but true. We have multiple BSA certified Climbing instructors. Multiple Wilderness First Aid trained and First Responders. Medical professionals, skilled outdoors men. Trained and certified trainers for extreme cold weather activities, etc. Avid backpackers with years of experience and mastered skill levels. Leave No trace experts etc. We have made it a point to be over trained so the Scouts of our Troop will have the benefit of training that is current, relevant, expert, and will ensure that the Scout will gain the most of his Scouting experience.
Now, before I go on.. YES, we are YOUTH LED… BUT…
As you all know there are times that Adults with know how need to step in and not lead, but train. The Scout leadership is still leading and teaching basic skills, but when it comes to high risk activities it is important that Adult instruction from those that are qualified, skilled, and trained need to do the teaching.
So, we have assembled this great group of skilled folks that know what they need to know and are willing to teach and provide mentoring as the Scouts develop their skills.
I suppose it is worth mentioning that a Scout joins our Troop knowing what he is getting into. It is also fair to point our that we do not push participation. A Scout will get out of Scouting exactly what he puts into it. If a young man makes the choice to not participate, well then he will get that experience out of Scouting. On the other hand, if he makes the choice to fully immerse himself in the experience, he will have an outstanding experience while a Scout and more likely than not carry that with him the rest of his life.
We are what we are we are not going to change that based on Lazy. We have made it a point to never cancel based on outside of Scouting choices. We encourage our Scouts to be active outside of Scouts also and we know that there are certain outings that lend themselves to less participation, but we will not cancel those based on the interest level of some of the Scouts taking away that opportunity for others. We would rather go with 5 that are totally into it than 40 that are not.
On one hand we preach that this is the Scouts Troop, and yes that is the case. They are the Scouts that made the choice years ago that they wanted to be a high adventure unit. And that is what we became. That is why boys join our Troop. Then some realize that we expect more from them individually than perhaps their School teacher do or their parents. We expect them to become self-reliant. We expect them to pay attention and learn. We expect them to develop skills and become proficient in those skills and at some point teach those skills. We expect them to push themselves beyond their comfort zone. We do not think that this is too much to ask, and when parents bring their son to us, it seems that it is not too much for them either. Parents by and large seem to like the idea that we expect much from their sons.
We see it over and over again though that some, not all, of our Scouts are just plain lazy. It would seem that they would rather freeze to death and starve before they took a tiny bit of initiative to do the right thing. They are trained, but have difficulty applying that training because they are too busy trying to take a short cut or allow someone else to do it for them.
They would rather be told 100 times to do something than just do it. They would rather be cold and miserable than to apply the training that they have learned from some of the best folks around. Simple things like keeping your gloves out of the snow or staying dry. This is just plain lazy.
They would rather have Mom and Dad replace gear than take care of it. They would rather crawl into their sleeping bag than learn new skills and develop their own level of expertise in those skills. They would rather… well, I think you are getting the point.
I do not understand this way of thinking. I do not understand Lazy. Now before I get one comment that tells me that kids today are different from they were 20 years ago… JUST STOP. They are no different. The difference is not in the kid, it is in how they are raised in the world around them. They have been wrapped in layer of bubble wrap and not allowed to explore. They have been force-fed pills to calm them down, they have been sheltered because of the boggy man and Al Qaeda. They are sat in front of a TV as a baby sitter and the world around them tells them that they don’t have to work for a living. Don’t worry.. the Government will take care of you and the more ailments you can rack up the more Uncle Sam will take care of you. You don’t have to get a good paying job, you can apply for hand outs.. so don’t work and you will be fine. I don’t understand this thinking. And it is happening. Citizenship used to mean making a contribution, now it means waiting for one.
Are their legitimate ailments out there?.. sure there are.. but c’mon.. When you are a 13-year-old boy, you need to get out and at it.
Lazy is a habit. It is formed early and reinforced often. Here is the thing. I don’t know how to fix it. Well I do, but in the process I will lose Scouts and upset parents. This is the issue I am dealing with. How do I fix lazy and maintain Scouts and get them on board? How do I do this and keep Mom and Dad happy?
