On a recent trip, some of the boys in my scout troop learned what it means to be prepared when we unexpectedly had to hike four miles to a natural spring we thought we could drive to. The experience some of the boys had I believe can teach us all a couple of things about being prepared.
We left on a Friday afternoon planning to drive to Fossil Creek and then hike about a mile up to an old dam and spring that fed the creek. It’s a beautiful green area and the water runs at a constant temperature year round. The plan was to camp, work on our camping skills, play in the water and then head home. It had not been to hike four miles in and four miles out.
Upon getting to the trail head we learned that the road to the bottom of the spring was closed. The only way to get to the bottom if we didn’t want to hike was to drive back the way we came and come in from a different direction. That would have delayed just two more hours. As leaders we should of been prepared and check the status before leaving; lesson learned.
We explained to the boys that it was about a four mile hike to the spring all downhill but it would be four miles hike uphill to coming out. We told them the trail was steep in some parts, rocky in other parts, loose gravel in some areas and almost flat in others. We made sure they understood what they would be getting into.
The decision was made.
All the boys made it to the bottom in record time. A couple of the boys started to feel a little soreness on their shoulders because they hadn’t prepared their backpack correctly. Some brought canned food instead of dry food, other brought only a couple of bottles of water, another tennis shoes not hiking boots, hammocks, cold weather sleeping bags (heavier), and some brought extra shoes and towels (extra weight).
The next morning everybody had a great time, playing and swimming in the water.
Knowing that some of the boys would take longer to hike out of the canyon, As leaders, we started these boys hiking about 30 minutes earlier than the remaining boys. Two thirds of the way out of the canyon the slower boys got passed and we still had about an hour and a half to go before we reached the top.
About a mile from the top we saw some of the faster boys coming back down the trail bring the slower boys water. They had come back to give encouragement and help to the last two boys. I was proud of the boys that came back. It showed great leadership in returning to help another.
It was a great hike and the boys talk about it when ever we bring up Fossil Creek . One of the boys even wants to return and take his entire family on the hike.
There are a couple of lesson I think we can learn from these scouts about being prepared and leading.
1. Listen to those who have been there and done it before. Some scouts hadn’t listen and took the wrong things adding more weight than was necessary to their packs making the hike a little more difficult.
2. Be prepared for the unexpected. Just like most of the scouts had been with the four mile hike, we can be prepared and have the right equipment or resources available to us, it just takes a little planning.
3. Make sure you have the proper tools for the job you are doing. When scouts come into the troop they are given a list of items they will need to have to enjoy the time and best experience possible. It always much easier to do the job with the property equipment.
4. Make it a habit to having fun along the way and take breaks as you need them. If we hadn’t taken breaks on the climb out the boys would have gotten over heated (102 degrees) and then we would have had a whole other set of problems to deal with.
5. People will do the unexpected at times if you left them. While I knew we had good scouts I didn’t know how good until they came back down the trail to help those struggling. They say leaders don’t always step forward until they are needed.
Question: Are you prepared for what life may through your way?
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