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Day 14 - Out of the Woods

I walked 39150 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 16 miles today.
I stepped out of the woods at the Normanna Rd. trailhead around 1:30pm, almost exactly 13 days from my start on Otter Lake Rd. This last morning of hiking dragged on and on and I felt pretty slow. But, I continued on and ran into more Trail Magic once I left the trail. One big thing I learned on this hike is that the world is full of helpful, friendly people and I will assume that is what every person I meet is like until they prove me wrong.

This is me at the final trailhead. I originally planned to hike through Duluth, but the Normanna Rd. to Martin Rd. segment is not open and I could not find the start point for it. Plus, the last 10 miles or so of the Duluth segment is still closed from flooding. So, I'll complete that last part once the trail is officially open next year.

Now, I'm standing at the corner of two dirt roads about 15 miles from town and not really wanting to walk country roads all that way. I also did not know if I'd find more traffic if I headed west or south from where I stood. I had quite awhile to figure out a plan, so I sat down, got out my one blank sheet of paper and my pen and wrote a bit U M D on the sheet. I figured holding that up would help my chances of getting a ride into town. (That's University of Minnesota Duluth)
Just as I finished the sign, a small car drove by and I flagged it down. It was the local mailman and his honda civic was crammed full of letters and packages. I explained I had just hiked from Canada on the SHT and asked him which way I should start walking. He said West would be my best bet. I should hit pavement in about 3 miles. And he drove off in a cloud of dust.

As I folded up my maps and slung on my pack, an SUV towing a trailer with an ATV came by. I figured he was stopping at the trailhead since it is also an access point to the multi-use North Shore Trail. He stopped and asked if I needed a ride so I explained my situation again. He was heading north but could take me to the intersection a couple miles West where the pavement starts. Cool!

A few minutes later, I was out on the side of the road again. I attached my quaint UMD sign, hefted my pack and didn't even get to stick my thumb out when a big, silver pick-up stopped (heading south) and asked if I needed a ride. Oh Yes! Threw my pack in the back, hopped in, and gave my story again as we drove away. He could take me a few miles but had to pick up his kids at day care.

As we talked, I guess Neil figured I was an OK guy because when we stopped to get his kids, he said they could sit in the back of the king cab and he'd take me in to town. No way!

So, less than an hour from hitting the trailhead, and without even getting to stick my thumb out, I was in my car driving home. Can you believe that? They talk about "Minnesota Nice" but really? I was home and showered before the time I had expected to be walking into Duluth.

Oh, anyone want some left over poptarts, Snickers, or trail mix? :-)

Scout On
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Posted: 22:19 09-28-2012 916
The Big Surprise

At about 4pm, I was less than 3 miles from my campsite destination and there was another site 6 miles farther. I thought, Hey I can make that and do a 40 mile day! Just then, as I was flying through the forest a young man appeared heading toward me on the trail. Right away, I thought it strange that he had no water or any gear. Then his father appeared behind him. How did I know it was his father? He's a scout from home!
They were following my progress and drove up to surprise me. They got my last location using wifi at a McD's and figured where to intercept me.
We walked a few minutes to the trailhead where they were parked and I got a cold Mt. Dew! Not only that, he had a Sony battery - exactly the one I needed for my camera.
After chatting a bit, I knew I wouldn't make 40 miles so, when they asked about getting a Big Mac in Two Harbors, I said YES.
A half hour of driving to town and back plus 45 minutes eating (and taking advantage of the facilities) and I was back at the trailhead. Two quick miles got me to my very nice campsite with no need to hydrate yet another bag-o-noodles.
So, Benjamin and Duncan, THANKS for an unforgettable helping of trail magic!

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Posted: 6:50 09-28-2012 915
Day 13 - Surprise, Surprise

I walked 64380 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 34 miles today.
A most amazing day on the trail!
I camped at mile 198 last night and am now at mile 232, alone both nights no other campers around - lots of different things contributed to such a big mile day. I got an early start just as it got light before 7am, the general terrain was flat, the trail in good shape, cool dry weather, very few people on the trail to chat with, and my legs felt great. There was no real reason to go far but I just kept going.
I met two guys out backpacking with no real destination - just hiking here and there. Then, I met Dan's crew doing trail work - that's the pic. Dan's in Scouts in Two Harbors and volunteers for the trail. His son built a campsite for his Eagle project and I get to see it tomorrow.
Dan recognized me as the guy hiking for the ScoutStrong program so I'm sending his troop a Scout Shop gift card.
I thanked his gang for making the trail, but I hope they realize how much their work really is appeciated.
I saw a few grouse, some garter snakes, and four deer along Silver Creek. I learned that river means water and creek means dirt at this time of year. There are long stretches that are dry now. I saw a very impressive beaver ponf and lodge but still no beaver.
But all that is not nearly the most interesting thing to happen today, not by a long shot....

