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Stosh

Adult vs. Youth

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:) Sometimes the SM overrules the boys. On the Philmont trek where I had a slower pace and lagged behind with another adult, the boys were not allowed to go with the slower group even though both groups had 2 adults.

 

Eventually I became immune to the SM's tirades and settled in and enjoyed my hike. Needless to say I never got blisters and the only other one on the trek who didn't get blisters was one of the boys who took my advice instead of the "requirements" of the SM. He too, got an earful.

 

Needless to say, I eventually moved on to another troop.

 

Stosh

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According to tradition (and possibly logic): the leader is the first in line of march. The navigator with map/compass is second. And the SLOWEST person is third. Everyone else is 6' apart and the assistant leader brings up the rear to catch any stragglers.

 

See if that ever flies in most troops.

 

One of the problems with my Philmont trek was the "leader" was a huge football player who carried a pack that didn't carry but 25# of gear. I knew from the get-go I wasn't going to be able to keep pace with him. :) Eventually the boys figured it out too and began dumping their load on him just to slow him down a bit. :)

 

Stosh

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According to tradition (and possibly logic): the leader is the first in line of march. The navigator with map/compass is second. And the SLOWEST person is third. Everyone else is 6' apart and the assistant leader brings up the rear to catch any stragglers.

 

See if that ever flies in most troops.

 

One of the problems with my Philmont trek was the "leader" was a huge football player who carried a pack that didn't carry but 25# of gear. I knew from the get-go I wasn't going to be able to keep pace with him. :) Eventually the boys figured it out too and began dumping their load on him just to slow him down a bit. :)

 

Stosh

This is what tune-up hikes are for. Barry

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According to tradition (and possibly logic): the leader is the first in line of march. The navigator with map/compass is second. And the SLOWEST person is third. Everyone else is 6' apart and the assistant leader brings up the rear to catch any stragglers.

 

See if that ever flies in most troops.

 

One of the problems with my Philmont trek was the "leader" was a huge football player who carried a pack that didn't carry but 25# of gear. I knew from the get-go I wasn't going to be able to keep pace with him. :) Eventually the boys figured it out too and began dumping their load on him just to slow him down a bit. :)

 

Stosh

:) Sometimes that isn't enough... I spent 9 months daily hiking with increased distance and load. By the time I left I was up to 10-15 miles with overloaded pack on hilly terrain. Even then my 50 year old body couldn't keep up with a 16 year old who probably didn't do anything to get ready for the trip.

 

Stosh

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According to tradition (and possibly logic): the leader is the first in line of march. The navigator with map/compass is second. And the SLOWEST person is third. Everyone else is 6' apart and the assistant leader brings up the rear to catch any stragglers.

 

See if that ever flies in most troops.

 

One of the problems with my Philmont trek was the "leader" was a huge football player who carried a pack that didn't carry but 25# of gear. I knew from the get-go I wasn't going to be able to keep pace with him. :) Eventually the boys figured it out too and began dumping their load on him just to slow him down a bit. :)

 

Stosh

What I meant was tune up hikes are the place to learn trail etiquette and each members physical abilities. You should have been torward the front of the crew on the first day because they already knew you were a slower hiker.

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Several years ago, I had a small group of 10 years old Webelos, up at Pukaskwa National Park, in Northern Ontario. Very, very demanding terrain. We day hiked into the interior, and back to the campground in one day. [Now days, we backpack in about 2 1/2 miles to a super wilderness campsite on Lake Superior, day hike the next day, and backpack out the 3rd day.] The day hike with the Webelos was probably about 15 miles. I was so tired, I could hardly move when we got back to the campsite. After we cooked dinner, the other dad and I sat down for the rest of the evening. The Webelos played tag for 2 hours! They were tired, but recover from the hike in about 10 minutes.

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According to tradition (and possibly logic): the leader is the first in line of march. The navigator with map/compass is second. And the SLOWEST person is third. Everyone else is 6' apart and the assistant leader brings up the rear to catch any stragglers.

 

See if that ever flies in most troops.

 

One of the problems with my Philmont trek was the "leader" was a huge football player who carried a pack that didn't carry but 25# of gear. I knew from the get-go I wasn't going to be able to keep pace with him. :) Eventually the boys figured it out too and began dumping their load on him just to slow him down a bit. :)

 

Stosh

Maybe I'm looking at the world all wrong. Leader stays at the rear. Gives guidance as to the next landmark and has scouts take turns advancing to the fore and reporting back their observations. At decision points, the leader has the contingent circle-up around the map and compass and develops a plan for the next few waypoints.

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Although I'm 10 years younger than you Stosh, I'm in the same boat and highly agree with your choice. I did Philmont for my 9th and last time in 2008 at age 48. My troop is gonna apply for a 2015 expedition and I said I'd make sure the planning got done but that I wasn't going on another expedition. Other, younger adults should be going.

