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Baloo's Bugle


June Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 9, Issue 11
July Theme

A Hiking We Will Go
Webelos Aquanaut and Geologist
  Tiger Cub Activites



Go Hiking!!!                                                       

Circle Ten Council


Where To Find Trails

For the kinds of hiking you're likely to do as a beginner, you'll need trails. Luckily, there are trails almost everywhere in the city, in the suburbs, in the forest, near beaches, up mountains, near your neighborhood and all over the world. This means that people who like hiking can have fun just about anywhere. In fact, sometimes a hiker's biggest problem is choosing where to hike next!

For information on trails close to or in your town or city, try calling or visiting the Chamber of commerce, the recreation department, the library, and any parks you already know about. Parks aren't the only place where there are lots of trails. The national forests, Bureau of Land Management areas, and wilderness areas all have trails available for hiking.

Take Only Pictures - Leave Only Footprints

Almost everywhere there are trails, there has to be a few rules to remind visitors about how to protect our trails. The two rules you are most likely to hear about are first "Pack it in, pack it out." There's no trash and garbage collection along the trail like there is in your neighborhood. Even if each visitor left only one bit of trash our trails would soon be a big garbage dump.  Note from Commissioner Dave – This is the policy for use of most State Parks in New Jersey – there is no garbage collection inside the park.  You brought it – you take it!

The second rule you will hear is "Take only pictures, leave only footprints." It's easy for most of us to see that if each visitor on the trail carried off an interesting rock or flower or pinecone or butterfly, soon all that would be left it a barren land. These sayings are just common sense -- and easy to remember.

Trail Walking

When you start hiking, you'll find that each person has her or his own pace and rhythm. Some walk fast some walk slowly. Some walk steadily and some keep speeding up and slowing down. Sometimes your hiking group will have a few fast hikers and a few slow hikers. This can make it hard to keep the group together - which is important, so that no one is left behind. You can make sure no one gets left by slowing the groups pace, stopping more often, and having the slowest hikers walk in the middle of the line. 

When the trail goes up a steep hill, many hikers shorten their stride and use the REST STEP. To do this, just pause for a second or two after you're swung a leg forward and have put it on the ground. That is, pause before you put your full weight on the leg. This will give it a little rest. When you go up a hill this way, you'll feel less tired at the top. It also helps to breathe more deeply when you find yourself huffing and puffing up a hill.

Hikers usually look forward to going downhill. But your toes and knees won't thank you if you go downhill too fast or for too long. So relax your knees (don't lock them), enjoy cooling down, look around you, and don't hurry on the downhill parts of a hike.

When the weather's hot, hike at a slow pace. Stop in the shade often for short rests and long drinks. Don't push yourself - heat exhaustion is no fun.  Soon, if you hike regularly, you'll figure out the right hiking pace and rhythm for you.

Trail Munchies

It is a good idea to avoid super sugary meltable snacks like chocolate bars. Instead, try some trail mixes. Many hikers "graze" their way up and down the trails. A few eat only at mealtimes. As a beginning hiker, you'll probably feel livelier if you snack often. There's no need to stop while you snack if you put your munchies where you can reach them easily. Many hikers put snacks in several pockets or on a walking stick

Water Water Water

Beside trail munchies another way to keep your energy up is to drink, drink, drink plenty of water. Because the human body's thirst indicator is a little slow to kick in, you'll need to drink EVEN WHEN YOU ARE NOT THIRSTY. As you go down the trail, image a sing dangling in front of you, like a carrot on a stick. The sign says, "DRINK!” In hot weather, drink at least a cup of water every 20 to 30 minutes. In cool weather, you can drink a little less often. Be sure to keep your water bottle where you can reach it without taking off your pack or stopping your walk. Hook it on your belt.


It's a good idea for beginning hikers to take a short rest every 20 to 30 minutes, or even more often if the trail is steep. While you're resting, take a drink. Munch. Look around you. You should rest for about 5-7 minutes before continuing your walk.


SNJC Pow Wow Book

Your Cubs will likely get bored if your hike is too long or you just walk – add fun to your hike by having a theme –


Knot Hike:            Along a path tie ropes around trees using knots. Instruct boys in advance of direction to go when they identify a particular knot. (Great for Webelos)

Rain Hikes:          Go dressed in raincoats for observation of nature in the rain.

Breakfast Hike: Reach the destination in time to see the sunrise then cook breakfast.

Shadow Hike: Walk only in the shadows.

Smell Hike: Sniff your way around the block and write down the odors you recognize.