I will be working on answers to this question.. I am curious as to what you have to say.
Please leave your answer to How to fix lazy in the comments section. I want to know what you do.. or do you just allow it. Either way.. share.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Here is a question for you… How do you fix lazy?
Well, It snowed here in Oregon today. The first real snow fall of the “Winter”. And as much as we have already prepared for our winter camping experiences, the snow reminded me of the risk we accept when winter camping and more to the point the risk that we mitigate or manage through proper training and preparation. First Aid is perhaps the most training we do to prepare for winter outings and we make sure that everyone going on the outing is versed in being prepared for cold weather injuries.
The scariest thing that I can think of in training first aid is Frost Bite and Hypothermia. They can strike fast and have tremendous damaging effects if not prevented and once affected, treated.
As the snow fell today, I thought it would be good to refresh ourselves on those two cold weather injuries.
Frostbite mostly affects areas where the circulation is poor. Since cold weather will cause the body to take preventive measures by constricting (making smaller) the blood vessel, this opens the door to frostbite injuries.
Look for the 4 Ps of frostbite:
Pink – affected areas will be reddish in color. This is the first sign of frostbite.
Pain – affected areas will become painful.
Patches – white, waxy feeling patches show up – skin is dying.
Pricklies – the areas will then feel numb.
Tips to prevent frostbite:
Get to a warm area before frostbite sets in. If it’s too cold outside, consider staying indoors.
Protect areas of poor circulation (ears, nose, fingers and toes).
Keep extra mittens and gloves in an area quickly accessible.
Wear larger sized mittens over your gloves.
Wear a scarf or gaiter to protect the chin, lips and cheeks. They are all extremely susceptible to frostbite.
Wear two pairs of socks – wool if possible
Keep feet warm and dry
Remove any wet clothing.
What to do in case of frostbite:
Do not rub or massage affected areas. It may cause more damage.
NOT HOT – warm up the area slowly. Use warm compresses or your own body heat to re-warm the area. Underarms are a good place.
If toes or feet are frostbitten, try not to walk on them.
Seek immediate medical attention if you see white or grey colored patches or if the re-warmed area is numb.
Always be on the lookout for the symptoms of frostbite. In case of serious cold weather injury, seek immediate medical attention.
Whenever the body’s normal temperature becomes too low, hypothermia (hypo = low and thermia = temperature) occurs and will starve the brain of much-needed oxygen. We experience hypothermia conditions when we engage in strenuous activity like hiking into camp, getting sweaty and then standing idle allowing the body to cool to fast. During cold weather months, finding warmth can be the key to survival, but hypothermia can occur even during the hot days of July. Swimming in cold water for a long period of time can induce hypothermia even in the hottest months of the year. Remember, hypothermia can quickly become life-threatening.
Signs of Hypothermia
Look for the “UMBLES” from people affected by cold temperatures:
A person who mumbles;
A person who stumbles; and
A person who fumbles objects.
Tips to prevent Hypothermia
Wear clothes in layers: The under layer should be the insulating layer to prevent loss of your body heat while keeping the cold outside air away; the outer layer should be the “wind breaking” layer to reduce the chances of cold air reaching the insulating layer.
Drink warm fluids.
If you start to sweat, cool off a little. Wet clothes will accelerate other cold weather injuries.
Wear a hat – up to 40% of body heat loss can occur through the head.
Wear gloves or mittens or both!
Wear a scarf or gaiter to protect the chin, lips and cheeks – all are extremely susceptible to cold weather injuries.
What to do in case of Hypothermia
Remove wet clothing that promotes hypothermia.
Get to a warm place as soon as possible. Use several layers of blankets or sleeping bags, heated if possible. Place the injured person in the Hypothermia Wrap.
If the person is alert, give warm beverages.
Seek immediate medical attention.
Always be on the lookout for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. In case of serious cold weather injury, seek immediate medical attention. Here is a quick video from Wilderness Medical Associates (WMA) that illustrates the Hypothermia Wrap.
BE PREPARED! We use the buddy system to watch out for each other! These two injuries are serious and can hurt you in the long-term. Camping in the winter can be the funnest time of your Scouting life! But you have got to be prepared!