 

I didn't have any issues in 2008, in fact I out-hiked a couple of my youth on that trip. Not bragging, just a fact. But here's another fact: the same wouldn't happen at age 55. In 2008, we were on our way up Shaefer's Pass from the north side and had stopped for lunch. All of a sudden several "young guns" from another crew came past us moving pretty quickly. 15 minutes later came their late-50s (+) adults ambling along. Wrong. 15 minutes is as much as a half-mile. What would happen if one of those adults sprained an ankle or fell and hit his head? More importantly perhaps, these adults were holding back their Scouts. They were keeping them from achieving all they could have done at Philmont. How many programs did they miss or had shortened because the adults were 15 minutes or more behind and they had to wait on them? What compromises were made to accommodate the adults' physical limitations, in both the planning and execution of that expedition?

 

When I saw that I resolved then and there not to be that 15-minute-behind adult. Therefore I won't be going to Philmont in 2015 if (big "if") our troop gets a slot.

 

Another thought. Philmont has a wide variety of itineraries ranging in difficulty. Most of those are within the physical reach of most Scouts of the age to attend (barring "Tubby-Timmy" or a "backpack with legs"). The same cannot be said for most 50-60+ year olds, and maybe even most 40+ year olds. Therefore, if one falls in that category, one is limiting the choices of the Scouts -- another reason I'm not going.

 

Full disclosure: I'm very slim, no health issues other than age. :) I might be able to condition myself for a lower difficulty itinerary but there's no way for one of the gonzo ones I did as a young man. Again -- I'd be limiting my Scouts' choices, and I will not be responsible for "holding them back."

 

And yeah, if we do get a slot and go, I'll really miss not being along. Really, really miss it. :)

dc, you are correct of course. And perhaps I didn't express myself as well or completely as I should have. Absolutely if the 50-60 year old leader is the only option then make the compromises that must be made. Make the trip happen, do not deny the opportunity.

 

As much as I hate to admit it, I am now one of the "old guys" in my troop :) There are younger (30s and early 40s) adults in decent to very good shape who would have no trouble handling anything Philmont could throw at them. I have the option of backing out because of them. Other troops and leaders may not have those options.

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According to tradition (and possibly logic): the leader is the first in line of march. The navigator with map/compass is second. And the SLOWEST person is third. Everyone else is 6' apart and the assistant leader brings up the rear to catch any stragglers.

 

See if that ever flies in most troops.

 

One of the problems with my Philmont trek was the "leader" was a huge football player who carried a pack that didn't carry but 25# of gear. I knew from the get-go I wasn't going to be able to keep pace with him. :) Eventually the boys figured it out too and began dumping their load on him just to slow him down a bit. :)

 

Stosh

"I am their leader, therefore I will follow"

 

My spot for every hike and backpacking trip and canoe trip was at the rear. Part of that was because I always had the First Aid kit. If something happens you want the First Aid kit to catch up with the need rather than walking or floating away from it. And you want the same from the leader in charge...

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Several years ago, I had a small group of 10 years old Webelos, up at Pukaskwa National Park, in Northern Ontario. Very, very demanding terrain. We day hiked into the interior, and back to the campground in one day. [Now days, we backpack in about 2 1/2 miles to a super wilderness campsite on Lake Superior, day hike the next day, and backpack out the 3rd day.] The day hike with the Webelos was probably about 15 miles. I was so tired, I could hardly move when we got back to the campsite. After we cooked dinner, the other dad and I sat down for the rest of the evening. The Webelos played tag for 2 hours! They were tired, but recover from the hike in about 10 minutes.
haha, yes I've had plenty of cases of the same... on one very hot and humid hike a year or 2 ago they were all moaning that they couldn't make it, etc., ... but near the end of that hike there is a playground and within minutes they were chasing each other around fresh as daisies while I sat and recovered in the air conditioned car! Also last summer on the AT we had a hard day hiking in the heat... again a playground about 100 yards away from our campsite called to them.

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If those boys are out-hiking you, get them to carry some of your stuff for you!
:) The boys were not "out-hiking" me, they were on a determined death march. In the afternoon once we quit for the day, the leader that stayed back with me and I would talk about all the neat things we saw along the trail. And even though we trailed the group, they missed wildlife and vistas all along the trail. The boys dumped their packs and listened in on what we talked about because all they saw all day long was the trail and where they were going to put their next step. The entire group had walked, head down, right by a herd of bedded down mule deer not 15' from the trail. I got pictures, they missed it all.

 

The weight wasn't the problem, I carried my gear and a portion of the camp gear just like everyone else. I'm not willing to make it more difficult on a boy who is the one who is supposed to be enjoying the trek by passing part of my load to him. It was the pace that the SM and the lead boy took. It was a classic example of Turtle and Hare. I figured out on the very first day that even though I had practiced long distance with heavy pack, the thin air of Philmont was not something I could have trained for. I had to slow down my pace even a bit to adjust for the lack of oxygen. As the trek wore on, I could increase my pace as I adjusted to the air. By the time the trek was over, I was traveling at a pace the boys began with, but as they too adjusted, picked up their pace even faster.

