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20 Mile Hike

September 28, 2011

So, part of Scouting is being outdoors – and hiking is done outdoors. Ann Gentle would like to help Mid-America Council Scouts out. Check out the guest post from Ann below.


Troop 42 Hiking Merit Badge Counselor Ann Gentle invites Scouts and Scouters from other MAC Troops to join in their 20-mile hike October 15th, Safety Briefing starting at 0745.

This invitation is intended for Scouts who are already working on the Hiking Merit Badge. Scouts and adults: if you have not hiked a few 10+-milers fairly recently, DO NOT make this your first hike. The way is essentially flat, but 20 miles is not for beginners.

Bring your signed blue cards. Class B attire appreciated but not required. Other Scout leaders definitely welcome! Will need at least one other adult for two-deep leadership requirements.

Expect 9 hours on the trail including breaks. This is a requirement for Hiking Merit Badge, but all Scouts and family members are welcome. We’ll meet at the playground near the Wabash trailhead across the street from Iowa School for the Deaf. (Follow signs off I-29 south. When in doubt, turn right.) $1 donation per person requested by the Iowa Trails Foundation.

If you’d like a shorter hike in the interim, or if you have questions, please contact me as soon as possible.

Required for the hike:

Minimum 2 liters water. Gatorade’s okay for some of your liquid, but be sure you have at least half water.
Minimum 2 sandwiches or wraps that include protein (PBJ a good choice). No mayo! Hint: if you freeze your PB & J, they’ll be thawed but still cool when you’re ready to eat them.
Other snacks that include protein and or salt (peanuts, raisins, granola, slim jim / jerky, edamame, dried fruit)
Apples taste great while hiking though they are relatively heavy

Hat, sunscreen, bug spray, sunglasses
Dress for the weather, carry an emergency poncho or garbage bag or light jacket
You must have appropriate footwear. Hiking boots or trail shoes with hiking socks preferred. The trail is packed dirt with a layer of pea gravel on top. Some athletic shoes are sturdy enough for a 20-mile hike but some are not; use your best judgment. Very heavy hiking boots with stiff soles/deep lugs will not be necessary or comfortable. This is not the hike for breaking in new shoes!

The Backwoods store is friendly to Scouts. If you have a question about what’s appropriate and can’t reach a fellow Scout, you can stop in there; they’re very helpful. (They also offer a Scout discount on certain items.) 305 N 78th St.

Bring an empty plastic grocery bag for collecting trash along the trail. Hikers may work in teams. The team with the most trash collected at the halfway/turnaround point (Mineola) will win a prize. We’ll repeat the contest on the way back.

20 miles / 9 hours is a long time. To keep up your interest, other contests that can earn prizes en route: impromptu sprint contests, first Scout to identify poison ivy, Hiking MB & Leave No Trace knowledge quizzes, and so on.

I’ll have a first aid kit. There is a port-a-john at the playground where we start. If Jack’s Steakhouse in Mineola is open, we may have access to their bathroom at the halfway point or they may have a port-a-john up; this is not guaranteed.

No pets this time, no ipods or other electronic devices. You may bring a cell phone for emergencies; please plan not to use it otherwise.

In case of lightning or heavy rain, we will reschedule.

RSVP’s appreciated.

Ann Gentle

One Comment leave one →
  1. Ann Gentle permalink
    October 10, 2011 16:27

    We have changed our hike to a 10-miler, same place and start time. We’ve rescheduled our 20-mile hike to Dec. 10, same place and start time.

    Ann Gentle
    Troop 42

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