Weekend Hikemaster's Handbook
The hike locations are usually decided at Troop Committee meetings months before time. A list of most of the past weekend hike locations, and some possible new ones is available from the Assistant Scoutmaster for Hikes. New locations are always encouraged so do don't feel constrained by this list. Some of the factors that affect the type and numbers of hikes offered include:
If hikes are in areas that have group size limits, it usually mean more hikes are required so all Scouts wanting to go can.
During long-term training season, May through July, it is important that the correct types and numbers of hikes be provided so all long-term participants can get the required training hikes.
During long-term training season it is also desirable to provide easier hikes for younger Scouts who are not yet ready for long-term.
During other times of the year, the type of activity planned generally determines the hikes chosen. These activities include snow camping, desert camping, night hikes, trail conservation work, mask camp and others.
The following are the general rules for the selecting the difficulty of hikes.
Long-term Training Hikes - The minimum requirement for a long-term training hike is seven backpack hours. Most long-term training awards require a minimum of two training hikes within 90 days of the long-term. Troop 849 usually requires three hikes. Ideally each hike should be harder then the previous one, with the last being more difficult than a normal long-term day. The most difficult hike should be at least seven backup pack hours and also include a required peak. All participants are expected to climb the peak. These trips will usually be at least 10 hiking hours, including the peak climb, have at least 3000 feet of elevation gain, and spend time above 9000 feet. Because of group size limits, and the number of long-term participants, it is usually necessary to hold multiple long-term training hikes each weekend.
Non Long-term Hikes - During long-term training season, we also offer an easier hike for younger Scouts the same weekend as long-term training hikes are held. The only requirement for these hikes is a minimum of 5 miles (round trip) for a Training Hike Award. During other times of the year, the difficulty of the hikes is less important and is usually dictated by the types of activities involved. For example winter hikes are shorter because snow shoe travel is more difficult. Similar desert hikes are shorter because of the large quantities of water that must be carried. When planning these hikes try to take into the skill levels of the expected participants.
The troop normally leaves for weekend hikes on either Friday night or Saturday morning. The location of the hike normally dictates the schedule.
When the hike is to a higher altitude, we like to leave Friday evening to give the Scouts some additionally time to acclimate to altitude by camping Friday evening near the trail head. This also makes it easier to get an early start Saturday morning when the driving distances are large. This usually applies to hikes in the San Gorgonio and San Jacinto area.
For a hike in the San Gabriels, Cucamonga and Los Padres area, we normally leave Saturday morning.
Some hikes are planned to include night hiking. This usually involves a Friday departure, and hiking that evening.
For the first time hikers, schedule extra time at the trail head to get their packs adjusted.
For trips in dry years or later in the season (mid June and later), check with the ranger a few days before the trip to be sure water will be available. We have had trips canceled for lack of water or saved by the ingenious Scout who had a watermelon in his pack - true story! You can check various websites for recent adhoc water reports - the ranger data may be different.
For the early spring trips (through June) snow is often on the trail and in the camp area. Check with the ranger a few days before the trip to be sure the trail is passable. Scouts may want to bring gaiters if much snow is expected. Climbing peaks with snow is hazardous and should normally be avoided.
Awards are available from the High Adventure Team og the Greater Los Angeles Area Council. The hike must involve at least one night of camping to qualify. Award requirements vary. See Hike Aid 6 - High Adventure Awards Program for details. The three most popular awards are:
||Any location, five or more miles round trip.
||Campsite and at least half of the scheduled hours hiked must be in a National Forest, seven or more backpack hours. Award recipient to have previously earned two Training Hike awards.
||California State Park
||Campsite and at least half of the scheduled hours hiked must be in a California State Park or Forest, seven or more backpack hours. Award recipient to have previously earned two Training Hike awards.
Copies of the appropriate section of the topo map are generally provided to all participants. The troop has a box of topo maps for our normal hiking areas. Pick up a few maps before the trip and return them afterwards. Additional maps can be purchased at http://store.usgs.gov/. Our maps tend to disappear into the Scout's packs or get worn rapidly on rainy trips. Full size, color topos are useful for map work.
The troop has CDs with all of the topo maps for our local hiking areas. One CD covers the Angeles National Forest. The other CD covers the San Bernardino National Forest.
Contents of this page entered by Tom Thorpe.
©2018 Boy Scout Troop 849, Manhattan Beach, CA. http://troop849.org/