Abraham Lincoln is a man often quoted, but not always in the context of Scouting. I stumbled on a great quote that speaks directly to Scouts and Scouters.
“If you give me 6 hours to cut down a tree, I will take 4 hours sharpening my ax.”
Whats he saying here.. basically.. Be Prepared. He is telling us that preparation is the key to success. When we prepare for a task we can accomplish it with success. Putting the time in to plan, train, and practice will make you better at the skill.
We are getting into the winter camping months. The more we prepare, the more fun we will have. The more we train, the safer we will be. And the more we practice our skills the better experience we will have in our adventures.
We should always be looking at ways to keep our ax sharp. We should always be thinking about that next tree and sharpen the ax to make the work easier and more effective.
I am always looking at ways to make my camping experiences better. Toying with my gear, testing new stuff, learning and refining techniques to make my adventures fun and safe.
Are you sharpening your ax?
I was looking through an old external hard drive today and found this video. Shot about 3 years ago when I was a “Tent Camper”. Thought I would share it here. It is a good example of Sunday routine. Remember that we model expected behavior. No yard sale here.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: Backpacking, blog, camp skills, Camping, High Adventure, Ideals, Just fun, Leadership, Leave no trace, Methods, Motto, planning, Scout, Scouting, Skills, Winter Camping
Tags: be prepared, camping, Motto, Youtube
This Memorial Day a rather large group of us made an attempt at climbing Mt. Saint Helens. You know that mountain here in the northwest that one morning in 1980 blew it’s top.
I stare at that mountain every day. It sits about an hour and a half directly to the north of my house and beckons us to climb to its top and take a peak into the crater left by the eruption.
On 100 climbers a day are allowed on the mountain, so we got permits and started planning. The good part of this story and the reason we had a happy ending is because three of my assistant Scoutmaster were part of the group, not to mention 4 Scouts who just happen to be the sons, and a daughter (Venturing Scout) . And our wives went along, they are avid hikers and were up for the challenge.
I say happy ending, because what a lot of people fail to plan for is weather. I talked with a climber at the camp site the morning of the climb. He did not seem to think that “a little rain” would spoil the climb. And he was right, a little rain would certainly not spoil the climb, but what he failed to recognize is that a little rain at camp was a lot of rain once you got to altitudes above the tree line.. or snow and wind.
We started our assent at 6:00 AM. The hike through the lower section while still in the trees was a gradual climb and really nice trail. The park service does a nice job of marking the trail and grooming, well I suppose with a 100 folks on it a day.. the trail is clearly visible. Once we got out of the trees it is still clear which way to go and as I followed along with my map it was easy to track where we were. Clearing the wood line you enter a lava flow and some rugged terrain. Not that challenging, but the driving rain made for slippery rock and mud. Mother Nature was having her way with us and most of the party was starting to feel the effects of condensation in their rain gear and it was already time to change out of the first pair of wet socks.
We climbed rather quickly and began slugging our way up through the snow. This is where the climb starts becoming difficult. The wet and the step climb really started to take its toll on some of our group.
We started passing groups that were on their way down. They reported 0 visibility and super high winds above the 5000 foot mark. We continued to climb.
When we reached 4800 it was time to make a decision. We could see that the clouds were dropping and the winds were picking up.
A quick assessment of our group told us that Mother nature would win today and the mountain would have to be conquered some other time.
We turned and made a quick decent to the wood line. Took stock of the group, had a snack, and headed back to camp. After 5 hours of climbing we were finished.
We were more prepared than most of the folks we saw on the slope. We had backpacks with extra clothing, especially socks. We were carrying 4 liters of water per person. We had the right gear and did the necessary planning. I know that we were ready. For the Scouts that made the climb it was valuable lesson on knowing when to call it a day and that the right gear would assist in making the day less miserable and ultimately successful.
It was nice to see the motto played out this Memorial day. It is a great lesson to put in that memory bank and know that it works for everything. It certainly makes for a happier ending to what could have been a bad day.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Tags: be prepared
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!
Categories: Backpacking, comments, High Adventure, Motto, planning, Risk Management, Skills, Winter Camping
Tags: be prepared, hiking, prepared, SAR, skills, winter hiking