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69RoadRunner

Not Quite Prepared for Philmont

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We've had many scheduling problems conspire against us and haven't done nearly the prep that we should.  I'm even getting the boys to do hikes around the neighborhood with packs on their own time to get in shape.

I will make sure we have proper gear. This troop hasn't been a backpacking troop, it's been mostly car camping.

We are cramming for the final in these last couple of months.  We'll get in as much as we can.

I do have a recent Eagle from our troop going as an adult and he's worked at Philmont.

We'll be one of those crews that struggles at times.  We have trek 12 with no dry camps. That should help some.

But they'll learn.  They'll overcome adversity.  They'll have fun.

And we won't be like the troop my WFA instructor told us about that showed up with suitcases.

That was cathartic for me.

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The thing I seem to forget and am therefore destined to relearn on every trek is that the Scouts have different priorities than the adults. 

We want them to be physically prepared because we fear that we are not.  We want them to learn the map/compass skills so we are not embarrassed when ranger asks them to orient the map.  We want them to practice hanging bear bags so it doesnt take 2 hours for the first few nights.  They dont care about any of those things - they are young and athletic and will not feel the pain, they dont mind learning the map skills again, they seem to enjoy the fellowship of trying to get the food hung. 

Let them struggle.  To bring on storming.  So they can work through the issues.  And be stronger for it.

 

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I found that most boys aren't willing to do the kind of backpacking that will get them in shape. The altitude alone will slow them down no matter their shape. But, I've never had a scout dropout because he was out of shape. They can handle most trails. It's their feet that cause most of the physical problems on the trail. I recommend at least one, and two if you can, 5 mile hikes with full gear. That will give everyone enough miles to respect the weight of the pack and learn about foot (feet?) comfort. One of our younger scouts after one such hike decided the large jar of hair jell wasn't a good idea.

And if the scouts are going to develop a blister, the 5 mile hike is the place to do it. If you can, find a long downhill slope. The downhill slope will determine if the boots fit properly because the feet will be force into the toe. A comfortable boot on flat ground can become too small on a downhill slope and stress and bruise the toes. Adults will find out quickly is their knees are healthy or require hiking poles. 

Also, the 5 mile hike is the better place to adjust the packs to each person. The weight needs to be carried on the hip belt with the shoulder straps slightly loose. But, often the vertical adjustments aren't set correctly after purchase (or the scout went through a growing spurt), so the straps need to be readjusted. For the vertical backpack setup, the shoulder strap attachment point should be about level with the top of the shoulder with all the weight sitting on the hip belt. As the scouts settle in and get used to their pack, they may need some readjustment, but it shouldn't be much. 

Good luck and have a great time.

Barry

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Don't knock neighborhood hikes! Especially if they include preparing a meal in a local park. It really is # of hikes over length of hikes.

When the blisters came in my crew, it was at mile 1. I'm not saying limit town hikes to just a mile. But most of the challenge is getting everyone past that first mile. When a contingent can do that, then the stream crossing skills and other things can proceed with all present.

I suspect that your crew will be the least of your ranger's worries.

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49 minutes ago, qwazse said:

I suspect that your crew will be the least of your ranger's worries.

That sounds like a challenge.  😋

We have another gear check on Saturday.  The parents have been slow following my suggestions. Then we'll do a full gear hike of a couple of miles and practice with the stoves and setting up our dining fly.

Last night at our regular meeting, we showed several of the Philmont videos to the entire troop.  I'd sent them out to the crew, but I suspect few watched them.

We have a trail that runs through our neighborhood.  No fires or camping are allowed along it, but it has a stream.  No significant hills.

We'll be OK if not ideal.

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11 hours ago, 69RoadRunner said:

... We have a trail that runs through our neighborhood.  No fires or camping are allowed along it, but it has a stream.  No significant hills. ....

Tall buildings? Stadiums?

We have one on Pitt's campus that is very popular for stair racing ... even though we have no shortage of hills.  Our South Side neighborhood holds a step treck. It's on a bus route.

My brother in Ohio found the one property with a decent ravine and made friends with the farmer. He does multiple reps up and down. Then helps chop wood or gleans peaches. (Note to self: make room in the freezer next month.)