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Posted: 6:44 09-28-2012 914
Day 12 - Marathon Day

I walked 57322 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 28 miles today.
This is the Split Rock River trail bridge.
My first marathon day this trek - over 26 miles. The trail really leveled out south of Beaver Bay so I covered ground. I think Mary Anne's great porridge and cantalope helped!
I crossed the Split Rock and Gooseberry rivers which were both low. Most creeks are completely dry now. The beavers are busy rebuilding dams on the Gooseberry after this spring's flood, but I saw none. I did have another dozen grouse explode along the trail today and nearly squished two more garter snakes.
Simply an awesome day with blue sky and every other color on the ground and in the trees.
Keep your eye open for opportunity to help someone. Jeff and Mary Anne inviting a stranger in off the trail was just super! Things like that show we're all in this together.

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Posted: 19:04 09-26-2012 913
Day 11 - Trail Magic

I walked 42384 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 19 miles today.
Lots of steps/mile today. This was probably the most uppity downity part of the trail around Tettegouche S.P. But, there were some terrific views - Bear and Bean Lakes, Mt. Trudee, Baptism River. This is me crosssing the suspension bridge above High Falls over the Baptism early this morning.
Amazing surprise today - Trail Magic! A note to me was pinned to a root in the trail - an offer to stay at a local cabin tonite. I called and arranged for Jeff to pick me up at a trailhead. It was sooo wonderful to share the evening with Jeff and Mary Anne, and their friend. It was a good way for me to recall that I've experienced a lot over the past few days and meet wonderful neighbors!
Remember to do something nice for someone each day.

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Posted: 20:40 09-25-2012 912
ScoutStrong Reminder

Hey Scouts!
I just climbed up Mt. Trudee and this is the brilliant woodlands below. A troop taking a 1 week trek along this trail could do most of the Hiking, Backpacking, Nature, and probably Forestry merit badges.
I wanted to remind you all that you should start your ScoutStrong program this week and track your activity to maybe win a prize. Go to and click the ScoutStrong link to get started.

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Posted: 10:24 09-25-2012 911
Good Morning on the Trail

Gooooood morning, America!
I'm sitting here eating my poptart in the chilly 35 degrees watching the sun rise over Lake Superior. It's days like these that let you know life is good.
I expect to cover 25 or more miles today. Next stop is to wash up at Tettegouche S.P. Followed by lots of hiking and a food cache pick-up late in the day.
If you're bored at work, see where I'm at - Check out my current location on the map.

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Posted: 6:38 09-25-2012 910
Day 10 - Practically Perfect

I walked 48240 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 23 miles today.
If you checked my travels today, you may have noticed the trail left the shore for some miles. I passed by beautiful Egge and Sonju lakes as well as a very impressive active beaver pond. There were a few serious UPs today, with Section 13 and Sawmill Dome being the best with great views. This pic is from Section 13.
I'm very fortunate to have this wonderful stretch of trail through such magnificent wilds, all so close to home. It is an easy trail to plan a 2 or 4 day trek on or just dayhikes too.
Ready for another cozy dry nite under my quilt!
Met a bunch of hikers today but none had a Sony battery :-)

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Posted: 6:29 09-25-2012 909
Section 13

View from top of Section 13! Very cool beaver pond that I walked by an hour ago. Very windy today but warm. Met BookSmarts hiking north.
Gee, there's suddenly 8 people up here so I'm heading on.

