By Tan Jen Kai
Today, the troop embarked on a troop expedition from Macritchie Reservoir to the peak of Bukit Timah Hill. This hike served as a test of our mental resilience and physical forte, as we trekked through dense vegetation and journeyed along the long winding roadways, clocking a distance of approximately 25 km. While this hike was executed with zero injuries and mishaps, it would not have been possible without the thorough and meticulous planning beforehand.
Planning a troop hike/expedition requires a detailed and comprehensive scheme as well as forward thinking in order for the plan to succeed.
Firstly, we have take into account the weather conditions for the actual day of the hike. This involved referring to the weather forecast and monitoring the forecast closer to the actual day. To take further precautions, we would include poncho in the individual packing list to ensure that our plan can still be carried out in the event of unfavourable rainy conditions. Secondly, we need to recognise the terrain that the scouts would have to maneuver in. In this case, we are able to equip the scouts with the proper gear and equipment such as hiking shoes, spare food rations, as well as the miscellaneous items such as a map, compass and first aid kit. Most importantly, one needs to be aware of his strengths and weaknesses. They need to know their own physical limits, so that they know how fast and far they can cover in the allocated time. With all these in mind, we started our recee from Macritchie Reservoir to Bukit Timah Hill and we learnt that even if we moved fast, other factors such as other people blocking the way, could be a hindrance and slow us down (for instance during the canopy bridge walk where it was suited for people to walk in a single line one by one). As we had prepared and also tested the entire hike ourselves, we could then easily gauge the scouts' performance under the same circumstances that we had gone through and factor in additional time to ensure that the hike would not be an impossible feat to overcome. On the day of the actual hike, the troop split up into its various level-based patrols and were assigned to ventures and leaders for supervision throughout the hike. The scouts first practiced triangulation with respect to the white pavilions across the boardwalk they were standing on. This activity tested their orienteering competencies and helped to recognise their strengths and weaknesses in that area. After following the different checkpoints marked out by coordinates in decimal degrees (DD), the troop reached the base of Bukit Timah Hill. With a last burst of energy and vigour, everyone pushed on as they trudged up the inclined paths to the summit of the hill. There was a sense of accomplishment as everyone reached the top of the hill, 2 hours ahead of schedule. After taking a troop photograph to mark this occasion and challenge that we had overcome together as one scout group, we proceeded to take the other route of stairs around the hill and reach the summit again. Overall, this troop expedition has displayed the essence of planning and strategic thinking to execute an event smoothly without any major setbacks. Coupled with the knowledge of the weather, terrain and one's strengths and weaknesses, this is yet another key factor to success in any endeavour we undertake.
them to complete the hike without us ourselves, trying out the route first.