The hiking merit badge is not for those who have a weak heart. But if you love hiking so much and commit to earn hiking, you will be able to show what you have to become and Eagle scout. In order to get the hiking merit badge, you will have to complete the scary 20-miler and 4 other hikes that are longer than 10 miles for each. This could even be insane for most adults.
As you can guess, earning such a badge is not that easy. But once you have managed to earn it, it can be ensured that it would be one of your most rewarding and precious experiences in your life. You will be proud to wear it on your hiking outfit. You will need at least a full month to earn this hiking badge. So, if you are eager to get it, spare your time from now on to thoroughly review and understand the requirements so that you will be able to plan accordingly.
The Requirements for the Hiking Merit Badge
- Explain to your counselor the most possible dangers that you may face while hiking. Moreover, explain about what you should do to prevent, anticipate, decrease, and respond to the dangers you have explained.
- Show your counselor that you know and understand well the first aid for illnesses and injuries that could happen during hiking. They include heatstroke, dehydration, hypothermia, frostbite, hyperventilation, sunburn, heat exhaustion, blisters, sprained ankles, insect stings, snakebite, tick bites, and altitude sickness.
- Explain, and if possible, show the points of good hiking practices that include hiking safety during the daytime and at night, proper outdoor ethics, politeness to others, options for footwear, and proper care of footwear and foot.
- Explain how hiking can be included as an aerobic activity. Establish a plan on how to condition yourself for 10-mile hikes. Also, describe how you will enhance your physical health and fitness for longer hikes.
- Perform these 5 following hikes; one 5-mile hike, three 10-mile hikes, and one 15-mile hike. These hikes have to be taken exactly like the order. Perform each hike on a different day and each of continuous miles.
- You are allowed to stop to take a rest for as many periods as needed. You can also enjoy one meal during each hike, but not for a long period. For example, for overnight. You should also prepare a written hiking plan before each hike. Then, share it with your counselor or designee. The plan includes map routes and a list of clothing, hiking equipment, and items for a trail lunch.
- Take a 20-mile hike continuously in a day following the written hike plan that you have already prepared. You are allowed to stop for a short rest as many as needed. You can also take a meal. But once again, you are not allowed to take the rest or meal for a long period, such as overnight.
- Write a short reflection about your experience after completing each of the hikes mentioned in the requirements number 4 and number 5. Give dates and any descriptions related to your hiking experience. For example, the weather, the routes you take, and anything interesting things you saw during your hike. You can also include what you learn about the wild, nature, and others who accompanied you while hiking. Share this with your counselor.
In order to summarize it, requirements 1 to 4 your knowledge and understanding about hiking and trail safety. While requirements 5 to 8 are based on actual hikes that you have to complete. You will also have to prepare a pre-hike plan and post-hike report for each of the hikes you have finished. If you already understand the requirements, here are the guides to answer the knowledge requirements.
Explain to Your Counselor the Most Possible Dangers You May Face During Hiking
There are various different kinds of dangers that could possibly happen while you are hiking. As a true hiker, you should be resourceful and think well. You are required to be able to handle most unexpected dangers as quickly as possible. There are 4 common kinds of dangers that generally happen during a hike. They are dangerous terrain, difficulty navigating, injury from wild animals or insects, and unexpected conditions.
Stability and balance are the key when it comes to securely navigating a dangerous terrain. In order to prevent any accidents in such dangerous terrain, you have to make sure that you are able to identify potential dangers. Moreover, do not forget to carefully act in such a dangerous area. While in order to handle difficulty in navigating, make sure you do not get panicked in the first place. You are also suggested to create a shelter to protect yourself and keep you warm. This is also the reason why it is important to make a trek plan before you are going hiking.
Show Your Knowledge of the First Aid for Illnesses or Injuries that Can Happen
The cause of hypothermia is when the core body temperature falls below 95ºF. The mild symptoms of hypothermia is confusion and shivering. In more dangerous cases, the victim may pass out. If you notice someone is suffering from hypothermia, you should immediately warm them by using fire, extra clothes, or through body heat. But, do not suddenly place the victim in a hot shower or hot tub because this can cause rewarming shock.
On the other hand, heatstroke is opposite to hypothermia. The cause of heatstroke is when the core body temperature is more than 104ºF. If this condition is not immediately treated, it can cause seizures, confusion, losing consciousness, and even a coma. The common symptoms of heatstroke are dizziness, throbbing headaches, and feeling weak. If you notice someone is suffering from heatstroke, place them in a shady and cool area. Try to cool down their body temperature and give them a drink to prevent heat exhaustion.
So, are you ready to earn your hiking merit badge?