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ammPilot

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About ammPilot

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    Palo Alto, California
  1. As Chief Decorah said, there are no bad treks at Philmont. Also, to help set your mind at ease: the staff at Philmont are experts at helping first-timers negotiate the various mazes. Relax, and ask for help. We were 2005 803-E, and had a wonderful time. The Scouts chose their trek. We went through the activities, got votes from each Scout on each one, tallied things up, and then found the treks that hit the greatest number of the most important activities. The boys then chose their top three selections. I want to go baaack to Philmont!
  2. ammPilot

    Got an LED flashlight yet?

    Many new very bright LED flashlights--both hand-held and headlights--have been coming available over the last couple of years. One of the oft-touted advantages of LED-based lights is their decreased power consumption compared with incandescent lights. Some of the recent offerings tout 1 watt, 1.5 watts, even 3 watts and more. If you do the basic math, a 1 watt LED light drawing from a 3V battery set is pulling over 300mA. A typical AAA alkaline battery has a current capacity of around 1100mAh. This will give you 3-4 hours of light (assuming you can actually suck all the current out of the battery and still power the LEDs). Yes, if you're out for a simple weekend, that's likely enough battery life. If you're out at Philmont or on 50 Miler or at Northern Tier, you'll need as many batteries with one of these LEDs as with a "regular old" flashlight. Yes, some of these extra-bright LED flashlights have lower power settings available. Just remember to use 'em!
  3. ammPilot

    How to deal with scouts

    A suggestion (from our former JASM, now 18 and an ASM until he goes to college in the fall): give folks specific tasks, including teaching others. The biggest cut-ups in our Troop suddenly fall in line when they're responsible for something. It might take a while for you to see this result: it'll depend, in part, on the age of the Scouts, and it sounds like some of your biggest challenges are still young. But, hang in there. Perhaps you (with your Scoutmaster's active understanding and support) might lead a brainstorming session with your patrol leaders. As Bob White, Eagledad, silver-shark, and SagerScout all mentioned: get the other Scouts involved actively. Get them helping to lead. It won't remove the burden of leadership, but it'll share it around, at least temporarily. The best leaders multiply their efforts through others. - Alan
  4. ammPilot

    Backpack Weight?

    A good rule of thumb, as noted: your fully loaded backpack should weigh 25-30% of your body weight. Figure on closer to the 25% for less experienced backpackers, 30% for those stronger and more experienced. If you're going on a very short trip, you can increase these some, but for something like Philmont, trim the ounces somehow. Eagledad mentioned weight without water or food, so let's examine that. The NOLS cookbook recommends 1 3/4 to 2 pounds of food per person per day for a strenuous trek at altitude. Figure also on carrying 2-3 quarts of water per person, unless you're hiking close enough to water to be able to refill frequently. (A quart of water weighs two pounds.) Plan on the stronger backpackers to carry more of the communal load (tents, stoves, and food, for example) than those with less experience. - Alan
  5. We're beginning to plan for a 50 Miler next summer (June '04). One possibility is Yosemite, perhaps starting in Yosemite Village, perhaps at Tuolomne Meadows, perhaps at Glacier Point. It looks, for example, like a nice hike could begin in the Village, head northeast, and loop around for a return down the Yosemite Falls trail. There are innumerable other possibilities, including the John Muir Trail, starting from Glacier Point, beginning at Hetch Hetchy, etc., etc. I'm sure many have any experience in planning a 50 Miler with a route like this: I'd appreciate being able to benefit from that experience! - Alan
  6. ammPilot

    Got an LED flashlight yet?

    I've used an LED flashlight for several years, as a private pilot. My first, several years ago, is a very small unit that mounts on a headset's boom microphone; you can change between a night-vision green LED and a white xenon lamp with the flick of a switch. A friend and I also modified a small incandescent flashlight that mounts to a headset earcup, swapping an LED (with current limiting resistor) for the bulb. There are now innumerable LED flashlights, ranging from the little key fob things to headlamps to large flashlights with many LEDs ganged in parallel. I highly recommend LED flashlights. No bulbs to break, vastly lower current drain. They're typically a bit more expensive, but if you use yours frequently, you'll actually make up the price difference just in lower battery costs. - Alan
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