Hikers & Leaders Meeting

April 7, 2003

By Marshall Jay Kandell

The Obsidian Lodge was buzzing with activity on the evening of April 7, as 70 Obsidians — including 45 Summer Trip leaders — gathered for presentations, advice, display and door prizes.

Among the presentations was a round-table discussion on how “Everyone on the Hike Can Contribute to a Safe Trip”. On the panel were Ann-Marie Askew, George Baitinger, Allan Coons and Doug Nelson.

Ann-Marie stressed the importance of the parking lot briefing, especially for new and non-members. Doug emphasized communications and the importance of filing incident reports. He discussed hiker expectations and reminded leaders that they had several opportunities to give vital information to hikers and to answer any questions . . . on the sign-up sheet, in pretrip phone calls, at the parking lot and at the trailhead.

George focused on the fact that Obsidian hikes are “group” activities and that leaders should insist that hikers stick together. Both George and Allan talked about the agony of having lost hikers and making sure groups had appropriate rendezvous points and didn’t leave anyone in limbo at crossroads. Leaders were advised to be watchful at the outset for unprepared hikers (no pack, no food, no water, sandals, etc.) and be willing to turn them away, politely.

There was a lot of group discussion concerning both good and bad trip experiences and how they might have been handled differently. Being Obsidians, and this being Eugene, there wasn’t always total agreement. One interesting debate swirled around Ann-Marie’s suggestion of leaving your pack on the trail as a sign that you’ve gone behind a bush for some personal business. Apparently, that’s not a universally accepted or understood practice.

Following the round-table discussion, the contents of the leader trip packets were explained, with Sharon Ritchie going over the trip guide; Christine Stockdale discussing the sign-up sheet; Allan Coons covering the incident and accident report forms; Effie Neth the membership form; and John Jacobsen the all-important trip report.

Prior to the presentations, table displays filled the room. These included an REI display by Robert Woodsen; “What do Obsidians Carry in Their Packs?” by Kathy Hoeg, John Jacobsen, Doug Nelson and Jim Pierce; and “How Do You Use a Compass and maps?” by Wayne Deeter. Denny Schmidt staffed a table where members could register for the April 23 first aid class and buy Bill Sullivan’s books. And, throughout the room were brown bags in which to drop your name for door prize drawings and a “What’s Missing from this Pack?” table where Obsidian t-shirts were the reward for correct answers.

No report of this event would be complete without recognizing all the people who made it possible, starting with Summer Trips chairperson Janet Jacobsen. If anyone has ever figured out how to say “No!” to Janet, would you please let this reporter know the secret.

Janet re-worked the trip guidelines for this year and organized all the leader packet contents, with hubby John printing them out. Collaborating on the collating and stuffing of the packets were Janet, Margaret Prentice, Sandra Larsen, Sharon Ritchie, Sharon Duncan and Marshall Kandell. Helping to set up the Lodge were Ann-Marie, Margaret, Jeanne Schmidt, Janet, Barbara Schomaker and Colleen Milliman. Providing prizes were REI (Robert Woodsen), water bottles with goodies inside; Rite Aid, first aid kits; Bob Huntley, fanny pack; and Bill Sullivan, hiking books — as well as Bob Dark, Sharon Ritchie, Dorothy Turner, Bev Halter, Lenore & John McManigal and Janet. The Summer Trips Committee supplied the refreshments under the direction of Effie Neth.

If the enthusiasm of the evening is any indication of the excitement and pleasure to be experienced on this summer’s hikes, we’re in for a great season! Indeed, by being a contributing member of your hiking groups and by following the simple guidelines put forth by your leaders, you can help ensure enjoyable experiences for everyone. Be careful, and have fun!

Trip Leaders’ Meeting

At the Trip Leaders’ Meeting at the Lodge on April 7, the round table discussion provided an opportunity to share ideas and experiences. Points stressed by various speakers were:

  • Read the Trip Leaders’ Guide before hike.
  • Check to see if a permit is needed for hiking or parking.
  • Keep accident report in First Aid Kit. Good idea to have pencil and paper in backpack.
  • Assess non-members for food, water, etc. expectations. Before trip explain general rules for the hike. Good time to go over names before hike. Estimate time of returning from trip.
  • Explain conditions of hike. List exposure to sun, wind, snow. On- or off-trail hiking. Elevation — e.g. This hike is three Pisgahs in one day. Leader can have copy of trail hike map and pass out copies no hikers.
  • Leaders stay with cars until all cars start in parking lot for return trip. (Also at trail head.)
  • How to take a safe bathroom break! Let someone know you are leaving for a break.
  • Remember this is a group activity. Keep group together; most problems occur when people get separated from group.
  • At intersections, general rule is to wait for leader and instructions.
  • Leader can point out potential problems. Have group turn and look back if problem area is behind the group.
  • Communication is very important. Do not assume people have, and use, common sense.

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