Hope that helps you in your preparation for your next winter outing. I am glad that our guys pay attention, in 10 years of winter camping we have never had a cold weather injury.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
It is often said that “Every Scout deserves a Trained Leader”… well.. sure.. Every Scout certainly deserves a trained leader, but do you really think that the Scout cares?
The saying should say, “Every Parent deserves a Trained Leader”. Right? After all, the training is more for the parents right?
The Scout does not care that you know the rules of the safety sandwich. The Scout does not care that you have been to wilderness first aid. The Scout does not care that you are climb instructor certified or that you have completed Youth Protection.
Ahhh… But the parents do.
They come to a unit and want to know that as they drop off Tommy Tenderfoot on Friday night that the guy driving the car is insured, trained, and will bring back their son in the same condition that he climbed into the Suburban heading to the camp out in.
Parents care a lot about the training that the Scout leader has. I for one would not send my sons out with a Scout leader that was not trained. I would not let my son go out into the woods with a guy that got his training by watching Survivor man on TV once.
Nope. The parents deserve a trained leader. I would go further to insist that every leader that goes near a Scout is trained, and if I were King for the day.. any leader that did not get trained or refused to spend the time, energy and money to get trained would not be allowed to be a Scout leader.
Boy Jerry.. that’s harsh… Really? Like I said, I would not let my kid go off for the weekend with a guy I don’t trust.
Training builds that trust. At least it opens the door to trusting the leader.
I have talked a lot on this blog about leadership. It goes not just for our youth leaders, but the adults too.
Think back to the 4 “C”s I discussed.
Don’t you want your adult leaders to be Competent and have Courage? Compassionate and Candor?
Those are all things that come with training.
Our Troop goes climbing every year. We have 8 climbing instructors in the unit. Why? Because it is the right thing to do.
We have multiple Wilderness First Aid certified leaders and First responders. Why? Because we go looking for adventure and we are not near a parking lot. It’s the right thing to do.
We go winter camping at least 3 times a year. We have cold weather instructors and skilled leaders that know winter camping skills and stay up on gear and techniques. Why? Because we will never put a Scout in harm’s way.
The point here is that when a Scout crosses over into our Troop the parent knows that we care and are willing to do our very best for their son. They can rest assured that we are trained and will take care of their boy.
Every one of the Assistant Scoutmasters, the Committee Chair, and me are all Wood Badgers. Why is that important? We all believe in life long learning and are committed to being better. Wood Badge demonstrates to our Scouts and their parents that we are serious about training and taking care of their sons and more importantly, that we want to do Scouting right.
So every parent does deserve a trained leader. Get trained or get out. It’s that simple if I were King for the day.
On a side note. I have been doing this Scouting thing for some time now and have served at the District level also. Being the District Program Chairman and later the District Chairman, I had access to lots of reports that really don’t mean much. The one thing that did mean something to me was the amount of units that struggle in multiple areas. Membership, activities, etc.
The common thing that we saw in EVERY unit that struggles are UNTRAINED Adults. You do the math.
Get trained for your Scouts.. and your Parents.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Mental toughness is a great leadership trait. It allows the leader to think clear and make good decisions. I recently ran into an article in Backpacker magazine that reinforced some of the leadership training that I learned early on in the Army and it applies real well in Scouting and out-door adventures.
Mental toughness is a skill that needs to be developed and practiced as a result the leader will be able to be a more effective leader.
First the leader needs to Set better Goals. Again, we turn to the SMART Goal method and make sure that our Goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. With those goals in mind as we prepare to lead a task or move a group from A to B we need to think about those contingency plans and risk management that go along with our goal. Clear goal setting is the map that leaders use to guide those they lead.
Second the leader must Monitor his self talk. Are your thoughts Purposeful, Productive, and giving yourself a chance for success. Remember that we talked about seeing success this week. Self talk needs to remain positive. It has been found that when the leader doubts himself or has a negative internal talk he will see those thoughts through. On the other hand a confident leader with a positive internal monologue will set his mind in motion for positive outcomes.
