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RememberSchiff

Camping OR Backpacking MB as Eagle required?

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The thing that strikes me about the Hiking MB, and probably the reason that so few Scouts in my troop earn it, is not the total of 50 miles hiking, but the requirement of a 20-mile hike in one day. That's a lot for one day. I don't think I ever did that. My recollection of my Philmont trek is more like 7-10 miles per day. I am certain that my son never hiked 20 miles in one day.  I seem to recall a 15-mile historic trail somewhere but do not recall whether that was one day or two.  But never 20 miles.

Finding it too much trouble (five summers in a row) to go down to aquatics -- or the community pool, or the Great Lake by my in-laws one cottage or ocean by their winter home -- to wrap up that Swimming MB partial, Son #2 earned hiking instead. His 20-miler passed four pools and two rivers.

 

He recently failed a life guard qualifying exam. (Taken mainly to keep his girlfriend company, as she does this seasonally for her summer job.) In after action review he criticized me and Mrs. Q for never adequately teaching him to swim efficiently.

:mad:

I have half a mind to excavate that partial and give it to his girlfriend.

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GREAT USE OF TERMS !!!!!    Patrol box pallbearers.  So many people swear by patrol boxes.  I swear at them.  Some people test camping supplies by if they are good for backpacking.  I test them by if they are good for canoeing.  Patrol boxes don't work with canoes. 

 

Unfortunately that's not true.  I had a local engineer in my troop that designed a patrol box that took two people to carry that fit nicely between the thwarts and gunnels of the canoe.  Once I took it to BWCA but didn't go very far in.  It was nice, but it was a real pain to double portage the stupid thing.

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As a scout, the longest I hiked outside of Hiking merit badge, was the Jockey Hollow Trail in Morristown, NJ, which in the mid 1960's was 17 miles. That trail is shorter now.

 

At Philmont, you want time and energy for afternoon activities at the destination.

Take the five following hikes, each on a different day, and each of continuous miles. These hikes MUST be taken in the following order:

One 5-mile hike

Three 10-mile hikes

One 15-mile hike

You may stop for as many short rest periods as needed, as well as one meal, during each hike, but not for an extended period (example: overnight). Prepare a written hike plan before each hike and share it with your Scoutmaster or a designee. Include map routes, a clothing and equipment list, and a list of items for a trail lunch.*

 

I would not think walking fifteen miles in a day with a day pack would be testing for a fit Scout unless the trail had a lot of severe up and down or it was particularly hot and humid.  As to that, planning.  It's five hours walking for me at 73, even with the never-sufficiently-cursed blood pressure meds.

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I would not think walking fifteen miles in a day with a day pack would be testing for a fit Scout unless the trail had a lot of severe up and down or it was particularly hot and humid.  As to that, planning.  It's five hours walking for me at 73, even with the never-sufficiently-cursed blood pressure meds.

 

Can't take Hydrochlorothiazide ( a diuretic) with the dehydration risks and the frequent pit stops. Lisinopril and its side effects, as in 5 hours, I may need two naps. :mad:  Together they lower BP, if I don't exercise! :mad:

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Take the five following hikes, each on a different day, and each of continuous miles. These hikes MUST be taken in the following order:

One 5-mile hike

Three 10-mile hikes

One 15-mile hike

You may stop for as many short rest periods as needed, as well as one meal, during each hike, but not for an extended period (example: overnight). Prepare a written hike plan before each hike and share it with your Scoutmaster or a designee. Include map routes, a clothing and equipment list, and a list of items for a trail lunch.*

 

I would not think walking fifteen miles in a day with a day pack would be testing for a fit Scout unless the trail had a lot of severe up and down or it was particularly hot and humid.  As to that, planning.  It's five hours walking for me at 73, even with the never-sufficiently-cursed blood pressure meds.

 

One earns their 50-miler with that setup.  Broken down into 5 days?  One would think that even a couch potato could pull that off.  At 3 miles an hour (average walking speed)  That means the 

 

Walk 1) 5 miles = 1 hour 40 minutes.  Seriously?  One could pull this off in the time most troops have a meeting activity.  2) 10 miles = 3 hours 20 minutes.  a stretch, but if one left after breakfast they would be done by lunch.  Three hikes like this should build up a bit of stamina for the... 3) 15 miles = 5 hours.  Okay, if one were to leave at noon, they might be a little late for dinner.

 

Okay let's translate that into Philmont.

 

Day one: on the trail by 7:00 am, done by 8:40 am.

Day two: on the trail by 7:00 am, done by 10:20 am.

Day three: on the trail by 7:00 am, done by 10:20 am.

Day four: on the trail by 7:00 am, done by 10:20 am.

Day five: on the trail by 7:00 am, done by 12:00 noon

 

That should leave a little time for evening activities.

 

Okay, let's take it back home.

 

Leave at 5:00 pm, Friday, done by 6:40 pm.  Make camp.  Leave at 12:00 noon Saturday, done by 3:20 pm, go home  Come back after church, leave again at 12:00 noon, done by 3:20 pm.  Next Friday camp the evening, leave at noon on Saturday, done by 3:20 pm.  Home again for church on Sunday, back on the trail by noon, done at 5:00 pm.  2 nights of camping, made it to church, and still got it done in 2 weekends.  Of course if one were to have a Chaplain's Aide along one could stretch the nights of camping out to four.  Nothing wrong with circular hikes that take one back to camp each night.  A day-pack and water bottle should suffice.