 

And to be totally honest about the whole thing, we would hike from 6 am until 10 or 11. There was no need to get done that early. Site activities didn't begin until mid to late afternoon. Sure it got hot by mid-day, but a slower pace and more water would have done everyone just fine.

 

Stosh

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According to tradition (and possibly logic): the leader is the first in line of march. The navigator with map/compass is second. And the SLOWEST person is third. Everyone else is 6' apart and the assistant leader brings up the rear to catch any stragglers.

 

See if that ever flies in most troops.

 

One of the problems with my Philmont trek was the "leader" was a huge football player who carried a pack that didn't carry but 25# of gear. I knew from the get-go I wasn't going to be able to keep pace with him. :) Eventually the boys figured it out too and began dumping their load on him just to slow him down a bit. :)

 

Stosh

Whatever line-of-march one chooses, it should be determined by the group.

 

When I refer to a "leader" I am not referring to any adults. The adults in my book anyway are just added baggage required by National BSA to have along. :)

 

1) The PL leads the group down the trail. He is looking for whatever the boy behind him tells him is his next landmark, split in the trail, or whatever is necessary to consider. He doesn't need to keep track of map and compass, he has a responsibility to find the trail on the ground, not on the map.

 

2) The second scout is the navigator. He has the map and compass. If the leader has questions, he can stop, turn around and consult with the guy who should know where they are going. The navigator doesn't need to see the trail, only the map hanging on the leader's backpack and the compass in his hands.

 

3) The third scout is the slowest of the group. This person sets the pace for the trek. If he were to be in the back, he could in fact stretch the line of march out so far that the boys on the tail could lose contact with the leader in the front. This way, the slowest is right up there with the leader and the leader can adjust the pace accordingly by glancing over his shoulder to see if #3 is struggling, lagging, or whatever. The #3 could lag 30 yards and the leader will still be able to see him at a glance.

 

4) All the rest of the group except the last one are next. This is where all the adults need to be! :) Each one keeping 6' - 10' intervals, so that the hiker behind can see the trail and if he trips doesn't domino the group from behind.

 

5) The last person in line is second-in-command (APL). He carries a whistle to communicate any problems to the PL in the lead. The PL and APL can create any signal system they wish just so they know what's communicated. The APL does not pass by anyone, he's the last person down the trail no matter what. If a boy straggles and wants a break, the APL signals the PL with the whistle and buddies up with the straggler. As mentioned, he also carries the first aid kit for the troop. He is the ONLY boy on the trek who has constant visual contact with the entire group all the time. He sees everyone ahead of him, he does not need to turn around and occasionally look behind to see what's going on. He is the "safety officer" of the group. This person really has the most important responsibility throughout the trek. The leader and navigator can make mistakes and the boys will all have a good laugh around the campfire, the safety officer cannot afford any.

 

Builder: From the description I have given, if you are an adult and taking the safety officer position at the tail, then I would consider moving to a boy-led program. You are in fact taking away an opportunity to lead from one of the boys. Train a boy to do it and then get in the middle of the pack and trust your boys and enjoy the hike. If he blows his whistle, then and only then do you have to start worrying about anything. :) Your APL will not only learn responsibility, but will be able to totally observe and learn how the trek is progressing so when he becomes PL he'll have an understanding of what his new APL is struggling with at the rear and can teach him accordingly. A progression of leadership is important to develop in the group. If an adult is in that progression, the boys will miss an opportunity to lead for real.

 

As an adult on the Philmont trek, I knew I was going to fall behind so every night I would extensively study the map because I was for sure going to eventually lose contact with the group and would need to know the trail. The navigator should be doing the same thing. That day's trek should be engrained in his mind so that a glance at the map and a glance at the compass tell him he's going where he is supposed to be going. Out on the trail, decisions by consensus of the group should not be necessary. The three leaders of the trek should have as much detail worked out as possible long before the first foot is placed on the trail.

 

Stosh

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I can comment on a Cub level. In May we planned a short(5mi) hike on the AT and loop back into camp. The blaze was poorly marked and we missed it. We ended up hiking 13 miles, one Cub out of 19 complained, the parents on the other and were pitching a fit.
This was in May and the boys were talking about it at our Sept Pack Meeting. I was proud of the boys, especially my Tigers. We made gorp at the previous Den meeting and they shared it after the pack provided Rice Kripsie treats were consumed at was the original half-way mark. Some of the Webelos took the day packs of the younger kids, without being prompted by adults. After lunch the parents licked their wounds while the kids climbed the rock wall.

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