Sound Hike: Listen your way around the block, write down the sounds you recognize.

Color Hike -         Look for objects of a preselected color.

City Hike:             Look for scraps of nature between cracks in the sidewalk. Look at buildings, carvings, and cornices. A vacant lot can provide a lot of interesting things.

Night Hike: See how different things look, smell, and sound at night.

String Along: Take a piece of string about a yard long on your hike. Every now and then, place the string in a circle on the ground. See how many different things you can find enclosed within the circle. Stretch the sting in a line - how many different things touch it.

Baby Hike: List all the babies seen (bird, fern, leaf, etc.)

Hiker's Injuries


Circle Ten Council

Hike only in well-broken in athletic shoes or hiking boots. When day hiking, wear thick, absorbent socks. If you're hiking and a spot on your foot starts to feel 'hot," stop. Take off your shoe and sock. Put a piece of moleskin on the hot spot. Now you probably won't get a blister. Next time you go hiking, put moleskin on the sensitive place before you start. If you do get a blister, ask someone who knows first aid to treat it for you.

Heat Exhaustion

If hikers get too hot while hiking, they may get heat exhaustion. When you feel faint and sick to your stomach and your skin is pale and sweaty, you may have heat exhaustion. Immediately lie down in a shady place, drink water, and rest. After you're feeling well again, you can continue hiking - slowly. And keep drinking lots of water.


Whether it's hot or cold, you can get a sunburn. If you're a few thousand feet above sea level, it's even easier to get a burn. Art higher altitudes, there is less of the earth's atmosphere to protect you from the sun's rays. Today, there's no excuse for getting a sunburn. All you need to do is use some sunblocking lotion and wear a hat with a brim on it.


Preventing Lyme Disease - Personal Protection Tips

From www.pomperaughhealth.org

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that are transmitted to humans by the bite of an infective black-legged tick, which are known as deer ticks.  These ticks are found everywhere – in woods and fields, at the shore, in the backyard. Ticks like to rest on low-lying brush and “catch a ride” on a passing animal or person. They bite year round. However, the peak season in the northeast is April – September. Here are some tips to reduce your chance of getting a tick bite: Avoid tick infested areas, when possible. When walking in the woods, stay on trails and try not to brush up against low bushes or tall grass. Wear light colored clothing, which will allow you to spot ticks more easily. Wear a long sleeve shirt and long pants. Tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks. If you cannot wear protective clothing, increase you vigilance in conducting tick-checks. Use an EPA-approved tick repellent.  Insect repellants containing no more than 30% DEET can be used on skin and clothing. Follow label directions carefully. Insect repellents must be used with caution – especially on children. Never apply insect repellents to a child’s hands and face. Always wash off the repellent when you return inside. Conduct a tick-check on clothing and exposed skin. You should also do a naked, full body examination at your earliest convenience. Be sure to check the scalp, behind and in the ears and behind any joints. Check your pets. Pets can get Lyme disease. They can also bring ticks into the house and put you and your family at risk.

There are also things you can do around your yard to reduce tick exposure. Prune trees, clear brush, remove litter and mow the grass often. Let grass dry thoroughly between waterings, because ticks need moist habitats to live.  Remove shrubby overgrowth between your lawn and woods.  Modify your property so that it is unattractive to animals that are hosts to ticks. Build fences around the property, clear away wood, garbage and leaf piles, and eliminate stone walls, bird feeders and bird baths. Widen trails and move play equipment to non-tick areas.  




Tick Tips

From www.lymediseaseinformation.com

1.        Wear long-sleeve shirts and pants if you're going to be walking through tick territory.

2.        Use insect repellent containing no more than 10% DEET, a chemical that repels bugs. Recommended for older family members.

3.        Tuck pant legs into socks or boots.

4.        Inspect yourself for ticks when you're back inside. Favorite hiding places include the scalp and ankles.

5.        Do not try to pry a tick from your skin by using an irritating agent such as nail polish or a hot match. Ticks should always be removed with fine-point tweezers. Disinfect the bite area with alcohol.


Safety First


Be in shape before you begin your hike.
Always allow yourself enough daylight to finish your hike.
Always dress sensibly and for any kind of weather.
Learn how to read maps and a compass.
Act in a mature and safe manner at all times.
Be aware of your environment.
Always carry a first aid kit

Stay on the trail. Trails are there for you to hike on. They are expensive to build and hard to maintain. You can help by hiking ONLY on the trail. There'll be times when you'll want to take a shortcut, especially when the trail is zigzagging - but please don't do it. When people take shortcuts all over the place, soon it's impossible to tell where the trail is. This makes it a lot easier to get lost. Short cutting can quickly destroy a beautiful area.