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You won't do any 20 mile stretch at Philmont by noon. I did an 18 mile day and it nearly killed me, and I was 22 and played NCAA Div 1 soccer and was in the best shape of my life. You can do 20 at Philmont, but you are taking all day, watering 8-10 liters or more, resting and eating a lot. At altitude you just won't do it in five hours. Not unless you are circling the parking lot. But not in the back country.

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Philmont is, of course, typically backpacking not hiking.  And you are at altitude and often going higher.  Water may not be readily available for hours and so must be carried at apx. 8 lbs/gallon.  All of this makes it hard for me to readily translate Hiking MB requirements into Philmont.  

 

I do love the low humidity of my youth.  

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What a strange discussion. A 20 mile hike is not the same as 20 miles backpacking. And elevation has as much to do with it as mileage. 10 miles with a full pack climbing a few thousand feet at 10,000 feet is a very hard day. 20 miles with a day pack at sea level is not nearly as hard. Breathing at 14000 feet is really hard.

 

I believe that Back Pack got his butt kicked at Philmont doing 18 miles. Part of it is also what you're used to. We had a group that did 100 miles at Philmont and they did fine. They also live at 5000 feet and typically camp above 9000 feet.

 

Anyway, the OP is about doing something more challenging. I like the idea of making it something the scouts work towards and get better at. I'm not sure how well it would go over. Plop camping gets boring but too many 16 year olds like that. In their defense just hanging out with their friends is a good thing. My approach is to keep a good mix of fun easy and more challenging. I'm not sure changing eagle requirements is the right way to push for more challenge.

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... 16 year olds like that. In their defense just hanging out with their friends is a good thing. My approach is to keep a good mix of fun easy and more challenging. I'm not sure changing eagle requirements is the right way to push for more challenge.

This ^^^

 

The biggest challenge in our post-modern nomadic culture is the practice of physical presence. A lot of us think 20 camping nights over 7 years hardly accomplishes that. So any alternative that leads a boy to think he can be a better scout by spending less time with his fellows is unacceptable.

 

Fact is, I'd rather go back to the 50 night requirement and drop all of the stipulations.

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Of course, backpacking is different than just hiking, but one must take into consideration the extra training that is necessary for backpacking. 

 

I covered 110 miles, all 5 major peaks of Philmont in a 9 day trek.  That averages out to be about 12.25 miles a day on average.  Add in base camp at both ends, travel to the kickoff site, etc, that puts the average a bit higher, about 13.75 miles a day.  We were on the trail every morning by 7:00 am.  Due to the site locations, there were days we did a lot longer and some shorter.

I have no idea what the mileage was, but a few days we didn't have evening entertainment we put in an easy 12 hour day on the trail.  Philmont staff said the trek we picked was the most difficult of any of the others. 

 

The boys would stop every hour for a 10 minute break and longer for breakfast and lunch.  I only stopped for breakfast and lunch.  They were not pacing themselves, I was.  I was doing 15 miles a day in preparation for Philmont having worked up to that over 6 month's time.  Of course that included adding pack weight over that same period of time.  At Philmont it took me a few days at the beginning to adjust to altitude and climbing Baldy from the backside was not at 3 miles per hour.  I was at my college weight and fitness and was 50 years old.  Any scout that seriously prepared himself for the trek would have had an easier time of it than I did simply because of age.

 

Taking into consideration the dedication and conditioning of youth today, maybe we need to scale back the requirements so that it is easier to attain their eagle rank.  At this point 50 nights of camping is a walk in the park.

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@50 nights you'd get a lot fewer Eagles that's for sure.

Not necessarily.

I believe we should count nights when a scout sets up camp for his youth group, school outdoor club, or family.

The self-serving "recognized scouting activity" stipulation in the requirement flies in the face of the service-oriented character we should expect Eagles to be.

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Not necessarily.

I believe we should count nights when a scout sets up camp for his youth group, school outdoor club, or family.

The self-serving "recognized scouting activity" stipulation in the requirement flies in the face of the service-oriented character we should expect Eagles to be.

 

Nope. It should be under the auspices of Scouting. I'd be okay if you counted Scout-based cabin camping but limited that number to a % of the 50 nights (say 30%).

 

If you let any camping count you know you'd have guys that never show for unit events and camp in their back yard to get the requirement done.

 

Eagle is already too easy. If we are going to give a badge for camping, let's actually require some hard CAMPING!!! Otherwise we might as well just hand them the badge after three years in Scouts.

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@50 nights you'd get a lot fewer Eagles that's for sure.

Really?  Troop 22 provides the opportunity for any Scout to camp 30 - 33 nights a year, including the patrol campouts (33 every other year when the troop does its own summer camp.) .   Those qualifying for the high adventure trip get 8 more = 30 - 41 nights/year.   Scouting is outing.  If you don't want to camp, why are you in Scouts?

 

Oh, that's right.  For the resume.

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Not necessarily.

I believe we should count nights when a scout sets up camp for his youth group, school outdoor club, or family.

The self-serving "recognized scouting activity" stipulation in the requirement flies in the face of the service-oriented character we should expect Eagles to be.

 

Good point, community service except for Eagle project need not be at a recognized scouting activity. There was time when leadership requirements were more open, a scout could be a leader in his community, school, or church and receive rank credit.

 

Should outdoor activities - camping, cycling, hiking, and backpacking with other groups count? I think so. There are some great, fun, challenging adventures out there with other groups. The hardest camping my younger son has done so far was with his school outdoor club. It was backpack on the Long Trail in Vermont.

 

If it was my call, would I credit a Council camporee on a soccer field. No.

 

My $0.02

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