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Posted: 13:04 09-24-2012 908
Day 9 - Good Day, Bad Mistake

I walked 52319 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 25 miles today.
After a rest day and on a very nice trail, I'm making lots of miles today. Unfortunately, I left my camera battery in Duluth so I'll only have a few phone pics for the rest of the trip. I've been asking everyone I meet today if they have a Sony digital, but no luck so far.
What a simply beautiful fall day along the North Shore!
I reached Aspen Knob campsite and am all alone with a couple crazy rabbits running around the site. Talked to 11 backpackers today and 3 of them were Eagle scouts. Nice meal of scampi flavored noodles and herb/garlic tuna - and a Snickers for dessert! It's supposed to freeze tonight but I'm toasty in my quilt and down jacket so far.
My friend from Foley Mansfield may join me on trail for a day or two.

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Posted: 12:40 09-24-2012 907
Day 8 - Zero Day

Zero day in Duluth was a great rest. I caught up on site comments and email, washed me and clothes, and rested the legs. I'm ready to get back on the trail tomorrow morning.
Bryan will drive me back and then head home. It was great spending a couple days with him and sharing skills, advice, and views on life. The weather wasn't great but he weathered it :-) in good spirits. Hopefully, we'll get to hike again.
Now, I'm looking forward to meeting new folks on the trail over the next week until I arrive right back here next Sunday - if all goes well.
There's still time for you to start your ScoutStrong PALA program while I'm hiking, or join me for a day or two - Check out my current location on the map.

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Posted: 21:13 09-22-2012 906
Day 7 - Weighing Options

I walked 42890 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 17 miles today.
Wild day of options and changes today. At the end of the day, I've wound up in Duluth for a zero day - never expected that one!
We started at Mystery Mountain after a night of rain and hiked through cold, windy, rainy morning - not lots of fun but some wonderful views from hipoints over the continually more coloful sea of fall trees. The rain hounded us through the day as we covered miles and Bryan decided he'd cut his trek a day short. That meant we'd camp at Temperance River S.P. And he'd get a ride back up to Cascade River in the am. As we hiked on, I contemplated our options. As long as he's done, he could get a ride this evening and skip a forecast wet cold (28 degree) night in the tent. When we reached the S.P., there was only 1 campspot left and a line of 3 people behind us. So, we took the site, went outside and discussed things.
We'd need to arrange a ride in order for Bryan to get his car. As we were talking, Andrew who works at th park walked by. I said HI and we chatted a bit and let him know we were figuring out how to get upshore a ways. He was heading that way at 7pm and offered a ride! Now Bryan was set with a free ride and I had a site to myself. Not looking forward to another wet night, with a forecast of snow on Saturday, we decided to give up the campsite and both head to Duluth. I would figure out a ride back to Temperance on Sunday after the cold and wet blew through.
So, a long day of hiking topped off with a drive to town has me relaxing for a day. I've been told taking a day off each week is a good idea anyway.
What I learned from the day is to gather all your options, make a decision, but continue to look for improvements and further options. Otherwise, you may make a quick choice and miss out on a better solution that just took a bit more thinking.
This pic is fromthe tiptop of Carlton Peak just north of Temperance River on the SHT. It is the highest spot around and you can see at least 20 miles.

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Posted: 7:09 09-22-2012 905
Day 6 - New Hiker

I walked 40700 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 17 miles today.
Terrific day on the trail with a new hiking buddy. Bryan finally arrived at Cascade River State Park at 1:15AM! We got him set up and slept until about 7 or so. We got hiking before 8am with very cold wind and threatening sky.
There were 3 or 4 periods of rain through the day, one so persistent we waited it out under a pine tree. In the afternoon, weather improved and tonight is cool and calm so far.
Bryan did an excellent job hiking! We did 17 miles in rough weather with a lot of elevation gain. Tonight, we're on top of Mystery Mountain by Lutsen ski area. We had a campfire but there's no view. Our food bags are hung and hoping for dry winds - contrary to the last forecast we got.
Some amazing views today! This pic is of the Poplar River from a cliff overlook west of Agnes Lake - one of my favs so far. We've finally hit some great fall colors and some vistas are ablaze in yellow, orange, and red.
No animals today, but we did find Larry at Agnes Lake where I hope he's having luck catching fish on his new tankera fly pole. Haven't seen Pilgrim so he's probably down the trail. Did meet Gray Ghost doing a NOBO with a buddy - he's an avid hiker with journals online.
Picked up my first foodcache with no problem. Now pack is heavy with food. Bryan brought my replacement dirty water bag for filter so I'm good there, too. Everything's looking good at the end of a long day on the trail.

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Posted: 19:44 09-21-2012 904
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
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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