Pack it in, pack it out -This means everything, including toilet paper and chewed over gum.

Give a hoot, don't pollute - If there are no toilets near your trail, walk at least 100 feet (50 paces) from the trail - 300 feet from any water source - before using an outdoor, "do-it-yourself" toilet. Take someone with you or make sure you can still see the trail and your group.  For solid wastes, use a sharp rock or small trowel to dig a shallow hole. After you've finished, cover up the wastes with the dirt you just dug out.  Note from Commissioner Dave - With Cub Scouts hopefully you will have chosen your trails so this will not occur but remembering the Boy scout motto, “Be Prepared, ” I passed it along just in case.

Hike in small groups - It's easier to get to know and keep track of hikers in a small group (three to eight). Fewer people mean less trampling of plants and less disturbance of animals. A bonus is that you're more likely to see wildlife if your group is small and quiet. Also if one person becomes sick or injured, a second person can wait with the injured hiker while the third person goes to get help.

Help keep it wild - because people are going hiking to enjoy nature talk and walk quietly. NEVER bring along CD players, cassette player or radios. This way everyone can enjoy the sounds of nature and not the sounds of your bedroom!

Hiking is both a challenging and a rewarding experience. Hiking can be tiring, but it is also great exercise. You will find that hiking gives you an opportunity to experience nature and the world around you. Hiking also gives you the chance to spend quiet, peaceful times with closes friends or family.


Hiking Games

Viking Council

Stop And Spot Game

While hiking, the leader stops and says: " I spot a ______," naming a familiar object. Everyone in the group who sees the object will raise his hand or sit down. This sharpens the skill of observation.

Obstacle Course Game

Some boys have never climbed a tree, walked a log, gone through a fence, or chinned themselves on a tree branch. To give them this experience, pick a trail which will provide such an obstacle course. Don't destroy property or trespass.

Memory Hike Game

This game is played after a hike or a trip to the zoo or park. During the outing, tell the boys to observe everything very carefully so they can make a list of all that they have seen. Just after the outing, hand out paper and pencils and have the boys make their lists. See who was most observant.

Leaf Games

1. Leaf collecting contest - most different ones

2. Matching leaves found to those printed on a Bingo board

Discovery Hike

Use pebbles for counters. Agree on things to be discovered.  Each discovery counts a point and counter is thrown away. First one out of counters wins.

Here are some examples:
Each specified bird (1 point)
Each specified snake, insect, flower (1 point)
Each specified tree (2 points)
Each rabbit hole (2 points)
Nest of (?) Bird (2 points)
Tree struck by lightning (2 points)
Cow or horse (1 point)
Each animal track (2 points)


Grow A Sock

Heart of America Council






Dress each boy in an old pair of high (knee) socks.


Go for a walk through a densely vegetated area.

An empty lot overgrown with weeds would be excellent

Look at the socks! Then take them off.

Wet the entire sock

Place it in a cake pan placed on a slant.

Fill the lower portion of the pan with water so the sock remains wet. 

Place the pan in a warm place and watch the seeds sprout


Seed-head Shooters

Santa Clara County Council





Some kinds of wildflowers have seed heads left at the tops of their stems when the petals have fallen off.  Pull up a long-stemmed seed head and twist the stem around and over itself as shown. 


Using the thumb and forefinger of one hand, grip the bent stem near the seed head, and, in a quick, snapping motion, attempt to pull the seed head through the bent stem loop.  The seed head will shoot out (somewhere between a few feet and several yards, depending on the age of the stem and the skill of the shooter), and may hit a target.

 Grass-blade Whistle

Santa Clara County Council





Some people can do this, and others simply cannot, but everyone will enjoy giving it a try.  Pluck a long, flat blade of grass and hold it tight and taut between the edges of both thumbs.  The blade of grass should be in the middle of the gap between your thumbs.


Put your lips up against your thumbs and blow hard through the gap.  If you do it just right, the noise will sound like anything from a noisy mouse to a squawking elephant.


Make a Hiking Staff

Southern NJ Council

Start with a fairly sturdy stick about shoulder height

Cut off the excess branches.

Use a knife and a wood file to remove the bark.

Sandpaper and file staff until smooth.

Decorate as desired using acrylic paint or markers.

Varnish finished product.




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