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Day 5 - Rain Rain Go Away

I walked 26026 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 12 miles today.
Another fairly short day to reach Cascade River State Park where I'm supposed to meet Bryan tonite. We'll hike together until Sunday when he has to return to school. Larry and I hiked together to the park then he went on ahead. I expect Bryan and I will find him on the trail since he's stopping to fish tomorrow.
Five days have seen lots of ups and downs, animals, forest types, and weather. This pic is the shore of Lake Superior this evening after an hour of rain just passed through. I spent that time huddled under a cedar tree :-). It's now clearing a little to the south so my fingers are crossed.
Last night, it cleared at sunset but then came right back raining for 5 hours during the night. Better then while hiking.
My arm warmers from Northern Star Council have been a useful idea the past couple days.
My pack is very light now since I'll pick up my first food cache tomorrow. More noodles, yum!
Hopefully, my online map is updating regularly but with the thick forest I expect some pings get lost - Check out my current location on the map.

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Posted: 8:54 09-20-2012 903
Day 4 - New Friend

I walked 18725 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 7 miles today.
After a wonderful, warm, soft rest at the Aspen Lodge in G.M. (no idea how their continental breakfast, sauna, or pool are) we got hiking about 10:30 on a very windy, cold morning. I think we made a good choice to take this night offtrail.
I got us a short ride up the Gunflint Trail to the SHT by using my trusty thumb and winning smile :-). Right at the trail sign, we saw another hiker and it was Pilgrim - a guy Larry had met in the shuttle riding to the northern trailhead. They had hiked together the first couple days. This picture is of them in a beautiful marshy area south of G.M. on the trail.
We three stooges are camped together tonite at a great site only 7 miles from GM so it was a short day. No need to go farther since I'm meeting Bryan tomorrow night just 12 miles from here.
It's already cold so I expect freezing temp tonight. Clear sky, but I won't be out to enjoy the stars. We did have a campfire which was a treat.

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Posted: 8:28 09-19-2012 902
Day 3 - To G.M.

I walked 43686 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 21 miles today.
My shelter and I survived our first rain last night. About 4 hours starting before midnight. I stayed mostly dry.
I decided to hike with Larry today since he's going the same direction. Met a group on trail and they said it should get down to 25 tonight. Grand Marais is a few extra miles past the E. Devil's Track campsite. When we reached that camp, we had to decide to stay or go on for 6 more miles.
So, after a very long 12 hour day of hiking up and down, we're at the Aspen Lodge in G.M. - the only place left in town with vacancy.
Shower was great and the rest will be helpful. Tomorrow will be a very short day.
On the trail, we saw a very cool eagle, some deer and grouse, tons of red squirrels and tiny birds. The leafs are changing some but the next week should bring more color.
This pic is overlooking the lake from Wildflower Hill - the prettiest place on the trail so far.
Hey - finished map 4 today and started in on map 3! The maps are numbered for NOBO hikers.

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Posted: 6:55 09-18-2012 901
Lakeshore Hike

Hit the low spot on the trail today - 602 feet at the shore of Lake Superior. It was beautiful with last night's rain clouds rolling off to the northeast.
Today, I'm hiking with a guy named Larry I met at the campsite last night. We're talking aboutbmaybe making it to Grand Marais tonight to avoid the forecast 27 degrees! We'll see.

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Posted: 11:46 09-17-2012 899
Day 2 - Lunch is Served

I walked 43285 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 21 miles today.
Much of the trail today was thick brush so not much to see. One part was completely overgrown like a jungle, but the vast majority of trail was well maintained. I hiked into Judge Magney park and saw the way cool Devil's Kettle waterfall. I was tempted to stay at the park but there was too much day left so I made my big meal, drank lots of water, washed up and hiked on.
I met Larry at a campsite tonight so we got to visit awhile. Much better than an evening alone. He's heading south too, so we might see each other more.
It's supposed to cool off and rain tomorrow - I hope they're wrong!
Saw three deer, tons of squirrel, 8 grouse, and 1 eagle. Today was grouse hunting opener and I saw a hunter on the trail. The eagle landed in a huge white pine by our camp tonight. Larry saw a bear and 2 cubs today - lucky!

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Posted: 8:03 09-17-2012 898
First Nite on the Trail

I walked 23754 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 11 miles today.
On the trail again! My wife drove me to the trailhead and I started hiking about 1:15 so I only got to Woodland Caribou campsite. I met a father and son doing a short trip and a young couple just starting their thru-hike.
I'm the only one at this site and it's almost dark so I expect they stopped 4 miles back.
The trail was nice but not much to see most of the day since it's all overgrown forest.
This has been just a perfect first day! Great sunshine and a little breeze. There are a few mosquitos left around, but none have got me yet. No big animals, but there was a lot of moose poop on the trail.

