Go Take A Hike!
A major part of the Cub Scouting is experiencing the outdoors and learning outdoor skills. To better encourage this Pack 24 has put together fun program to encourage outdoor activities and adventure.
The centerpiece of this program is the Pack 24 Hiking Staff. This is a bamboo or other wood hiking staff which should be made by each boy in Pack 24 when they hike. The Hiking Staff is intended to serve as a companion and tool on the boys’ trek along the Scouting Trail In addition, the Pack 24 Hiking Staff is used to display beads that have been awarded to the scout for hiking or camping.
For more details on the hiking staff and how it is to be put together, see the Pack 44 Hiking Staff Building Instructions document in the Pack Library. It should be noted that scouts are expected to use the Hiking Stick responsibly – it is not a light saber or quarterstaff (as tempting as that might be); the rubber end of the staff should never be raised above a boys’ waist.
For the specific details about Hiking Beads and Camping Beads see below. Each color of bead goes on its own lanyard, which is attached to the staff lanyard using two half-hitches or a buntline hitch. This is what it each lanyard should look like when attached:
“Be Prepared” Supplies
The Boy Scout Motto is “Be Prepared!” and the Pack 24 Hiking Staff is a great way to help boys be prepared when they are out and about. The standard features of the staff could include:
- a “Button Compass” on the top to allow a general sense of direction
- about 20 feet of lanyard comprising the wrapped handle which can easily be removed and then used for lashing or tying things together
- a shorter length of cord (the lanyard) to use for smaller things that need to be tied
- a carabiner for hanging things off of the staff
- (optional) a traced yard-stick for measuring things (e.g. the big fish you caught!)
In addition, boys can choose to add things to the outside of the staff – e.g. hang a whistle from the carabiner. Lastly (and probably most importantly from the boys’ perspective) the advantage of using bamboo is that it’s sections are hollow and therefore can be used to store supplies. Here is an example of what one hiking staff was able to fit in its bottom compartment:
- 14 inches electrical tape (wrapped around the stick and covered by the rubber foot)
- small pocket-knife
- matches (waterproof if possible)
- 4 band-aids
- 3 safety pins
- 2 paper clips
- 2 nails
- 12 feet dental floss (wrapped around the nails)
- 12 inches of wire
- dryer lint (fire starter)
- 2 rubber bands
Other ideas include:
- straight pin
- fishing hooks
- fishing line
- fire-straws (a straw filled with lint mixed with Vaseline which can be cut open and lit for a firestarter)
- hot melt cement/glue
- sewing thread and needle
- birthday candle (best is the trick kind that don’t blow out easily)
- hot spark fire starter
- wire ties
- water purification tablet
- short length of pencil
- duct tape (wrapped around a pencil)
- alcohol wipes
- ear plugs (can be used for a fishing line float)
- hacksaw blade
- glow stick
- small flashlight
- toilet paper
- plastic bags
Use your imagination! It can be helpful to wrap all of the supplies in a piece of clear wrap to keep it dry and make it easier to take everything out.
Here are some fun YouTube videos with other ideas for hiking staffs that you may be interested in watching:
As boys participate in hikes with their Pack, Den or family, their mileage is recorded and they receive recognition for those hiked miles in the form of beads which are displayed on lanyards attached to the Hiking Staff. Each bead represents 1 mile hiked, and they are color coded as follows:
Miles 1-10: Black Beads
Miles 11-20: Brown Beads
Miles 21-30: Red Beads
Miles 31-40: Orange Beads
Miles 41-50: Yellow Beads
Miles 51-60: Green Beads
Miles 61-70: Blue Beads
Miles 71-80: Violet Beads
Miles 81-90: Grey Beads
Miles 91-100: White Beads
Miles should be hiked in ‘natural’ settings (parades in which the Pack participates is an exception to this rule). The assistant cubmaster will take care of recording miles hikes with the Pack or individual Dens. If scouts hike with their families, they can receive credit for those miles as well if their parent fills out the Pack 24 Hiking Staff Mileage Report. Please note that the rules listed on the form must be adhered to for the scout to receive credit.
Family milage form for hiking is available at:
Beads are also awarded in recognition of nights that the scout has spent camping out at a Cub Scout event (family camping trips are not counted). Like the Hiking Beads, Camping Beads go onto their own lanyard (based on color) displayed on the Hiking Staff. Each bead represents 1 night spent camping with the Cub Scouts. Color coding is as follows:
Nights 1-10: White Beads
Nights 11-20: Yellow Beads
Nights 21-30: Blue Beads
Like hiking, camping needs to take place in a “natural” setting to count towards Camping Beads. To earn Pack 24 Camping Beads, you must meet the following requirements. One bead is awarded for one day and night of camping with the scout’s den or pack.
What Counts for Camping Beads:
- Sleeping in tents.
- Staying at a rustic cabin (no electricity).
- Staying in a cabin at a Scout Camp during the winter.
- Under the open skies.
- Overnight summer camp.
- You participated in setting up and breaking camp.
- You participated in camp chores.
- You participated in camping activities (hiking, swimming, nature exploration, conservation projects, etc)
- A full day of camping counts as a “day”, late arrival and early departure days together count as a “day”.
What Doesn’t Count for Camping Beads:
- Luxury motor homes.
- Motels, family cabins, or indoor Cub Scout ‘sleepover’ events.
- When you do not participate in setting up or breaking down camp.
- When you do not participate in camping type activities.
- Non-scouting camping (although we are very glad that you are doing that!)
Please make sure that your son understands the need to help set up and break camp, as well as participating in camp chores and camping activities in order to earn a camping bead.
Suggested Hikes around Niantic
There are many great parks and game-lands around Niantic which make great hiking destinations. Below are some suggestions which may prove to be helpful to families looking for a great place to “Go take a hike!”:
Rocky Neck State Park
Bluff Point State Park
nehantic State Forest
The Day article on hikes around the area
If you have completed other hikes that you think should be listed, please send the details firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Hiking Resources
Besides the hikes listed above, here are additional resources related to hiking in connecticut. If you have other resources to share.
State Parks and Forests Maps