Creative preparation is part of the scouting experience.

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16 minutes ago, qwazse said:

Tall buildings? Stadiums?

We have one on Pitt's campus that is very popular for stair racing ... even though we have no shortage of hills.  Our South Side neighborhood holds a step treck. It's on a bus route.

We leap them in single bounds.  Sorry, had to.

I grew up in Pittsburgh. Both of my parents went to Pitt.  My dad bought Pitt football season tickets when I was 15. He passed away before the season started, but 2 of his coworkers took me to the games.  We had to climb Cardiac Hill to the old Pitt stadium every game.

We're in the flat part of Northern VA.  I've taken my pack to the gym, loaded it with weights and done the stairmaster.

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, 69RoadRunner said:

We've had many scheduling problems conspire against us and haven't done nearly the prep that we should.  I'm even getting the boys to do hikes around the neighborhood with packs on their own time to get in shape.

I will make sure we have proper gear. This troop hasn't been a backpacking troop, it's been mostly car camping.

We are cramming for the final in these last couple of months.  We'll get in as much as we can.

I do have a recent Eagle from our troop going as an adult and he's worked at Philmont.

We'll be one of those crews that struggles at times.  We have trek 12 with no dry camps. That should help some.

But they'll learn.  They'll overcome adversity.  They'll have fun.

And we won't be like the troop my WFA instructor told us about that showed up with suitcases.

That was cathartic for me.

Honestly, most of the youth from a physical perspective will likely do well.  Boots are another issue that need to be addressed of course.  Leaders, that's another story.  You can do a good pack shakedown in a driveway.  Everyone full packs, you run down the list, make sure it's there.  If you have folks from past years, have them come and discuss what may or may not be needed (I've never taken rain pants).

Biggest thing to get done is crew cohesion, and working together as a team.  The Philmont trek is much different than weekend trips or summer camp due to length and smaller numbers (at least in our case) on the outing.  On the plus side they are older scouts so hopefully more mature.  On the downside there is literally nowhere to go to get away, you can't bail, and if you are not working together at least somewhat, makes for a long 12 days

I would make sure you have a solid crew leader, make sure everyone knows there will be daily work to get done; water, tarp, cooking, bear bags, etc etc; and everyone is expected to contribute.  There is crew gear; food, stoves, first aid, fuel, etc etc that everyone will tote.  Get the admin stuff done prior to departure, good clear structure led by the crew leader, then you are ready to meet the physical demands.

Edited by Jameson76
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8 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Honestly, most of the youth from a physical perspective will likely do well.  Boots are another issue that need to be addressed of course.  Leaders, that's another story.  You can do a good pack shakedown in a driveway.  Everyone full packs, you run down the list, make sure it's there.  If you have folks from past years, have them come and discuss what may or may not be needed (I've never taken rain pants).

Biggest thing to get done is crew cohesion, and working together as a team.  The Philmont trek is much different than weekend trips or summer camp due to length and smaller numbers (at least in our case) on the outing.  On the plus side they are older scouts so hopefully more mature.  On the downside there is literally nowhere to go to get away, you can't bail, and if you are not working together at least somewhat, makes for a long 12 days

I would make sure you have a solid crew leader, make sure everyone knows there will be daily work to get done; water, tarp, cooking, bear bags, etc etc; and everyone is expected to contribute.  There is crew gear; food, stoves, first aid, fuel, etc etc that everyone will tote.  Get the admin stuff done prior to departure, good clear structure led by the crew leader, then you are ready to meet the physical demands.

All excellent advice. I've been hitting the gym regularly and have done many hikes. As long as my plantar fasciitis stays away as well as the IT band issue that popped up 2 years ago during my son's hiking merit badge hikes, I'll be OK.  I've done a lot of leg work, and the IT band has been doing well.  It only came up during steep downhill sections.

Another adult leader is a few years younger and I think he'll be fine. Our third leader, who just signed on, is a 21 year old eagle from our troop.

Our crew is relatively young for a Philmont crew.  All but 1 will be 14 or 15.  We have trek 12 which is no dry camps and while I'd love to go there, not in Valle Vidal.  That somewhat simplifies our trek.