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Posted: 8:02 09-17-2012 897
Gotta Hike Now
newspaper pic Rats, the local newspaper printed a story so now I actually have to go hiking - Read It.

I've got everything packed.
I've left an itinerary at home with all my expected camp spots and mileage, which will be outdated after the first day.
I have two food caches ready to be placed.
I've got extra batteries for my Spot Messenger.
The weather forecast looks ok. The leafs are supposed to be turning color. Should be great!

My wife drops me at the Canadian border on Saturday to walk south to Duluth. If you want to get my hiking blog entries while I'm on the trail, just 'Like' HikingDudeBlog or for just scouting related posts, Like BoyScoutTrail.

Remember, you could use this as a perfect time to get involved in the ScoutStrong Challenge to improve active lifestyles and maybe win some prizes.

See you all in a couple weeks.

Scout On
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Posted: 15:54 09-13-2012 896
Producers and Consumers
solar power


Wherever you go, you will meet people that are either producers or consumers. Depending on the situation, we all play both roles at different times. For example, a farm produces food but also consumes petroleum. A person that works at the refinery produces petroleum but consumes food.

In Scouting, we mostly produce and consume knowledge, experience, and skills. Experienced scouts produce the skills education that is consumed by less skilled scouts. As they become more skilled scouts of fine character, they migrate from being consumers to being producers.
If you have only experienced scouts, you have too many chiefs and not enough indians. If you have only new scouts, you have skills starvation. For the program to function, we need both producers and consumers. Each individual's scouting trail should take him from consuming more to producing more, with the hope he will continue to produce more than he consumes throughout his life

Being a producer rather than consumer pertains to all of life. That is the essence of leaving the place better than we found it. In general, we're not doing that great of a job these days. Our country consumes much more than our fair share, and more than we are producing. But, we can make steps to change things and I did just that this month.

Our house is now a solar power producer. Our two solar arrays went into production last week and we've produced 224kWh so far. We are producing more electricity than we consume - the surplus goes back into the grid and is consumed by our neighbors.

The system is quite expensive (by this thrifty person's standards), but there are currently rebates from the energy company and federal tax credits which cover almost 2/3 of the cost - so it's a good time to get started. I expect our cost to be recovered in 8 years and the panels have a 25 year warranty. They should produce power much longer than that.

You can view my power production on this page - it's pretty cool. And, it feels good to think I'm a producer now - at least in this small bit.

Scout On
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Posted: 6:27 09-12-2012 895
MYOG Arm Warmers
BSA arm warmers I was at the local scout shop getting a replacement for my hat that sunk in the lake. I need it for my 300-mile trek that starts this weekend. While looking around, the friendly salesgirl asked if she could help. I told her that her job was to get me to buy something I didn't really need, so she stepped up to the challenge.

After reviewing all the new clothing, literature, trinkets, craft projects, and even a little camping stuff, I noticed she had green arm warmers on. Hey! It IS September and it may get cold over the next couple weeks while I'm on the trail. If I had arm warmers, they'd weigh less than a jacket and they'd cover just the parts that tend to get cold first. They looked like scout green, so I asked her where she got them. She showed me right there.

All she did was take a pair of knee-high scout socks and cut the feet off. They worked perfect! So, she made the sale and I took my pair of socks.

hiking arm warmers Simple arm warmers are a lightweight option for transitional seasons - not cold enough for a coat but chilly enough to be uncomfortable without one. You can wear them in the morning and roll them down or slip them off as the day warms up. They're useful for cool evenings in camp, too.

Rather than cutting off the entire foot, I wanted to also use them for mittens. I cut a slit across the ball of the foot and a hole in the heel. When I slide them on, my thumb goes through the hole and my fingers through the slit with the toe section folded inside on the back of my hand.

hiking arm warmers I can flip the toe section over my fingers for mittens if I want.
I'm counting this as MYOG (make your own gear) but I could have just bought a pair from Target if I didn't mind pokadots, stripes, frills, or flowers - I prefer the stealth green color. Men's cycling arm warmers seem to be too expensive for my needs.

Now I have my own officially un-official BSA arm warmers + mittens just in case it gets cold or rainy on my Superior Hiking Trail trek over the next two weeks. You can start your ScoutStrong PALA program while I'm on the trail and maybe win prizes.

Scout On

myog arm warmer

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Posted: 8:02 09-11-2012 894
Aviation
cessna flight A scouter from our troop earned his pilot's license this past year at the local community airport. Yesterday, he took me up for a ride on a beautiful, sunny early fall day. This was my first time in a tiny plane and has been something I've always thought would be a wonderful thing to do. It was!

The flight was exactly as I expected - a bit rough, loud, exciting, and fun! It was very interesting to be with someone that has only been flying a short time but was very comfortable with all the instruments, skills, and communications protocols. For me, it was a great reminder how much a scout can grow and learn when placed in a constructive environment where he is challenged and allowed to be self-sufficient. It doesn't take long to become an expert and share skills with others.