Third the leader needs to Control the Controllables. That is to say that you must wrap your arms around that which you can control and not worry about that which you can not. You will never be able to control the weather for example. You can plan for it, prepare for it, but you can not control it. You can control the skills and shape the conditions for your desired outcome. Stay focused on the things that you have control over. The number one thing that you control is your attitude and your ability. Having a positive attitude and the right skills are leadership traits that will give you more control over those that you lead. Do not misunderstand the use of control here. We are discussing the idea of control of situations, skills, and attitude. Not dictatorship style controlling of people.
And finally, the fourth thing to build mental toughness is Combat Catastrophic Thinking. This goes along with the self talk, but takes it a step further. Keep your mind from falling into the pit of worse case scenario thinking. Worrying about what can happen does not matter. Keeping it from happening using sound judgement and thinking about the risk and managing that risk is far more important than worrying about the worst cases.
I have seen leaders that get caught up in this trap and once they start with the “We will never make it” scenarios they adopt the idea that it is true. This attitude is contagious and will spread. This is critical when backpacking. The blame game starts to surface and one bad decision will lead to another.
Mental toughness is that attitude that “I am a leader and I will be successful”. It comes with confidence, practice, and when the leader realizes that the power of the mind is often greater than the power of the body.
The Scout Oath says to be mentally awake. Develop the mind to be mentally tough. We saw this at Philmont over and over again either in our crew or in other crews at the many camps we passed through. A Scout would give up on himself. He could go no further.. according to his mind. He could make it, but he was mentally weak. A 14 mile day on the trail is just 14 miles. You can do it when you set your mind to it. You can be the leader that inspires others to make it when you set your mind and attitude in the right direction. You can be the best cheerleader by putting one foot in front of the other and a smile on your face. No need to yell or cheer. Just encourage by your actions and mental toughness.
I once hiked with one of our newer Scouts. We had gone four and half miles and had four more to go to get into camp. He stopped on the trail and threw his pack to ground proclaiming that he would walk not one more step. I told him that it was fine with me and took my pack off and joined him on the ground. He was mentally finished. Video games had got the best of him and he did not want to finish.
I talked with him about our options. We could walk back to the cars almost five miles away, or we could push to camp four miles away, but either way we would have to hike out of there. The benefits of getting to camp were greater than going back to the car. Food, relaxing, and hanging out with his buddies versus going home without success, better known as being a failure. He looked around and saw that he was the only one not willing to move forward and the decision became easier for him to make. We got into camp and never had another issue with him.
To many people these days fear mental toughness. They think it is a trait of a bully or tough guy. It is a trait of leadership and one of being a man. We want to develop both leadership and manliness in our Scouts.
Something to think about in working with your leaders.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Gloves play a major role in your warmth system when cold weather camping. Your gloves and your boots are key to keeping you warm. Think about it. Your hands and your feet are the farthest body parts from the core and when they get cold you are cold all over. They are also the most at risk for cold weather injury.
When shopping for gloves, don’t skimp. Gloves are not where you want to cut cost, spend a bit extra and get good gloves that will last and you will have a much better cold weather camping experience.
I use a layering system with my gloves. This gives me options in the cold without exposure. I start with a “Base layer” glove. The Mountain Hardwear Stimulu. It retails for $40. When not wearing them I wear a Fingerless mitten called the Mountain Hardwear Bandito. They retail for $45. My outer layer is a combination mitten. The Outdoor research Meteor. They retail for $70.
I added the retail prices here so you can see the value that I place on good gloves. I could spend more, but I have been using this system for some time and know that it works to keep me warm in extreme cold temperatures. Using the gloves in a layering system gives me a lot of options and works well to regulate my comfort.
What questions do you have?
What gloves system do you use?
Have a Great Scouting Day!
This weeks Sunday Coffee with Scoutmaster Jerry is full of coffee and adventure..
This weekend our Troop camped out up at White River on Mt. Hood. It was a great time and lots of skills practiced and learned.
