Month: March 2009

Backpacking Tip of the Week

This Backpacking tip of the week is from my good buddie Gary J.
He sends a tip about the ever so famous “Sham Wow!”

Carry a large ShamWow towel and use it as a clothes wringer. Wash out your t shirt, sox, etc. Roll ’em up in your handy dandy ShamWow and wring it out. Unroll The articles of clean clothing are nearly already dry! Hang in the sun for a bit or tie to backpack and voila.
Learn more about Sham Wow at their site.

Thanks Gary.

Try this one. It may be one more thing in your pack, but it is a multi use item so it works for me!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Auto renew and the PCT

It looks like the “AUTO RENEW” feature from Blogger is less than effective.
The statements says it was renewed, but the site failed to do so.
So… it looks like I will be using the old format for at least a while till it is fixed.

IN THE MEAN TIME…

I just got home from the Pacific Crest Trail Trail Fest!!
Whooo Hooo. Man, what a great time we had. Class’s, vendors, and hanging out with back packers all day!
Glen Van Peski from Gossamer Gear gave a fantastic presentation on lightening up your pack. His ultra light methods are a little much for me right now, but his tips on reducing by planning and thinking ahead were something that I will get in my routine starting now.
Sarah Kirkconnell from Trail cooking & the Outdoors blog also did a great presentation on cooking options on the trail. We got to chat with all the vendors in a real comfortable setting. I had a ball… and came away with a bag full of Swag!
Leave No Trace was there and had a neat demo on impact, and of course the PCT Association and other “Trail Friends” groups were there. It is nice to see the dedication to our wilderness areas and to this long trail.
It was a great time and I encourage all of you to go to similar events when they are near you. You come out motivated to hit the trail, you learn, and you get a greater appreciation for the trail.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Plan Ahead and Prepare

“Wilderness is a necessity…a fountain of life… thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people who are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wilderness is a necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
—John Muir

Plan Ahead and Prepare is the first principle of Leave no Trace.
Planning sets your trip up for success. A failure to plan well will lead to a trip that does not.
What I mean by that is simply that we need to plan for Leave no trace.
That is not to say that we can’t have fun. Rather it is to say that we need to consider the wilderness areas when we enter them.
We need to ask our selves how much trash do I need to produce?
How much impact on the ground are we going to leave?
Where is my waste going? How do I get it all in and out?
What are the goals of the trip?

When we ask ourselves these questions, we start to better understand leave no trace. Some people will have you believe that Leave no trace is a philosophy to to keep you out of the wilderness. That is the farthest from the Truth. Leave no trace is designed around impact and leaving wilderness areas so that we all can enjoy them for years and years to come.
So we start by planning for less impact.
We start by looking at the goals of the trip. When we enter wilderness area we need to be aware of the rules. Travel in smaller groups, spread out camp areas. For Scout units that can be challenging, but really cool too. You won’t be able to camp as a big troop in the wilderness, but what a fantastic opportunity for Patrols to camp together.
Which brings up meals. Planning our meals is perhaps that single biggest issue of impact. And that is all about trash. We generate trash with cooking. SO preparation is the name of that game.
Reduce trash by repackaging. Do not take wrappers, boxes and cans with you. Reduce the trash at home. Repackage your meals in ziplock bags or other resealable containers that can easily be carried out, used as litter bags, and take up less space.
Think about the meals you are cooking and what you need to do that. Canister stoves are efficient and allow for quick boil times for water. They are pretty light and take up less space. But you need to plan for the amount of fuel you will consume. This reduces impact and trash. And lightens the load in your pack. But you have to plan. Waste fuel and you will end up short.

Look at your tents, tarps, or what ever shelter you are planning on using. Free standing tents leave less impact. What color tent do you have. Hot pink in the wilderness takes away from other peoples enjoyment. Do you need to stake it down? If not..then don’t.

Where are you getting water? How much can you carry? Purifying or packing? These are planning questions that need to be considered.

So the bottom line is that Planning Ahead and Preparing for your next adventure is the first and most important part of a trip that leaves no trace. No matter where you go, or what your goals are, you should always keep in mind that there will be people coming to the wilderness after you and you want to give them the same opportunity to experience it’s pristine beauty as you are.

Plan and prepare.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

A recent find… we could learn a lot from!

From the Chief Scout Yarns
January 24, 1920

THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE SCOUTS
The story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is really an old Arab tale, and was first written in Bagdad.
The Boy Scouts of Bagdad recently got up the play of Ali Baba. As you know, we have Scouts of every form of religion under the sun, and at Bagdad there are Chaldeans, Moslems, Jews, and Christians.
In that country the difference in a man’s religion makes a big difference in his dealings with other people, and it was considered a most wonderful thing by the onlookers when, in the performance of the play, Christian boys danced hand in hand with Moslems.
The older men have been asking: “What sort of spirit is this that the British have brought to us? Those boys, instead of being continually at war with one another, according to the religion they followed, are now like a band of brothers together!”
Such is the brotherhood of the Scouts. We can respect another fellow’s religion, and not think any the worse of him because he is not exactly the same as ourselves.

ROBERT BADEN-POWELL
CHIEF SCOUT

A man before his time… or timeless man.. BP, what a guy!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Wow, it’s been a week

Its been a real busy week for me, as you can tell, it’s been a week since I last posted.
So today I thought I’d drop a note and give a little recap about whats going on with me and Scouting.
The great news is that Scouting is doing great. Yesterday 4 more Scouts crossed over into our troop. Welcome additions all.
Monday, the troop started training on the Leave no trace principles. We are getting ready for back to back backpacking treks, starting with a nice weekend in April on a great section of the PCT.
In my next few podcasts I will be discussing Leave no trace in detail, so watch for that.
We are looking at packing the right gear and what is in each of the Scouts backpacks. Pairing down gear, and looking at multi use gear. Our focus for this year is on “Developing an appreciation for the Our doors”.
We are doing this by getting out there and renewing our commitment to the Out door code and practicing leave no trace.
It certainly is not all work and no play. Taking the Scouts out into the wilderness proves to be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to fun and relaxation.
Once of the hardest things to work on is developing an understanding that sometimes its ok to just sit and listen to the trees, birds, and have quiet conversations.
Sometimes it’s ok not to work on knots, but to play cards and sit by the fire.
Sometimes it’s ok no to try to get as many requirements done for rank or merit badges, but admiring a water fall or the rushing of the river.
A change in philosophy to basic skills and appreciation of our wilderness area is the order of the day in our Troop. The advancement progress and other requirements will come.

Here’s what I have found. It all comes together when the Scouts are enjoying themselves. Developing that appreciation for the outdoors, using the tools of the Outdoor code and the Leave no trace principles help to facilitate that.

So, it’s been a real busy week. Scouting, family, work have all taken it’s toll on the Scoutmaster this week, but at the end of the day… life is good.

Have a Great Scouting Day!