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Hiking Merit Badge

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bt -


Choosing the right number of partners is part of the hike plan, isn't it?


I see nothing precluding family hikes. However, I would encourage the boy to team up with another youth or two in his community to work on this. They might appreciate the company. (You didn't hear me say girlfriends, but ...)


As Beav's post indicates, summer may be no less perilous than winter, and a partner who can't see identify heat stroke or hypothermia would do you no good. So you want to teach the boy to aim for quality, not a certain number.

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You are right, but the scouts in this council do not take "hiking" seriously. Most of them do not want to do the 1o mile hike or the 20. They will do 9 miles and call it 10. Living in up state ny, nothing is flat. I inform them that besides doing 10 or 20 miles they are going to do with veritial feet(climbing a mountain or ridge. They walk away & i do not see them for hiking merit badge.

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I guess this is another reason I prefer (not require) hiking mb hikes be part of a Troop activity. If everyone is on the hike, everyone gets through it. Left on their own, some Scouts may not have had the motivation to complete the hike.


Our March camping trip included a 14 mile 2,700 elevation change hike, and although it took all day, everyone did it! We had lunch on top, lots of breaks, and made sure everyone had plenty of water and drank it.


On the other hand, we were 2.5 miles into a 10 mile hike last June, and it became obvious that some Scouts had not brought enough water. The Scout Leaders conferred and decided the best thing to do was to head back, a decision that was supported by the adult leaders and the rest of the Scouts.



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Change the approach.


Few people want to hike 10 or 20 miles just to hike, at least when they first start out. But hiking to a remote Indian ruin, to a water fall & swimming hole or an old RR tunnel is another thing entirely. Find some cool destinations than happen to be 10 mile hikes. You might even need to start with some shorter ones just to get them started. Once they start hiking, and find out they like it just to hike, then you can start getting them to do a 20 miler just because.

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SMT224 wrote: "I guess this is another reason I prefer (not require) hiking mb hikes be part of a Troop activity. If everyone is on the hike, everyone gets through it. Left on their own, some Scouts may not have had the motivation to complete the hike."


I can't recall disagreeing with you, but the exact reason why you feel this should be a troop activity is why I feel it is best accomplished outside of a troop activity. The purpose of a scout earning a MB shows extra effort and individual accomplishment except where specifically noted otherwise (such as Pioneering req 10). I am not suggesting that troop accomplishments should not count (if the scout worked up the plan for the troop), only that I would encourage a scout to do the hikes on his own (with appropriate buddies).


That said, I vividly remember earning the Hiking MB back in the day. I was 13 years old and trailer camping with my mother and grandfather. We went from Florida to spend threee weeks at Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone National Parks. In the campgound, we met a family with two boys very close to my age (David and Steve Krum). They were not boy scouts, but we planned and took several 10 mile day hikes. The two that stand out most were to Gem Lake and also to Nymph, Dream and Emerald Lakes and Alberta Falls. For my 20 mile hike, they accompanied me all the way up the Fall River Road and back. This was the first auto road to cross the Rocky Mountains. As it was early June, the road was not yet open to auto traffic. The dirt road started at 8500' and ended at 11800'; a "gentle 6% average grade." Up and back was almost 22 miles, and at the top, the road had been plowed; we walked inside a narrow cavern of 10' snow pack on either side. Later I took a solo hike or two in Yellowstone to finish my required hikes, but without my favored hiking buddies, these were less memorable, in spite of the spectacular surroundings.


Side note: this was long before this was an Eagle reqd badge and did not at that time require that all the 10 mile hikes be completed first.

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  • 2 months later...

Since I have just recently begun working with three Scouts on the hiking merit badge, I thought I'd revive this thread.


Our Troop tends to have a ridiculous adult-to-Scout ratio. On one particular campout, there were ten adults and six Scouts. While the patrol method was followed perfectly, I didn't see the need to have that many adults present. (Of course, I was as guilty as any of the other ASMs who were there.) But I digress...