Sunday Morning around 4:00 AM our Troop encountered an unexpected attack. We typically camp on the other side of a creek that flows adjacent to the White River snow park. This is a good location as this camp out is always the first Winter camp out in snow for the new Scouts. The location provides a good bail out plan and the comfort that the cars are not to far if we need them. Anyway… this year the snow bridge was gone so we picked a camp site a bit closer to the parking lot. We have camped there before, but this year was different. At 4:00 AM the Oregon Department of Transportation snow crew cleaned up the snow park. They plowed the parking lot and then sent in the snow blower Now I don’t know about you but I had never felt the wrath of 100 lbs of snow shot from a cannon before.. until this morning!
Hope you enjoy the video.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
There has been much said, yeah.. even here on this blog, about how Scouting has changed to meet the needs of the lowest common denominator. A greater emphasis on merit badge work shops and staying within an arms reach of a cell phone. Sometimes I wonder if we in Scouting are still delivering the promise.. you know the promise of Scouting.
I find it interesting that when we look back in the not to distant past that Scouting was much different. Even as far back as when I was a Scout there were not the concerns of life as we know it in today’s Scouting world.
Now I am a believer that we do need to bring Scouting to where the boys are.. but sometimes we should take the boys back to where we came from.
Baden Powell once said “By the term Scouting…is meant the work and attributes of backwoodsmen, explorers, hunters, seamen, airmen, pioneers, and frontiersmen.”
The 1947 Handbook for Scoutmasters goes on to add, “The word ‘Scout’ opens up to the boy the picture of open spaces, woods, rivers, and lakes, mountains which are to be his playground and where he will have his fun.” It goes on to say, “It is this promise of adventure, of camping and life in the outdoors that lures the boy into Scouting. We MUST keep faith with him by giving him that adventure – not just to satisfy him, but because it is the best way we have of holding him.”
There is more written in the Handbook for Scoutmasters that reinforces this idea of adventure and the promise of Scouting, I wonder when we stopped talking about that. There is no mention of it in the current Scoutmaster Handbook.
We have allowed lawyers to dictate that adventure. We have allowed video games and laziness to dictate our levels of activity and we worry about Scouts leaving the program because we need the numbers.
I believe that every boy should be in Scouting… but not for merit badges or bobbles and beads. I think they should be seeking adventure! Like we did when I was a boy. Adventure! Parents need to allow this to happen.. that’s where it starts.
You know, there were just as many creeps in the world in the 70′s and 80′s as there are today. The world really is not more creepy.. the difference… we have 24 hour news now and this wonderful thing called the internet.
We rode our bikes to and from Scout troop meetings. Heck, we rode our bikes everywhere. We were told not to talk to strangers and never to take candy from them.. and you know, we came out alright. Every day in the summer we left in the morning and came home in time for dinner. Looking for adventure.
In Scouts we found adventure. We camped with our Patrols, we did not need… nor did we want, all the adults hanging around. The fewer of them the better. Our parents were concerned about us, but knew that we would be ok. We trusted our Scoutmaster and the skills we were taught and we looked for adventure at every turn.
Not every Patrol got a ribbon at Camporee.. but then again, they were not all about competing either.. they were about skills and discovering new things.
Our PLC had a blank check to plan the next big adventure. I remember when I was a Tenderfoot Scout we had the biggest adventure ever. Our Troop was dropped off in Belgium to take a ferry across the English channel. Once we arrived in England we took a bus to the Baden Powell house and stayed there for a few days. We explored the local area and got to camp at Gilwell Park. 2 weeks from when we left home, we boarded the ferry and back we went. We only had 2 adults with us the whole trip and it was an adventure of a life time.
The old Handbook for Scoutmasters suggests that we can retain Scouts because “it [adventure] is the best way we have of holding him.” The best way! I firmly believe that if we just allowed it, we can get back there. I don’t think that boys have changed much… it is the parents that did the changing. You know.. I can’t remember one kid when I was growing up that had peanut allergies.. now you can’t even say the word peanut without some Mom yelling that her son is allergic. I think it’s time we give our boys their adventure back. I think it’s time that we go back to actually delivering the promise and not just Eagle Awards. I think it is time that all of us Scouters ask the simple question.. are we still delivering the promise?
