Room to Roam: Take That Hike!

By: Terry Ellis for the Alamo Area Council, August 11, 2017 

Fun Can Be So Simple

Camps are over and it is so Hot, but I remember some great hikes as a youth and with cooler weather a few months off I will be ready to hit the trail.

The Flaming Arrows, my patrol back in Troop 66 in Oklahoma decided to earn the Hiking Merit Badge. Four of us completed the four, ten mile hikes together, and one of the highlights was a big mug of root beer at Bob’s Drive-in. We somehow routed those hikes to end there.

Another goal we set and met was if we collected pop bottles while hiking we might earn enough to get an official BSA bugle for $10.00. We stashed them all along our trail and one of our dad’s picked them up for us at the end of the day. We were the only patrol with a bugle in the Troop. Thanks Coca Cola, Nehi, and all of the others.

Hiking can be good exercise, help boys earn badges, and provide a lot of fun.

I was sent to a school several years ago to run an after school program for 4th and 5thgraders with no plan other than what I could dream up. So I grabbed my hiking staff lined up the boys and outside we went.

It was an older school so it had a large school yard with lots of trees. Ten boys watched me stick my staff in every hole in the foundation and behind every bush. Geez we saw all kinds of bugs and spiders and even picked up a little trash. I saw some birds in a low area over a rise so they got down low and moved slowly towards them. I whispered charge and they ran and came close to catching one.

One little voice I heard said “this is more fun than being inside.” Then we walked around naming trees and taking votes on which one was the most beautiful and on and on for an hour.

THEY had fun and we had little planned, but used our imaginations. Just think with your Den or Patrol, with water bottles, a staff, and a fanny pack with trail food the adventures your boys can have.

I asked some of our staff about their favorite trails on our properties.

Ken Lamb, the Bear Creek Scout Reservation Director, recommends hiking the Rickenbacker Trail at Bear Creek. It starts in the valley and passes Ghost Cave and ends at Sika Hill (Burnt Hill) Sika Hill is the second highest point at the camp, but also has the best views on the property.

Mark Sanchez, Armadillo Scout Service Executive, who used to work at the Mays Family Scout Ranch, likes to hike down to the Medina River from the parking lot. There is a high bluff along the river with beautiful views and he comes back along Elm Creek where you will see more wildlife and many trees. Mark said he has even found arrowheads on his hikes.

Ted Borcherding, Scout Service Area Coordinator, likes to hike across the dam at McGimsey Scout Park and follow the road in the back along the road winding up at the Dining Hall. He likes to stop in the campsites along the way looking for different animals like deer, rabbits, and hawks.

Hiking for all ages just takes imagination and natural areas are near, but away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Here are some more ideas for fun:

  • Some Cub Packs have hikes in December to cut cedar trees for Christmas.
  • Many a Scout has had his first cooking experience while on a trail.
  • Hike and find good pieces of wood for hiking staffs and have them carve their initials.
  • Add award attainment to the day – whittling chit, tree and plant identification, and some other skills like hiking first aid.
  • Hike to a “hidden fishing hole”.
  • Do a cleanup and make it into a hike.
  • The Historical Missions Trail.

Ideas for hiking fun and the possibilities on our properties are unlimited as we have ROOM TO ROAM in the Alamo Area Council.