My three Scouts are planning their first 10-miler for our next session and, in remembering the terrible ratio from above, I told them that I didn't even need to be there with them, since patrols ARE allowed to go on day hikes on their own. They insisted that they wanted me to go with them, not for safety's sake but because they know I like hiking with them. So I agreed to go but encouraged them to limit the adult presence to two at the maximum.


The Scouts should be planning this hike and following through with a proper hike plan. My main worry is that parents are going to want to tag along--helicopter parents as they're called these days--since I've seen this in the recent past.


Perhaps I'm swayed by the neat photos of Scouts out on the trail in their uniforms, no adults to be seen, having a great time. Just think of the 1967 edition of the Fieldbook, for example. I fully intend to follow YPT but I'd like to limit it so that the Scouts can do the planning, set the pace and enjoy being Scouts.


It's nice to do smaller, patrol-type activities rather than with the whole Troop sometimes. It breaks things up and, in this case, will allow me to work with a smaller group in discussing hiking etiquette and LNT ethics, etc. At any rate, I can't wait to see what they've planned!

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It is between the (1) Scout, the (2) posted requirements and the (3) Merit Badge Couselor.


The Scout COULD fulfill the requirements (check with the MBC !) by doing the following:


1) Plan hikes such as: Take the bus/metro to Georgetown , Wash DC, hike out to Great Falls on the C&O canal, (about 11 miles) and get picked up by parents.

2) Hike along the Underground Heritage Trail in Sandy Spring MD, take in the Museum, the new Fire House, and a couple historic houses. Round trip, coming and going, about 12 miles.

3) At the army pace of four miles an hour, a Scout can theoretically cover 10 miles in about 2 and 1/2 hours. Let's allow three miles per hour. He carries a canteen, small backpack with binocs and first aid kit on his back, and PUSHES a lawn mower around his home's two acre and a half, continuosly for four hours (breaks for water and potty). Could that count?

4) Scout's church sponsors a traveling camp, they hike between sites each day, sagwagon carries essntials, but group decides itinerary each day. Might cover three miles, might cover 20. Camp is over three weeks. Total mileage clocked last year was well over one hundred afoot (some days canoeing, some rock climbing). How to count that?

5) Take train out to Harpers Ferry, WVA. Cover three miles seeing the sights (wore the pedometer). Hike up to Weaverton Hieghts, (another three miles). Stay in Hostel in Sandy Hook MD., Next day, hike down to Antietam Battlefield, about nine miles one way, sight see, lunch, hike back to Harpers Ferry, take the train back. Oops, I forgot, no train on Sunday. Stay in Hostel, call folks to pick up Scouts. How much of that to accept?

6) At Scout Camp, take circuit trail all around camp, see the ruins of the quarry, the mill race, the lumbering camp, three times over. Miss lunch. Poor planning? Not acccept?

7) Take the Metro from Silver Spring Station all the way to National Airport. See the planes take off. WALK back thru DC to Silver Spring Metro, about 12 plus miles one way by map. Might visit sites along the way, mebbe not. Countable? Not much woodsy stuff.

8) Philmont is a special case in Scouting. How does a MBC count those miles? The crews do plan their own routes...

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I will have 2 scouts working on this badge soon. They already know where they want to take their 20 mile hike and I'm fine with it's location. The best part of their 20 mile hike is it's on a bike path that has several places for them to rest up as well as places to meet up with adults along the way to check in that aren't walking the whole way.


Almost everyone in my son's troop does the swimming MB and they are all fine with the 10 mile hike, but when they see the 20 they say "no way"


of the 2 - 1 boy is unable to do swimming due to health reasons so is doing the hiking and the other boy has already done the swimming but wants to earn some more MB so that when he gets his Eagle he can work toward palms... he's an older scout and very knowledgible in all his scout skills... so having them do it together is a great thing.

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