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11 minutes ago, 69RoadRunner said:

All excellent advice. I've been hitting the gym regularly and have done many hikes. As long as my plantar fasciitis stays away as well as the IT band issue that popped up 2 years ago during my son's hiking merit badge hikes, I'll be OK.  I've done a lot of leg work, and the IT band has been doing well.  It only came up during steep downhill sections.

Naproxen is your friend.  Naproxen is prescribed for the treatment of mild to moderate pain and inflammation.  Take at night, you will wake up with somewhat less inflammation and tension from the plantar fasciitis and other aches and pains.  

Don't fear the better living through chemistry option

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14 year old is an awkward age. We took two crews one year, one was made of 14 year olds, the other was made of 15 to 18 year olds. The 18 years olds were new ASMs (and they had a blast). Anyway, the 14 year olds stuck to themselves. They didn't like wearing the uniform during travel (required), while the older scouts didn't think twice about it. They just never seemed comfortable. As I said, awkward. But they were fine on the trail. That is where they bonded. 

I will suggest that you go again with this group in a couple of years. Treks with 16 and 17 year olds is so much fun. They are more relaxed and just know how to have a good time.

Barry

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I will be taking plenty of Vitamin I to deal with any pain.  Also Turmeric pills for inflammation.  For the IT band, when I had it, the pain was usually gone the next morning.  Of course additional downhill would bring it back.

We travel in Class As, so the scouts are used to that. I foresee some issues with some of these scouts. A couple of pick eaters, some who tend to let others do the work, etc. Having the duty roster in place ahead of time will be a big help, I hope.

One scout has diabetes. His dad is going along. I'm not worried about him at all.  He plays rugby and is a leader.  Perhaps a bit too much at times, but when you're the oldest of 4 boys, that comes with the territory.  😀 He's a good kid.

We also have 1 scout from another troop that I don't know. He's known very well by my other adult leader and there is no chance this kid would be coming if he wasn't a great kid.

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There's nothing like burning through the calories in a morning to solve picky eaters. But the nice thing about Philmont is exchanges. There are locations to drop off what you don't like and pick up something some other crew doesn't like. Plus, it's likely to make trades mid trail. Evidently my venturers despised green beans, but they kept crossing paths with a contingent from Tennessee who couldn't live without them. Those exchanges solved a lot of problems.

P.S. - I've never been to this HA base myself, I merely conditioned with my crew for everyone's mutual benefit. My venturers and leaders who did go were pretty thorough with the after-action review.  In fact they were half the reason I had a crew. Some went while scouts and came back wanting to return so they could "do it right."

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

Naproxen is your friend.  Naproxen is prescribed for the treatment of mild to moderate pain and inflammation.  Take at night, you will wake up with somewhat less inflammation and tension from the plantar fasciitis and other aches and pains.  

Don't fear the better living through chemistry option

Insoles help me. I wear Sole Reds now. I previously wore Superfeet Green which are popular.  I had to experiment which gets expensive though less than a $400 custom orthopedic insert.

This link will give you an idea of different brands. I have not bought from this online store. I buy Soles from local shoe store and Superfeet from REI.  

https://www.theinsolestore.com/backpacking-hiking-boot-insoles.html?foot_conditions=396

Edited by RememberSchiff
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We did a gear shakedown and hike today. Many members are missing items.  One common thing was not having a waterproof stuff sack for their sleeping bag.  I gave them all trash compactor bags to line their packs, which works a heck of a lot better than a pack cover.  But, it's critical to keep the sleeping bag dry.

Some were missing a fleece or other warm layer for high altitude.  I had sent out a link to a great Old Navy fleece that was on sale for dirt cheap early spring, but most ignored that. 

My son was trying a frameless pack.  That isn't going to work.  He's going back to his heavier Gregory pack.  It will transfer the weight to his hips better.

My Zpacks Arc Haul is great.  Love how light it is and it carries well.

We got some more experience with the remote canister stoves.  I found an 8 quart pot in our shed, but from what I've read, 6 quart pots are plenty for a crew of 10.  I think we have some that size in our shed.

I gave them two 1 liter Smartwater bottles and a Gatorade bottle plus a CNOC 2 liter container.  The Gatorade bottle will be what they use for drink mix so we know what to send up in the bear bags.  We have no dry camps.

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