Thursday, March 26, 2015

Learning Boy Scouts outdoor and survival skills - not just for the young!

by Brian Schwarz

Time to get back to the blog Man of Merit, where I'm working toward the requirements of Boy Scouts merit badges. Who says you have to become an Eagle Scout before you turn 18 - it may take me a lifetime, but I think it's a worthwhile pursuit, so I'll keep at it as long as I need to, or as long as I can.

Ready for warmer weather? Hikes this winter were infrequent and short!
I've pretty much nailed Hiking and am well into several other merit badges, thanks to becoming an expert day hiker and hike leader with several regional trail organizations in 2014. This year, 2015, is all about continuing my skills improvement, migrating some of my fun from land to water and learning the basics Kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, known as SUP.

Camping will take a primary role whenever I'm able to link two days off in a row. When I'm able to get three or more days off, I will be venturing into Backpacking.

You should see the drafts I've written this winter about how I was going to brave the weather tomorrow and head out on the trail. Always "tomorrow", but tomorrow would almost always cut my planned five miler down to a pitiful mile, if I the weather was forgiving enough for me to be able to get out and get active at all.

I've overcome many of my weaknesses over the years, and as tempting it is to give up on becoming an all-weather hiker and just move south to a warmer climate - maybe Southern California or North Carolina, or perhaps Ecuador or the Mediterranean even - I am committed to life in the Northeast Megalopolis and will try better next winter.

For now, though, it's spring! And today's hike will be in the mid-70s with only a slight chance of a brief thundershower in the afternoon.

Today, I'm off to test a new pair of trail shoes I got yesterday - Altra's The Lone Peak 2.0. I'm used to hiking with much more stiffness and support, so before I head out with them for the 12-mile hike I'm leading on Sunday I thought I'd test them out on about five miles of rocky terrain this afternoon. The reviews online lead me to believe I'm going to love their performance, and I've got to say I'm already in love with the wider toe box and moderately cushioned soles.

The choice to live life as a Man of Merit is made moment by moment.
Subscribe to my blog if you agree that more of us should be focused on outdoor and survival skills building, no matter the stage of life. Until there are more curricula geared toward the middle age set, the Boy Scouts curriculum - with a few adaptations here and there - suits me just fine!