Andy’s Somewhat Ridiculous Rules for Participating on a Scouting Outing!
So what is a scouting outing? The scouting outing grew out my desire to see explore and experience Florida Wilderness, and find secluded places for the Ancient Islands Group of Sierra Club Outings Program. When I became the Outings Chair for our group, I would explore just about any creek I could get my paddle into. Ever since I did my first solo backpack in the Sangre de Cristos in Southeast Colorado, I’ve been hooked. I love to go solo, understanding that I put myself at some risk, and that I have a more intimate connection with the woods.
Our group is actively finding ways to avoid the crowds of nature seekers by having outings that are out of the box….weekdays, moonlit, off-season, winter etc. Mondays are great because people are back to work. We also love to start at 5-6 AM so we can witness symphony of songbirds and other wildlife moving about. Plus we usually run into no one!
As I have, I think, matured, I have grown to enjoy hiking with outdoor savvy people. These outings are also designed to have a great time with folks who have spent a significant amount of time in the Wild. We have often have close relationships, and just like hanging out with each other. We will often grab something to eat on the way home, like the remnants of a deer leg, a boar carcass or even some varieties of scat.
The goal is also to find ways to make our regular outings flow smoother. We may be looking for water sources, safe places to park cars during the outing, or just gorgeous vistas. We hope to make our outing a smooth, safe and fun activity for our participants.
There fore I have decided to put forth Andy’s Ridiculous Rules (somewhat) for participants on scouting outings
- The ability to not whine no matter how dirty, wet or miserable….in fact if you remember the Dirt Head Climbers preamble ” I will totally relish being as miserable in the outdoors as possible so I can later brag about how hard we had it on the hike, the paddle or the Motel 6″
- Understanding that the participant is on their own…no babysitting by the leaders….us leaders have an uncanny craving to bushwack off trail and get lost, so we may generate the fear and adrenalin that we are addicted to….the last thing we need is a participant sobbing about not being able to find the leader
- Understanding that Scouting Outings are prone to make the leader look disorganized….there may be no maps, no sense of where are going, in fact the outing could degenerate into something that looks other than advertized….great training for new leaders!
- That the original advertisement to the event may be dressed down….the assuption is that you are experienced in outdoor skill, that there is some comfort level out there…..that you would know what to bring…..we do not expect you to be able to wrastle a gator from the creek
- That there is invariably some sort of confusion, conflict or other distress…..Part of the fun is that we are not familiar with the area, like finding the trail head, or that we actually can’t launch or that the current is way too swift and we can’t make it upstream….Outings leaders relish and love the unpredictability, the change, the angst that goes with exploration
- Understanding that the leader has the right to say that you are not experienced enough…that’s another way of saying we can’t and won’t be held back by lack of physical fitness or skill or mental health issues
- That your vehicle may be used in conjunction with a shuttle if we paddle or hike end to end…Some of the OTHER LEADERS may demand that your car be used to go score some good drugs in order to cope with the scouting outing