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Good Reading
lost in the wild I just finished this book from the library. Lost In the Wild is comprised of two accounts of actual search and rescue operations in the north woods of Minnesota.
A solo hiker heads out on a 'short' route in October, makes a handful of poor decisions, and barely survives.
A scout guide working at Northern Tier gets lost after an accident.

I won't tell you more, but I felt the writing was excellent and the two stories were sooo easy to relate to. One is a great example of how small mistakes snowball into real trouble, kind of like how hypothermia can sneak up on you. The other shows how everything can go bad in just an instant, like breaking your leg.

The two stories are interleaved, a chapter at a time, through the book but they are not related. I didn't like that so I just read one of the stories straight through, and then the other, by reading alternating chapters in the book.

I would highly recommend reading Lost In the Wild this winter and consider asking your scouts to read it as well. Just don't let the moms of your 2013 Philmont or Norther Tier crew members read it. :-)

Using the stories as discussion topics in high adventure preparation could be very useful - maybe give a situation and then ask what the 'lost' person should do and what the rest of the crew should do. Compare that to what actually occurred.

I feel that scenarios are a great way to help prepare for outdoors adventures. These two stories are just real-life reinforcement that things can and do go wrong. You could have everyone on your crew come up with a situation to present and the crew works them out - hey, sounds like Dungeons and Dragons! But, instead of "You hit the ogre with your +5 broadsword and he smashes your head for -22 damage", it's more like "You leap across the creek with your +2 hiking boots but twist your ankle for -8 damage." Ouch!

Any other good books that pertain to Scouting out there?
Scout On
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Posted: 11:12 10-25-2012 922
A Generation of Scouts
Boy Scouts It happens every year.
A scout reaches his 18th birthday and is no longer a Boy Scout. The younger scouts keep the troop functioning and he moves on to other things.
But when that last scout of a bunch of guys that started together as Tiger Cubs finally ages out, the legacy of that den and patrol ends. A page of scouting history is complete and the ink can dry.

I had the pleasure of being involved in the history of such a patrol from 2000 to 2012. Five eager first grade boys made a Tiger den and, over the next twelve years, added scouts, lost scouts, and advanced through the ranks and skills. This year, the last one aged out and the page is written.

You can check out our history and see how things turned out and figure out what that picture really is.

This month across the country thousands of new Tiger Cub dens are getting to know each other and jotting down the first scribbles of ink on their page of scouting history. If you are a den leader for one of these gangs of scouts - Thank you! And, please be sure to have someone around taking pictures and saving the memories - in 12 years, it will be a real kick to look back at all their adventures.

Scout On
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Posted: 6:55 10-17-2012 921
Fresh LNT Trainers
LNT Trainer patch A dozen brand new Leave No Trace Trainers are available in the council after this weekend's Trainer course.
I assisted in presenting LNT to 12 Scouting members on a 2-night outing at a local BSA camp. The coolest thing is that 6 of the participants are youth seeking the Leave No Trace Trainer troop position of responsibility! Completing this training is a requirement to hold that position. At least 3 of the adult participants were completing this training as a Wood Badge ticket item.

We emphasized that completing the training and getting a little patch was not an end in itself - it is just the beginning and they are now expected to use their skills and knowledge to help scouts back home learn to minimize their impact.

I took my small group of 4 participants on a hike through the back reaches of the camp that lasted all afternoon. During this hike, I presented example training activities for the seven LNT principles and each participant presented a single training segment they had prepared. We tramped through oak, birch, and maple forests as well as prairie grass and mucky bogs. Lots of opportunities to tie LNT into the areas we visited.
Everyone camped outdoors two nights - the first night in a highly impacted site and the second in a pristine area. Campsites, cooking, fires, wildlife, waste, and many other topics were presented, discussed, and experienced.

Does your troop implement the LNT Principles consistently? Do you have an LNT Trainer in your troop? Does your council or district offer LNT Trainer courses?
Understanding Leave No Trace and the appropriate camping model expected of Scout outings is an important bit of knowledge every leader should have - especially those that sign off the LNT advancement requirements for scouts.

Scout On
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Posted: 7:44 10-15-2012 920
Hike Journal
Superior Hiking Trail My journal about my 250 mile hike of the Superior Hiking Trail this fall is online. I've also made a Google Earth map of the trail sections and my Spot tracking blips. And, there's a page of just pictures if you're interested in seeing what I saw.

I met three times as many people in 1/3 the distance as the Arizona Trail this past spring. A handful of other long-distance hikers crossed my path - Gray Ghost, Ole Smoky Lonesome, BookSmarts, Pilgrim, JanuszHiker, and Larry.

Check out my Superior Hiking Trail thru-hike Journal.

Oh, I also passed out a $25 Scout Shop gift card to a scoutmaster from Two Harbors, MN that I met on the trail. And, I picked the winner of the ScoutStrong Program participation challenge for this hike. Sarah J. gets a $25 Scout Shop gift card, too!

Scout On
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Posted: 17:57 10-10-2012 919
Solar Tour
solar power Today, I'm doing no scouting, no hiking, no work.
Today, I'm doing my little part to help promote alternative energy solutions - specifically solar power in my case. Our solar arrays have been in operation on our roof for a month now and we've produced over 800KWHours of energy. I'm part of a 'Solar Tour' today where people can drive around to different installations and see how it looks and how it works.
So, I'll be hanging around outside with my little laptop on a card table in the garage, waiting to show people the panels, the electric meter, and the web page where they can see the power being generated right now.

You can go to Enphase Energy and drill down in the map to any place of interest to see installations. If you drill down to Eden Prairie, MN you can see there are 4 installations and I'm the smallest producer - because mine is the newest.
You can go directly to Kautz Solar and view my solar arrays.

If you've thought about solar power, this might be the time to investigate further. Depending on the election results, current rebates and credits may go away in the coming years - and that support really makes a big difference in your cost to get set up.

Shine On!
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Posted: 7:35 10-06-2012 918
Free Tent
I took a minute away from writing my Superior Hiking Trail recap to let you know about this great contest at Scouting magazine. My trail journal should be done tomorrow.

You can never have enough tents! Scouting magazine is giving you an opportunity to get a waaay cool tent - For Free - you just have to enter their contest.

You can win an Easton, Kelty, or LL Bean tent - your choice.

If I were to win, I'd choose the lightest LL Bean one-person tent since I need to replace my shelter before next season, but it looks like it might be too short for me. Maybe you'd prefer the Easton 2-person tent for your backpacking trips.

Hey, you can't win unless you enter at: Scouting Magazine Contest - bookmark that page and enter every day until Halloween to increase your chances of winning.

Good Luck and Scout On

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Posted: 8:09 10-04-2012 917
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