When I was much younger, I was in Cub Scouts and then joined Boy Scout Troop 293 in North Huntingdon, PA. I went on many hiking and camping trips until I was about 16, and then quit because I had a driver’s license, a girl friend, and wanted to make money.
Fast-forward to 2008, my son joined Cub Scout Pack 86 in Wilmington, DE. He did pretty well in Cub Scouts and was looking forward to joining Boy Scouts. We scouted around and joined Troop 660 in Wilmington, DE. It is a great troop, we enjoy going on all the camping trips, participating in the Klondike Derby, and other activities. I am happy to say my son is doing well with Boy Scouts and should ear his Star Rank in the next week.
So what does that have to do with backpacking? We are going to Philmont Scout Ranch in 2018. With that in mind, I figured it was time to start training. After all it’s been 32 years since I’ve gone on a backpacking trip. I don’t own a backpack. So I started some research and had to get fitted. The folks at REI did a great job helping my son and I with choosing backpacks. I ended up with a REI Traverse 70. There were a lot of customers today, so weights were scarce. Let’s just say adding 25 pounds to your back for the first time in 32 years is a bit of an eye opener.
Time to start the training! I took my backpack out for a spin at Carousel Park Farm for a hike. I didn’t load it with too much with stuff. I started easy to get a feel of the pack. What I like about Carousel Park is the different terrain you come across. Grass fields for part of a path then a turn and you’re into the woods with trees and roots to watch for. Part of the path had gravel and driveway stone.
I hiked 3.4 miles in about 76 minutes and survived! WOOT! I’m sure those numbers are terrible, but I was pleased with my first attempt. A buddy of mine told me about a few more places I should look at to practice hiking before our week-long trek in July.