All of my trips are learning-intensive, regardless of length, location, or the group’s experience level or fitness. Learning occurs at two times:
- Beforehand, through the Planning Curriculum, detailed below; and
- In the field, detailed on the Field Curriculum page
I’m a firm believer that the most 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, and with boundary-pushing trips it’s probably a requirement. As an extreme example, I spent six months planning the Alaska-Yukon Expedition, which then took another six 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
Week 2: Environmental & Route Condition Assessment
- Condition assignments
- 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
- Client gear list feedback
- Group gear
- The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide – Part 2, except chapters on food and water
- The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide – Part 3, all relevant gear lists
Week 5: Training
- Fitness expectations
Week 6: Food
- Breakfast and dinner menus
- Daytime/snack calculations and recommendations
- The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide – Part 2, Food chapter
Week 7: Route mapping
- Route vision & creation
- Mapset creation & printing
- The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide – Part 2, Navigation
Week 8: Last-minute odds-and-ends
- Emergency preparedness
- Questions regarding gear, supplies, or logistics
- Weather update