We flew from Flying Cloud airport in Eden Prairie to Red Wing airport - the town where they make Red Wing boots and shoes. We were going to land at a grass air strip in Stanton on the way home, but the air there was crowded with gliders so we skipped that. Actually, it reminded me of a WWI dogfight with planes flashing in the sun here and there. When one of them came right at us, that's when my ace pilot decided to head for home.

Here's a few pictures of my awesome day in the blue sky with a great friend...

Pre-flight inspection. There's a lot more to getting ready than I thought. A good pilot doesn't leave anything unchecked. This flying club has a long checklist that the pilot completes before and after every flight. It's a good way to make sure nothing is skipped and the plane is ready for the next flight.
The instrument panel. I now know what most of these are for - altitude, direction, speed, ... there's a lot going on all the time when flying. It's also a bit like the wild west up in the air. You need to be constantly scanning for other aircraft because anyone can fly pretty much anyplace when away from airports.
Taking off from Flying Cloud. The take-offs and landings where smoother than I expected. I guess I had an exceptional pilot! One thing that was kind of freaky is how steep the landing is. It seemed to me like we were doing a nosedive into the ground, but it was perfect.
It's also amazing how many tiny airports there are all over the place. A map of airports in Minnesota looks like someone blasted it with a shotgun. And, since many of these airports are unmanned, communications is directly between planes on a pre-defined frequency. So, there is a lot of data you need to have along in order to do things right.
It's always cool to see your house from the sky. :-) A ride in a small plane is kind of like the take-off and landing of a commercial jet. You know, the part where you drop out of the clouds and get to see things for a few minutes as you circle for approach. But, in a small plane, you're at the perfect elevation to see things for the entire flight. It's very cool!


I have a 30 second video of the take-off and approach to Red Wing if you want to see more - View Video

Thanks for a terrific flight, Bob!

Scout On
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Posted: 7:50 09-10-2012 893
Old Favorites
new BSA hat Guys like me really try to get all they can out of a purchase. I like to think I'm thrifty, but some folks would just call it cheap. I drive a 24 year old car that gets 33mpg and refuses to die. I have a laptop that still works from 1994. My lawnmower is at least 15 years old. But, sometimes even guys like me have to break down and buy new stuff.

In this photo, you can see me at the end of my Arizona Trail Hike - my old favorite shirt is completely worn through and my old favorite BSA hat is fraying. I haven't thrown out the shirt - I use it in my Wilderness First Aid training scenarios. But, the hat is finally gone.

Now, I didn't throw it away. I kept wearing it this summer. While sailing a Sunfish on a lake up north, the wind ripped it off my head and PLOP! into the drink. I circled around and almost got it three times before it finally sunk away out of sight. Sigh!

So, today I visited the scout shop and bought a brand new, bright, crisp, green hat. I expect after 300 miles of wearing it on the Superior Hiking Trail this month, it will be my new old favorite. I also have a new, sweat-wicking shirt but I don't think it will ever be a favorite. It just doesn't have the right feel.

Do you have an old favorite that should probably be replaced but you keep on making it work?

Scout On
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Posted: 20:27 09-04-2012 892
Patch Police
BSA Patch Patrol I'm sure you've met one by now. He might just make a quiet comment to you that your new square knot is sewn upside down. Or, he might point out paragraph 4 on page 5 of his Insignia Guide where it says that patch hanging from your right pocket button is 1/4 inch too wide. Or, he might complain to others when you're not around about how your 5 medals and all those knots are excessive. He's the Patch Police.

Recognition of efforts by volunteers is important. And, of course, we should follow the guidelines when displaying recognition. But, those people with experience and knowledge about the guidelines should use empathy and tact in a helpful manner when a discrepency is noticed. If you find it important enough to correct others, please do it respectfully and off to the side.

Many new volunteers receive recognition items but no immediate guidance regarding proper display. If your role includes distributing recognition, make it a point to also provide instruction about placement of the recognition item. Even if you don't present the items, you can always ask "Do you know where that goes?" when you congratulate the recognized volunteer. This will solve nearly all patch police cases before they occur.

Did you know the BSA actually does have a Patch Police program? Well, it's actually Patch Patrol, but close enough. The program is intended to promote BSA licensed patches rather than unauthorized knock-offs. And, it's a simple way to get another patch to add to your collection.

Officially endorsed BSA patches have a special backing so you just "Flip It" to see if its official. If you send the BSA an email telling them what you're doing to teach others to "Flip It", they'll send you a free "Real Deal" patch. See scoutstuff page for the address and details. The program has been going since last year, but they still had patches left last month.

Let me know if the patch you get has the official backing on it. :-)

Scout On
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Posted: 9:17 09-03-2012 891
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