We successfully went out with a group of Scouts who had never backpacked before. While hiking the return leg, one of our Scouts exclaimed "We should do this more!" For me, that made it a highly successful trip.
Some things I did that I think contributed to success:
- Had a shakedown before the trek
- Treated this as a learning event, so chose a short distance (3 miles) on relatively easy hills, in a nearby and safe area
- Included some off trail, which the boys loved (this was approved as part of a service project we did)
Some things we should do better next time
- Despite the shakedown, some boys showed up without some critical items (like water bottles). Next time I hope to find a location where we can lock up the packs between the gear check and the trek.
- Partly because of the above, we got a late start. We got camp set up before darkness, but did not have time to fetch water in daylight, so we used up breakfast time the next morning treating water.
- Total pack weights were OK (12 lbs for smallest boys, 20-25 for biggest), but we would prefer lighter shelter solutions.
Thanks for the encouragement and teaching this place provides.