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International Cub Pals
Today, I received this Facebook request from Dean Maragh in Sheffield, England. Any of you Cubmasters or Den Leaders interested in interacting with a Scouting brother across the big puddle?
I am an assistant Beaver Scout Leader in England.
Beaver Scouts are aged 6-8 years old and are the equivalent of your Cub Scouts.
We meet on Wednesdays and are having an American themed evening for the 4th of July. We would love to hook up with an American Cub Pack somehow. Because of the time differences, live hook up via skype is probably unrealistic but we thought we might swap videos of our Beavers, each one saying something about Scouting, School or their hobbies.
If you are
interested, I'll leave it up to you to Contact Dean
through my Facebook page.
Posted: 11:02 05-30-2012 861
Google Map Photo Gallery
Photos from my Arizona Trail hike are online now. I put them into a Google Maps / Google Earth file just for something different.
You can see a map of the trail with thumbnail images near the location where the photo was taken. This is done by using the time the photo was taken which is embeded in the photo by the digital camera and the tracking points from the Spot Messenger I used on my hike. The tracking messages contain a Lat/Lon location and the time. Some free software works its way through the waypoints and the photos and creates a KML file for Google to read. I used GPicSync, but there are other packages out there.
Google Maps views the photos in a web page. If you view the file in Google Earth, you can take a tour which automatically hops through the photos and locations. (Open KMZ file
(200KB) in Google Earth)
Well, if you want to take a look, click the 'Map' link on my AZ Trail page
. On that page, you can also check out gear, food, and expenses from the trip.
Posted: 18:11 05-24-2012 860
Free Clean Water
For the rest of May, Scouting magazine is running a contest to give away free water filration items. Camelbak, SteriPen, and Platypus have all provided drinking water items for the give-away and you won't win if you don't enter.
Enter today, and every day in May, to boost your odds - go to this Scouting Magazine
These items would be great for troop or crew backpacking trips. Our troop has used gravity filters like the Platypus for 3 years now and they make life much easier at camp. I used a similar filter the entire time on my 6-week Arizona hike and loved to see tan water come out clear.
Get all the adults in your troop to enter and maybe one of you will win some gear for your unit's summer trips! The package is worth about $300.
Posted: 11:34 05-18-2012 859
Webelos have recently crossed over. Maybe you've got a few guys that just joined and are brand new to Scouting. Growth spurts causing clothes to no longer fit. It's a great time for a Buy One Get One sale on uniforms!
Check out the ScoutStuff.org
BOGO sale on uniform shirts and pants for the next week. Youth zip-off pants are $20 instead of $40 - buddy up with another scout and each get a pair. It's a perfect opportunity to help your troop complete the lower half of the uniform.
And, what about those uniforms that are outgrown but not worn out? You should volunteer to start a uniform exchange in your troop or at the district level. It's a great way to pass on items that are still usable. An annual uniform garage sale is another option so folks can resell items, get back some of their cost, and others can save big.
Posted: 9:14 05-18-2012 858
LNT ROX MN
Quinn and Frank are the current LNT.org
traveling e-Tour trainers and I was privileged to have them 'camp out' in our guest room last night while they are rockin' their way through Minnesota. They spend months traveling the country in their way-cool Subaru, presenting at Scout events, National Parks, schools, and any place else where they can leave a big impact about leaving no impact. They were just in Bemidji, Crosby, St. Croix, and Inver Grove Heights, and are now on their way to a conference in Mankato. After a couple days in Illinois, they zoom back east to DC, MD, NJ, PA, and NY. Quite an adventurous way to spend a few months, huh?
Quinn and Frank's visit was a ton of fun for me. I learned more about good ways to share the Leave No Trace message and got to form ideas about my LNT stories from the trail. I'm now really looking forward to my next LNT workshop that I'll be presenting to a backpacking youth group and scouts here at the end of the month.
Whether on a short hike or a long backpack trip, keeping the seven LNT principles in mind is good practice. Picking up a candy wrapper, skipping a campfire, keeping your dog leashed, and staying on the trail are all great, easy ways to minimize impact.
I was surprised that these traveling trainers spend most of their nights camping - I would have thought they'd be at people's homes more often. So, check out their calendar
and consider attending an event and seeing if they need a place to rest if they're in your neighborhood.
Posted: 10:08 05-17-2012 857
AZ Trail Journal Ready
I've been quietly resting my legs and putting together my Arizona Trail Journal for the past week.
You can read all about my trek Right Here
. I've included pictures from the trail, information about my homemade gear, and a daily record of the hike. I hope it provides you with helpful information, some tips, a little humor, and maybe gets you thinking about doing a longer hike yourself or with others.
A GoogleEarth map of the trail with pictures will be available pretty soon.
Posted: 10:01 05-14-2012 856
Now that my little 800-mile hike through Arizona is over, I get to move on to other things. I plan to take a couple weeks to mostly rest up and ensure my leg is ok - probably need to see a doctor about that when I get home. Here's my list of things to do over the next few months:
- Present my story at District Roundtable. Show my gear and some pics and then answer questions from other Scouters. Hopefully I'll get them thinking about lighter weight backpacking possibilities with their scouts.
- Present Red Cross training. I've got a backlog of Scouters needing certification so they can go to Philmont, Seabase, and Northern Tier. Since I've been gone 7 weeks, I'm adding a couple more training sessions to make sure everyone gets training that needs it.
