Scoutmaster Musings - Sharing the Excitement


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Scoutmaster Musings

Sharing the Excitement
scouting wildlife You never know what animals, scenery, and cool stuff you might see while hiking or camping. I get excited with the anticipation of seeing something new each morning of a campout, especially when I'm up early before the bugler. It might just be crystals of frost or a foggy sunrise, but there's always something - if you look for it.

On highly used paths around communities, it's usually just the squirrels and small chirping birds that I see. They don't really care about humans, but other animals tend to like their privacy and you rarely glimpse them.

The path I hike most mornings is busy. Lately, with the later sunrise and colder temperatures, I've had more time to myself and have seen much more wildlife - a raccoon, buck, red fox, and now an owl. I try to keep my eyes open and I noticed the owl perched on a limb about 40 feet off the trail.

After watching him awhile, I continued on and saw two women walking towards me. When they got closer, I pointed out where they might see the owl if they were interested. I saw that they stopped at the owl for a bit and then continued, so I assume they saw it.

Another group of four very talkative women, two bike riders, and three runners passed me. I didn't bother mentioning the owl to them because they were intent on their own little world, whether that was conversing or covering ground quickly. I expect they were getting what they wanted out of their time on the trail and didn't care if they missed one old bird.

Being out with scouts hiking or camping provides the opportunity to experience many such animal sightings as well as sunrises, scenic vistas, and caterpillars. Often times, a scout group will be more like those people in their own little world - chatting about stuff so loudly animals disappear or zoning out just waiting to get to the end of the day.

That's when a friend (like you) might find ways to share the excitement of what's around. A dead frog, the last leaf hanging on a branch, some bird flying too high to identify, the buckthorn that's the last green bush left before winter, all are small things that could be used to prompt conversation or at least contemplation. "I wonder how long that leaf will hang on?" "How do you think that frog would have survived winter if he didn't get squished?"
Maybe offer a challenge to have each person make up a story about where that high flying bird is going or a legend about 'Why Buckthorn Stays Green'.

Scout hikes allow you to experience a lot, but you have to reach out a bit to find it. If you're hiking along and notice that you're just looking at the ground coming towards you, stop and look up! You're missing out! Well, I'm off to hike 6 miles now - I wonder what I'll see?

Scout On
Posted: 6:14 10-26-2011 691
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