Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Don’t Fight Your Pack"

An excerpt from: “The Book of Camp-Lore and Wood Craft” originally written by Dan Beard in 1920.

When we speak of ‘fighting the pack’, we mean fighting the load; that does not mean getting one’s load up against a tree and punching it with one’s fists or ‘kicking the stuffings out of it’, but it means complaining and fretting because the load is uncomfortable.…the mind has as much to do with carrying the load as the muscles. If the mind gives up you will fall helpless under a small load; if the mind is strong you will stagger along under a very heavy one.

When I asked a friend, who bears the scars of the pack straps on his body, how he managed to endure the torture of such a load, he replied with a grin that as soon as he found that to ‘fight his pack’ meant to perish – meant death!-he made up his mind to forget the blamed thing and so when the pack wearied him and the straps rubbed the skin off his body, he forced himself to think of the good dinners he had had at the Camp-fire Club of America, yum! yum! Also, of all the jolly stories told by the toastmaster and of the fun he had had at some other entertainments. Often while thinking of these things he caught himself laughing out loud as he trudged along the lone trail, FORGETTING the hateful pack on his back. ‘In this way’, said he, with a winning smile upon his manly and weather-beaten face, ‘I learned how not to fight the pack but to FORGET IT! Then he braced himself up, looked at the snow-capped mountain range ahead, hummed a little cowboy song and trudged on over the frozen snow at a scout’s pace.

Now that you know what a pack is, and what ‘fighting the pack’ means, remember that if one’s studies at school are hard, that is one’s pack. If the work one is doing is very hard, difficult, or tiresome, that is one’s pack. If one’s parents are worried and forget themselves in their worry and speak sharply, that is one’s pack. Don’t fight your pack; remember that you are a woodcrafter; straighten your shoulders, put on your scout smile and hit the trail like a man!

If you find you are tempted to break the Scout Law, that you are at times tempted to forget the Scout Oath, that because your camp mates use language unfit for a woodcrafter or a scout, and you are tempted to do the same, if your playmates play craps and smoke cigarettes, and laugh at you because you refuse to do so, so that you are tempted to join them, these temptations form your pack; don’t give in and fall under your load and whimper like a ‘sissy’ or a ‘mollycoddle’, but straighten up, look the world straight in the eye, and hit the trail like a man!

Some of us are carrying portage packs which we can dump off our shoulders at the end of the ‘carry’, some of us are carrying hiking packs which we must carry through life and can never dump from our shoulders until we cross the Grand Portage from which no voyagers ever return. All our packs vary in weight, but none of them is easy to carry if we fret and fume and complain under the load."

What great words of wisdom, that we can all learn from as we carry our "packs" on hikes and through life.

1 comment:

Kim said...


I was online looking for a cub scout pack in Walkersville for my son and came upon your blog. How can I get in touch with you about possibly joining? My son is in 1st grade. Thanks.