Sit. Rep. #92: Hiking, Checklists, and Flowers

1- As fall approaches and Troops start becoming active after summer camp; I think of hiking & backpacking.  The main purpose of my emails/blogs is to have a conversation around Scouting, Advancement, Leadership, & the Outdoors.  This may seem elementary to some but I am going to start with some foundation information about preparing, surviving, and having fun in the outdoors.

2- Hiking and backpacking are physical activities.  Sometimes they are strenuous.  Get a physical from your medical provider.  Tell that medical professional what you are going to start doing and get an honest medical opinion about your physical ability to get into shape. Then, go hike & backpack.

2A- Get in shape.  Start walking at least 3 times per week.  As you progress start walking faster.  Start walking further.  Make sure that you are climbing and descending hills.  If you do not have hills, take on the steps at a stadium, a tall building, or at the mall.  Exercise your legs and body to build both strength and endurance.

2B- Find and break in comfortable hiking boots.  Find socks and sock combinations that work for you.  Waterproof your boots.  Go out in all kinds of weather and get used to it!

2C- Try out different backpacks.  I still prefer an external frame backpack.  Most of my backpacking friends like the internal frames or no-frame backpacks.  Rent or borrow different backpacks for at least a week each.  Try it out around town before buying your personal backpack.  Scouts remember that you may still have some growing to do.

2D- Start loading your backpack with gear.  I like checklists.  Here is a link to an REI Checklist.  Google Backpacking Checklist and then make your own.  If you find an old BSA Handbook, it may have a checklist.  But MAKE YOUR OWN!  (mine is in Excel – so I can check things off – then print another fresh list for the next trip – and I can edit/modify as I see fit.)

2E- Practice putting up your tent in the yard or living room or somewhere there is room to do it safely.  Now that you think you are good at it, practice putting it up in the dark.  Practice packing your pack in the dark.  You may have to move camp or start hiking very early in the morning.  Or you may want to see the sunrise from the mountain top.

2F- By the time you hit the trail with your backpack, you should be comfortable with your ability and your gear.  You should be strong enough and have enough endurance to go twice as far as you have planned for your first trip.
“Why twice as far?” you quiz me.  Knowledge of your ability to handle a given/planned event is one thing.  But this demon named Murphy’s Law sometimes intercedes your best-laid plans.  Be physically & mentally prepared to deal with any unplanned and/or unpleasant situation that may arise.

2G- Plan an easy first trip in good weather with someone who is more experienced.  Scouts in a Troop are already set up to be a team with adult guidance.

Y- A hiker came to a raging river and shouted across to the Scout on the other side of the river.  “How do I get to the other side?”
Z- The Scout yelled back, “You are on the other side.”

3- When the American Flag is displayed on a flag pole.  It is hoisted first and lowered last.  When multiple flags are displayed on the same flag pole, the American Flag is to be the top flag.
When there is a row of the same height flag poles,  the American Flag is displayed on the flag’s right.  As you are facing the row of flags from the audience side,  the American flag is therefore on your left.
Sometimes you will encounter flag pole sets that have a center flag pole that is taller than the rest.  In this setup, the American Flag is displayed from the tallest flag pole.

4- The World Brotherhood of Scouting symbol has an encompassing circle of spiral rope finished off with a square knot.  Inside the circle is a Fleur-de-lis. Fleur-de-lis is translated to mean “flower of the lily.”  Baden-Powell selected the fleur-de-lis as the Scout symbol.  It always points up.  That means that the right way for Scouts is to do the right thing.  There are 2 five-point stars on the fleur-de-lis.  That was to represent the 10 points of Scout Law.
Note:  Remember that most of the world uses 10 points in the Scout Law.
The circle of rope is to remind us that we all are brothers in Scouts in the whole world.  The reef or square knot represents that we are joined together and strengthened in Scouting brotherhood.

A- Forgetting your backpack while going to school is bad!
B- But forgetting your backpack while going skydiving is worse.

5- Baden-Powell stated in his 1915 book Aids to Scouting; “The importance of scouting and reconnaissance cannot be over-rated…Reconnaissance is not carried out by large masses, but by means of small parties and even individual men…One pair of trained eyes is as good as a dozen pair untrained.  Scouts have the most important duties that can fall to individual men…”

6- Parts of Stew Beef:

  • A- Chuck: comes from the shoulder.  Very beefy with a good deal of fat.  When buying, look for a well-marbled piece.  Cylindrical shape makes for even cooking.
    B- Brisket: comes from the chest.  It is not as rich in flavor as chuck.  Good for slow cooking or smoking BBQ.
    C- Sirloin Tip: is sometimes called Flap.  It is rich in flavor with a ropy texture.  Best cooked in stews with long cooking periods.
    D- Round:  comes from the rear leg.  It is broken into 2 parts: Bottom Round & Eye of Round.  Lower in fat and is a good cut to braise.
    E- Short Ribs: are technically part of the Chuck.  I think they have the better flavor being next to the bone.  Cooked correctly they can be melt-in-your-mouth tender and wonderful to eat.

Semper Paratus,

C- What do you call a male cow wearing a pink golf shirt, orange shorts, and a purple backpack?
D- A Dora-Bull.

Ranger Skits by Thomas Mercaldo

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