Just my buck and half.. curious to hear you thoughts. Weigh in.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
I have been getting a lot of feedback about the quest to reduce pack weight. Some of it is good, while others, mainly from other Scouters is not. To be honest, up until our Philmont trek, I was in that camp. I doubted the fact that a backpacker could be as safe and as comfortable going light.
A few years back the PCT Trail days gathering was held in Portland. A group of us went to the event to catch some speakers and of course check out gear. While we were there, we met the folks from Gossamer gear. I sat in the room and listened as Glen Van Peski talked about how he backpacked and his philosophy. He showed us his gear and I thought to myself.. no freakin’ way. I am not going to sacrifice comfort and safety to have a light pack. After all.. this backpacking thing is for fun right. I don’t want to be in pain and struggle to get miles in. I want to sleep and eat well and have a good time out on the trail. Then we went to Philmont. I fell in love with the Sange De Christo mountains and had the time of my life on the trail. What I hated was my pack. I left base camp with a 55 lb pack. Never again I promised myself. When we got home I started taking a real long hard look at why my pack weighed so much. I started to research gear and how to pack better. Now, I have been a backpacker for years. And looking back over the those many years, I realized that I have morphed and changed gear many times, but never really getting away from heavy loads and lots of gear. About 20 years ago I did a week-long trip up in the Wallowa’s in Eastern Oregon. We started climbing from the trail head one morning and our packs looked like something a mule should be carrying. I think my pack was about 70 lbs on that trip. No resupply, no drops, and everything to include the kitchen sink in my pack.
Well, as you can imagine something had to change in my backpacking style. The trip to Philmont taught me that I am getting older and still love to backpack.. so do something about it.
My research kept leading me to Lightweight backpacking sites and Ultra light backpacking web pages. I quickly closed them thinking that I really don’t want to go down the “UL” road. That’s not for me.. and it really isn’t. Light weight on the other hand is right up my ally.
And so I started on this journey to lighten up. The more I read and played with my gear, the more I listened to backpackers talk and write about Light weight Philosophy. Philosophy? What the heck.. this is just walking in the woods right? And that is where I started to get it. It is a Philosophy and when practiced… it will keep you safe and comfortable. Let me share with you some of the common themes in the Lightweight backpacking philosophy. Note that I am NOT talking about Ultralight and I suppose that right off the bat, I should point out the biggest difference in the two.. and that is the weight we are talking about.
When we define Ultralight backpacking we are talking about Base Pack Weights of 10 lbs or less. Typically Lightweight backpacking can be defined as Base Pack Weights of 11 to 20 lbs. So with food and water you are talking about 25 lbs in the lightweight set up. There are Super Ultralight backpackers out there that try to achieve 5 lbs or less. That is not even on the radar for me. Can’t see the need nor the desire to go that light.
So the Lightweight backpacking philosophy essentially is this;
The backpacker needs to really take a hard look at packing habits in order to fine-tune minimum packing needs and aggressively seek out the right gear available to satisfy those needs. That gear needs to be lighter, have multiple uses, and of good quality. To accomplish this hard look and refining of or fine tuning of gear look at the gear, clothing, and food that you take, shoot for lighter options and doing with less. A key is that simple is better. Gadgets, while fun, add weight and typically are not needed or even used.
Less volume, lighter-weight, high-quality/high-performance gear and clothing is a goal to strive for and will instantly reduce weight in your pack.
Pack clothing and gear that can serve multiple purposes.
Educate yourself on backcountry travel and safety, being well prepared for changing weather, wildlife encounters and whatever else may happen. Get trained in Wilderness First aid and Leave No Trace. In short, learn and Be Prepared. Know how to use the gear in your pack and know what to do when out in the woods.
Use lightweight techniques to keep travel through the backcountry low-impact on both yourself and your environment.
Use products that provide the level of comfort you desire, even if they aren’t the absolute lightest available.
(this philosophy is common among lightweight backpackers, I found most of this from the website Lightweight backpacking 101)
For Scouts and Scouters, this philosophy is not out of the ordinary and should be easy to adapt. It basically reinforces the ideas of Being Prepared.. through education and practice and Leave no trace. It does not discount safety at all. When the backpacker knows and understands the risks, the skills, and his ability, they can have a wonderful back country experience with a simple load on their back.
