First Class Hike

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Planning a First Class hike takes some careful consideration, but if done properly can be a very rewarding experience. You will be taking responsibility of other Scouts without adults present, so it is a task to be taken seriously.

Planning your hike

Use the following guide as a checklist for your hike planning document:

  1. Cover page with a nice picture, your name, Troop name, start and end points of hike, and dates
  2. Index Page with page reference
  3. Hike Introduction: Why are you doing this hike?
  4. Hiking Party:
    • Scouts attending
    • current advancement level
    • age
    • hiking experience and ability
  5. Objectives for team members and aim of the hike: what you want to achieve and why you chose this route; what your hike party wil get out of this hike?
  6. Information about the mountain/reserve you will be hiking on
  7. Map to starting point and brief description on how to get there
  8. Transport arrangements (names of drivers as per permit, provide contact details, copy of drivers license)
  9. Description of hike route:
    • Describe entire route with overnight spots
    • Maps of entire hike, with the route clearly marked --> Day 1 and Day 2 etc. Show the elevation over the route. Preferably in colour.
    • Detailed description of major legs of your hiking route (not more than 3km sections): How long will each leg take, the distance, what will the terrain look like, uphill/downhill, waterpoints expected, etc.
    • Description of overnight stops
    • Description and location on map of water refill points
    • Show the emergency exit paths. These should be marked on map, and you should describe when and under what circumstances you would use them.
    • Proposed hike time log (estimations): time, distance, estimated time. Description of Naismith's Rule and how you used it to estimate hiking times.
  10. Fauna and Flora: Describe plants, flowers and animals that can be found in the area (with pictures). Specifically endangered species you should avoid disturbing. Pay attention to dangerous or endangered animals you may encounter.
  11. Weather forecast and synoptic charts (within 5 days of the hike, updated 24 hours before). Details of how you plan to confirm safe hiking weather before the hike should be included. You are expected to add your pre-hike weather report to your final logbook.
  12. Personal Kit List (incl. personal pocket first aid kits)
  13. Patrol Kit List: list which items each member will be carrying
  14. Survival Kit List: must not weigh more than 500g
  15. Menu, recipes and ingredients needed for each meal item.
  16. Budget and costing for meals, permits, transport, etc.
  17. Copy of letters to parents, permits, bookings, consent forms
  18. Details on how a backpack should be correctly packed (included in letter to Scouts)
  19. Confirmation from each member via email/handwritten
  20. Copy of the Outdoor Code
  21. Copy of the Regional Scout Emergency Procedure
  22. Emergency contact numbers (confirm they are saved on a cellphone that will be with you)
  23. Blank Page for Examiner's Comments and STA Instructions

Assign jobs

Giving your hiking party jobs will help to give everyone a sense of responsibility and ownership of the hike. Some examples:

  • First Aider
  • Conservationist
  • Geologist
  • Photographer
  • Botanist
  • Cook

Hike food

Planning a proper hike menu is very important. You need to make sure that the food meets everyone's dietary requirements, is lightweight and non-perishable, and nutritious.

See Hike food for more info.

Hike logbook

The hike logbook is an important record of your hike. It should reflect on how your objectives were met, what went well and what could have improved, and should also allow another Scout patrol to be able to hike the same route using your log as a guide.

Logbook checklist

  1. Cover
  2. Contents Page
  3. Hike introduction including:
    • Scout's name
    • date of hike
    • names of the members in the hiking party
  4. Outdoor Code
  5. Kit List
  6. Contents of First Aid Kit
  7. Any projects assigned by the examiner
  8. Map of route with route highlighted
  9. Hike Permit issued by Permit System
  10. Parent Consent Forms
  11. Weather Forecast
  12. Menu
  13. Budget for permits if required AND the food
  14. The route log (roughly 4 pages per day)
  15. Flora and Fauna Report
  16. Strip maps/Strip log for every page of the log
  17. Rough notes written on actual hike included in this log book

Logbook hints

  • Keep a small notebook and pencil handy on your hike and use it! Make small notes about your route, and note the time and location relevant to your note. You could give each note a number and mark that number on your map for later.
  • Make your logbook interesting, neat and factual. It does not need to be a work of art.
  • Use the 24-hour clock, e.g. 18:00 rather than 6:00pm

Example route log

Time Direction Leg distance Report Cumulative distance
10:00 320° 800m From overnight camp at Mpame, hiked WNW up Grassy hills. (Indian Ocean 1km left) indigenous forest on the right. Hills ahead dotted with Tembu huts. Maize in poor condition, due to drought and primitive husbandry i.e. downhill ploughing no weed clearance; lack of crop rotation etc. and cattle overstocking See report on pg21. 0.8km
10:35 270° 600m Turned left off track onto footpath for 300m, now on NW footpath. Path then veers left into indigenous forest. Hiked 220m SW through forest to Manzimyama River Passing over small tributary which rises in the forest. Crossed over the Manzimyama walking on slab rock. and continued inland. 1.4km
11:05 255° 300m Proceeded out of the forest and up hill for 150m, then along the rolling escarpment about 4 kilometres inland from sea. John has a sore leg and is limping a bit which is slowing us down a bit. 1.7km
11:20 180° 700m Turned due south towards the sea, down a slope to dense fynbos, with rocky path, badly eroded. The path emerged from bush to swing sharp right again into the bush, then SE out of the bush. 2.4km
12:00 135° 900m Country beautiful but largely unchanging. Continued down undulating ground through Tembu maize fields, to reach the hill approx 170m above sea level. We have glorious coastal views from here. 3.3km
12:40 190° 800m Covered final 800m down very steep grassy slope and along the beach to lunch stop at the Bulumgula river. Lunched on bully beef, baked beans Provita, orange and a mug of coffee. 4.1km
14:00 185° 700m Left lunch stop and proceeded along the beach. The shells along this coast, including Cowries, Cones, Carpensis, Conch etc. are prolific. See nature report on page 23. 4.8km
14:20 180° 200m Reached the tidal river mouth which is 750mm deep, wide and swift, with sharks presenting a crossing hazard at times. Roped together with our toggle ropes we crossed a little upstream at a narrower point. 5.0km
14:35 255° 500m Turned inland on a very rocky, steep path which leads back to fynbos. 5.5km

See also