Mention hiking to adults and the responses vary widely, from envisioning a leisurely walk on the cart path after an errant ball to through hiking all 2200 miles of the Appalachian Trail. For Pack 350 what a Pack Hike really entails lies somewhere in the middle, if the middle entails walking about one to two miles in the outdoors at an easy pace. Serving as an introduction to hiking and the outdoors for Cub Scouts (and parents) who may not have a lot of experience with either, the hikes are local destinations that give an opportunity for the Pack leadership and parent volunteers to give instruction about Leave No Trace, hiking safety, outdoor safety as well as easy lessons about the plants and animals. Pack 350 has even hiked on the campus of Texas A&M University.
To prepare for your first Pack Hike there are a few items you should bring and you may not even need to purchase anything!
Although the Pack Hikes often follow unpaved trails, all most people need for shoes are a comfortable pair of athletic shoes. Just make sure they fit well and are comfortable walking over light uneven terrain. Generally speaking if the shoes are good enough to walk down an unpaved driveway then they will probably be OK. There isn’t any need to purchase new hiking boots (unless you want to). Most of the Cub Scouts wear whatever tennis shoe they normally wear for playing or school for the Pack Hikes.
Although the hikes aren’t terribly long and the temperatures may not be too hot, bring a bottle of water for yourself, your son and whomever you bring. Pack Hikes are a family event, siblings are welcome. It isn’t unusual to have a Cub Scout’s older sister and younger brother with them on a hike. Everyone in your group needs water. Any water bottles brought on the hike need to be hiked out and thrown away or recycled.
The Pack 350 Hikes aren’t too long, but a good hat to keep the sun off your face or your Cub Scout’s face will help with the enjoyment. Just about any hat with a brim will work be it a cowboy hat or a ball cap. Sunscreen in addition to a good hat will also make for a better experience.
But Won’t I need a…
- Hiking Stick: Only if you want one. Trekking poles are great too, but neither is required.
- Back Pack: You don’t need one unless you just want to.
- Camera: Bring a camera or use your camera phone, the boys have fun and you may want to have a picture of it for grandma or your wall.