All of my trips are learning-intensive, regardless of length, location, or the group’s experience level or fitness. However, the instruction level is tailored for each group.
The curriculum has two parts:
- Planning, detailed below, and
- Field, detailed on the Field Curriculum page
I’m a firm believer that successful trips are planned, not winged. Certainly, you can wing a trip and still be successful. But your odds of success will increase if you are willing to do some planning beforehand. As an extreme example, I spent 6 months planning the Alaska-Yukon Expedition, which then took another 6 months to actually complete.
Your participation in the Planning Curriculum is required. This is an extremely important part of the experience, and the value you get from it is directly correlated to the level of your engagement. If you take the attitude that the course begins when you arrive at the trailhead, you will not be taking full advantage of this opportunity.
Communications and information sharing
Members of the group will communicate via Google Groups. Groups is like an email list, but it also has a web interface that is similar to an online forum and that hosts all previous communications, which is great if you registered late and missed early announcements.
To pool information, the group will also use Google Drive, which features cloud file storage, file sharing, and collaborative editing. Imagine Microsoft Office files hosted in “the cloud” by Google servers that be accessed simultaneously by you and others that have the correct permissions. Most importantly, we will use Drive to conduct an Environmental and Route Condition Assessment, to create our Gear Lists, to coordinate personal travel, and to reserve demo gear.
Groups does not require a Google account; however, an account is necessary to access the web interface. Drive requires a Google account. Therefore, if you do not already have a Google account, you will need to create one.
It takes about 8 weeks to complete the Planning Curriculum, at a casual pace. However, if a trip fills early, we may start the curriculum more than 8 weeks out, especially if I am traveling for events and other trips prior to our trip. The itinerary below is meant to be a rough schedule, i.e. it probably will not be followed exactly.
Week 1: Administrative
- Personal introductions
- Trip schedule
- Personal transportation
- Vendor discounts and coupon codes
Week 2: Environmental & Route Condition Assessment
- Condition assignments
- AllTrails PRO codes
- Report condition findings
- The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide – Part 1
- Be Prepared? Absolutely. But against what? Why and how to assess environmental and route conditions.
- Sample: Environmental and Route Condition Assessment
Week 3-4: Gear selection & gear lists
- Personal gear list templates
- Guides’ gear lists
- Demo gear reservations
- Client gear list feedback
- The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide – Part 2, pages 30-111, 122-127, 136-191
- The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide – Part 3, review all relevant gear lists
Week 5: Group gear selection
- Group gear list
Week 6: Food
- Breakfast and dinner menus
- Daytime/snack calculations and recommendations
Week 7: Route mapping
- Route vision & creation
- Mapset creation & printing
- The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide – Part 2, pages 112-121
- Creating and printing a custom mapset with TOPO!
Week 8: Last-minute odds-and-ends
- Emergency preparedness
- Questions regarding gear, supplies, or logistics
- Weather update