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50 miler gone bad
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Darryl Chase
(BigD338) - F
50 miler gone bad on 07/28/2011 11:45:11 MDT Print View

New Member here, great site! I would like some opinions on my troops 50 miler. The short version of the story is that although multiple routes were presented one dad, who is heading up the trip, picked the a route with out allowing much discussion from the other dads. The route is mainly on a motorized vehicle trail with several creeks along the way. There will be a re-supply point after two nights that will shuttle the scouts to a different trail head to continue the trip. I was pushing for a route that involves a lake for fishing and swimming each evening. There are no real destinations or points of interest on this route. I did a 50 miler with my other son several years ago and the trail was kind of the same although very remote.I have concernes that with the shuttle that the requirments for the 50 mile patch are not being met.
Thanks for your thoughts

Steofan The Apostate
(simaulius) - F

Locale: Bohemian Alps
Don't let this 50 miler go bad on 07/28/2011 22:54:22 MDT Print View

Dad needs to turn it over to the troop; meaning that the scouts should be planning and running their own activities with a minimum of adults on site only as "double coverage" or emergency backup. There are only 4 requirements needed to complete the 50 Miler Award so why make it so complicated?

Michael Sagehorn
(msagehorn) - F
trip troubles on 07/28/2011 23:43:18 MDT Print View

One of things I think is vital in a good 50 mile trip is having the crew members, not the adults, make many of the choices. One of the best ways with boys is to use active questioning in your pre-trip crew meetings. Samples...

"What do want to do after hiking each day? Fishing, peak-bagging, relax near a stream or lake?

"Look at the terrain of the area we are hiking? What's a good route from a map perspective? How can we calculate miles and elevation gained and lost?"

"What kind of food do you guys like when backpacking? How can we sample some of it before we leave?"

I led a 71 mile hike years ago from Kennedy Meadow to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. Each day I asked the crew to do a map study and plan the hike day, including what looked interesting and likely spots for lunch and the night's next camp. I had a rought idea and shared them with the co-leader, but let the crew go through their own process.

"Planned activities" were few. A few fished, some loafed around in the campsite cracking jokes, and some even read paperbacks when we rolled into a campsite about 3-4 pm. We hauled out trash from two packer-type campsites and naturalized a few fireplaces in illegal campsites too close to water sources as service projects. The feedback I got back from the boys was they enjoyed the trip because it was "their" trip, not the leaders.

We took the YARTS shuttle bus to Yosemite Valley, secured a box containing clean clothes we had mailed prior, showered, and the boys hung out in the cafe drinking soda and eating pizza before catching a bus/Amtrak shuttle right back to our town. Get the adults away from some of the planning on activities.

Darryl Chase
(BigD338) - F
50 miler on 07/29/2011 11:16:05 MDT Print View

Thanks for the comments.
My frustration is that although there was a 50 miler committee with the scouts and parents that are involved, there was no real discussion with the boys on what was going on. They are not allowed to hike in separate groups( everybody hikes as one unit). Because of all the little issues and not wanting to walk 50 miles just to walk 50 miles, and my concern that the requirments are being met, my son and I have backed out. We will be doing our own trip of a loop in the Seven Devils. Next year we will do a 50 with our troop or another as long as it looks FUN.
A little to much friction for me to spend a week of vacation on this one.
No time to change it now, the 50 miler starts Monday August 8th. When the route had to be changed several times because of trail issues, and once again suggestions for an alternate route fell on deaf ears, I gave up.
Thanks again.

Edited by BigD338 on 07/29/2011 11:36:48 MDT.

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
your turn is coming up on 08/04/2011 08:38:14 MDT Print View

One way to look at it is you can do it your way when you lead one. Just be thankful that somebody is leading one. He is probably doing it in a way that he knows, which is not backpacking but is modified car camping. The kids will enjoy it if there are marshmallows.

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
you need to dive in on 08/04/2011 08:51:38 MDT Print View

One decision to make is to back off because the trips are not to your liking. Another approach is to get active in the troop, go to committee meetings, go to calendar setting meetings, volunteer to lead trips, and if no backpacking trips are planned, schedule off calendar trips and lead them. The latter was my experience, and we had about half the parents in favor of backpacking and appreciative of the opportunity and half in favor of car camping. Some new scouts left as the tone swung to backpacking over 4 years. As the older scouts and their parents left, resistance to backpacking faded and was gone.

I know the official mantra is to let the boys set the trips, but what I have seen if that if that is fully implemented, we would be camping in the parking lot between the ice cream store and the video arcade. Scouts will choose to repeat trips they have done before, which in our troop's case was car camping at state parks, crowded, hot, dry, noisy, dirty state parks. They didn't know the options for backpacking. Once we had done a few backpacking trips, and shown that 11 year olds could do them, the car camping sites looked pretty unattractive. If you live in Idaho (from the Seven Devils Reference), there are a ton of great trips to choose from. We are in Boise. Some of our trips are here:

some are here:

Steofan The Apostate
(simaulius) - F

Locale: Bohemian Alps
Easy to fix, but it may take a few months on 08/04/2011 09:16:09 MDT Print View

Darryl, you will need to get involved.
Patrol campimg is well within the boundries of BSA and one of its basic tenets. One patrol usually has an overabundance of boys who can push the boundries. Work with that group and watch them go. The other patrols will begin to see what is possible and before long the troop will change directions from car campers into trail monkeys.
Need to cultivate a "we can do this" attitude (no bravado needed here, just a simple shift in thinking) among the scouts, then anything is possible.
Yup, online advice is cheap but I've gone down this path myself.