Cost of gear and changing out old gear is a consideration. I am not suggesting that you rush out and swap all of your gear. Take a look at what you have. Start with the big 3. Your shelter, your sleeping bag, and your backpack. That is where the bulk of the weight comes from. Trim it down a little at a time. Consider alternative gear and see about making your own gear. The rest will fall into place.
My first bit of advice if you want to jump on this journey of comfortable backpacking is to weigh everything. This was very hard for me to get on board with. Being a gram weenie was for those UL guys that wear one pair of socks for a 14 day trip and count the bristles on their tooth-brush. But, once I started getting that critical eye on the gear, most of which came when I started weighing it all, it was an eye opener.. and the journey launched.
Now, I’ve been sharing with you all my steps on the journey. I have replaced little things, and I did get a new pack. I thought that was an important part of this process for me. That may not be the case for you.
I suppose the point of all of this is simply.. Think.
Develop or use a philosophy that best meets your backpacking needs and style. Hike your own hike and have fun with the adventure. I share this with you because this is my way of helping me get lighter. Putting it all into words is helping me refine my load and reach my goals.
I never thought, I would have to get so mentally heavy to get my pack light!
Have a Great Scouting Day!
The picture for this post is of me standing on top of the Tooth of Time at Phimont Scout Ranch.
In Oregon, when you approach a trail head that is a well used and highly frequented trail, there are signs that alert you of types of plants and animals in the area. The signs remind you that you need to be prepared for the hike you are about to take. Typically there is a map of the trail with significant landmarks and vistas pointed out. These signs remind you to have the appropriate gear for the hike and in some cases ask that you register at the Kiosk. In every case they let you know where you are and gives you information that assist you in having a great hike and not a terrible experience. Oregon wants people to get out and enjoy this wonderful land we have, but it wants you to do it responsibly.
Yesterday a couple of ladies went for a winter stroll out in the Columbia Gorge and got lost or at least disoriented enough that they had to be “rescued”. The Gorge is a wonderful place to hike, but like most places, the Gorge takes on new or at least different challenges in the winter. Just getting there sometimes can be an adventure. So if you are going to hike in the Gorge (or anywhere) in the winter.. You had better BE PREPARED. These gals wandered off picking up the trail and heading up to Nesmith Point. The hike into Nesmith Point is challenging enough in the summer, but that is the hike they chose. Now, it is fair to say that according to the News wire press release, “Both hikers have Intermediate experience climbing school training and Mountaineering First Aid and were prepared for the elements.”
The release goes on in the next update to state “The hiker’s actions and being prepared for the elements greatly assisted in their smooth and safe rescue from Nesmith Point.” So all is well that ends well. But the initial report stated that “the husband of one of the hikers reported he received a call from his wife who told him they were at the top of Nesmith Point and had lost the trail at some point while they were hiking. Their footprints were covered with snow and they could not track their way back down or see the trail.”
I suppose the moral of the story is that it can and will happen to anyone. So BE PREPARED. I am making an assumption here that neither had a map or compass.. the reason I say that is because I have hiked that area and having a map and compass could have easily put them in the right direction and regardless of snow and not finding the trail, they could have made their way back. But I don’t want to beat up on them, I just want people to listen… I want our Scouts to listen and use these cases as an example of why we want them to be prepared. It is fortunate that these two ladies were somewhat prepared and had the right attitude to make it out (with the help of SAR).
Baden Powell tells us to Be Prepared for any old thing. When the signs remind and warn, take heed. When the skills, attitudes, and gear is right, then proceed. But always be prepared.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
A few weeks ago I showed my First Aid Kit while drinking coffee from the hammock. I have since received multiple emails asking for a break down of what is in my First Aid kit. Well.. here you go.
Feel free to ask questions or leave a comment here on the blog.
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FYI… for those of you counting the ounces… The First Aid kit weighs 8.7 oz.
Have a Great Scouting Day!