- Write my first book. This is the big one. I plan to write a handful of short stories from the trail for children. They will demonstrate human/nature interaction and include discussion outlines so teachers can use them for nature lessons. I'm very excited about this and look forward to working with my niece to make it a reality.
- Rest, then keep hiking. I have to make sure my legs are whole and secure and then I can start back up walking each day to keep in shape. I'd hate to just sit and eat and lose my fairly good heart/lung/leg development I received from walking every day for the past couple months.
- Let the local papers and TV know what I did. They might be interested in a short story. I'd also use that exposure to promote the ScoutStrong program a bit more.
- Catch up on my hundreds of emails that have accumulated while I was on the trail.
So, I won't be bored. :-)
Posted: 20:30 05-01-2012 855
Day 43 - Final Steps
I walked 54461 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 28 miles today.
I reached Utah at 2pm today and PapaBear was waiting to take me to Phoenix - we're on our way now.
I overdid it the past few days and my legs really hurt, but nothing serious. The actual hiking today was fairly easy and the painted desert at the end was beautiful.
If someone from troop 479 reads this, please tell Benjamin M. to take a look.
This pic is of me at the end of the trail holding a solid silver 1961 quarter that Benjamin and his dad gave me for my trip. They said it might come in handy for trading since it is silver. I carried it the whole way and it often reminded me of everyone back home that I would see soon. It will forever remain one of my favorite things I've collected over the years. It's extra special because it was made the year I was born.
Posted: 18:10 04-28-2012 854
Day 42 - Smelling the Barn
I walked 56314 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 28 miles today.
PapaBear drove me to where I hitched a ride. I walked back up to the trail and hiked it Jacob Lake. Now I just need to do 28 more miles tomorrow. Kind of like the farm animals getting close to home and getting anxious to finish up.
I saw a small herd of 8 or 9 deer. Other than that, most of the day was spent walking through this big burned out area.
It was fun to top and have lunch at a trailhead with PapaBear, then off hiking through the afternoon.
Posted: 18:09 04-28-2012 853
Day 41 - Zero
With the expected bad weather and my legs being so worn out, I decided to take one last rest day here in Jacob Lake. I got dressed and filled water to do the 24 miles I need to backfill but walking around the parking lot didn't feel good so I wimped out. I did walk a mile to a lookout tower for a cell signal but no t-mobile yet again. So, sorry for the flurry of posts all at once.
Hey, I ate lunch and stepped outside and someome hollered at me. It was 'Happy Feet' nearly done with the trail. I bought him lunch and swapped stories. He's heading back down the trail and will finish tomorrow and get picked up on Saturday.
PapaBear is around here because Happy Feet saw him at a trailhead, but I've not run into him yet. Hopefully, he'll show up at the hotel today. I know he was going by my plan which has changed daily, if not hourly.
I feel bad about changing things, but Hey, it all works out.
Posted: 21:18 04-26-2012 851
Day 40 - Out of the Canyon
I walked 44426 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 27 miles today.
After a very warm night down in the canyon, I hiked out the north rim. Simply spectacular scenery the entire way. The trail was terrific and the hike went quickly even though my left leg is nearly shot.
On the north Kaibab, there is usually still snow this time of year. There's less this year, so I took off on the trail - immediately hitting some drifts. To get water, I dropped off the trail to the road where there was a small lake. That's when Marshal, the biker, caught up to me so it was fortunate I did that bit of road walk. I rejoined the trail at the Natl Park entry station, heading east back into the forest. Immediately, I hit more snow and saw only 1 set of footprints through it. I followed for almost 3 miles over mostly clear ground but some knee-plus deep drifts.
If it was sunny weather, I would have continued but it was sprinkling all day, temp dropping, and forecast of fairly severe storm coming. With no GPS, I knew I couldn't follow the trail the next day if it snowed. Being a wimp and opting for safety, I bailed off the trail and walked 10 miles down some forest roads to the main Hwy 67. I walked it for a few miles until a couple guys doing work on the rim stopped and gave me a ride to Jacob Lake. They were 2 Navajo men heading home to NM and were great to stop and help a stranger. Thanks, guys!
So, when I got to Jacob Lake, I phoned Marshal from the lobby, got a burger dinner, and then a great bed and shower.
All in all, not a bad day even though I will not hike the whole trail due to snow. We'll see what tomorrow brings.
Posted: 21:11 04-26-2012 849
Day 39 - Into the Canyon
I walked 36103 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 14 miles today.
So many things keep coming together and working out on this trip, it's amazing. I got to the Back Country office for a permit so I could camp in the canyon. Everyone I met said I 'might' get one for the next day, but no way for today. A bunch of people didn't show up to get their permits so I DID get one. Not only that, it was for Cottonwood Camp up the north side so it shaved 1200 feet off the next day's climb.
There was a campsite perfect for me.
I got plenty of water - which I didn't have to filter.
I got to rinse off my shirt.
The big rattlesnake some people startled right by my site didn't bite me.
It doesn't take much to make a hiker happy. :-)
The Grand Canyon is much more than you see from the paved paths on the South Rim. An astounding amount of work has gone into the trails and structure. I did finally discover where all the dust from our vacuum cleaner bags goes - they pour it on the South Kaibab trail to make it soft for the mule trains.
This is me on the bridge at the bottom of the canyon. I rocked going down, and then it was HOT at the bottom. I have a parcel of pics I'll post in a bit.
Posted: 21:03 04-26-2012 846
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