While participating in the ODAN program, the instructors required that we keep logbooks detailing the relevant facts during each of our hard skills courses as well as any outdoor activities we opted to pursue personally.

Our hard skills courses included anything from swiftwater rescue to camp craft to winter camping and onwards.

Filling Out Logbooks

We tracked the date and location of the skill or activity, the length of time we participated in it, the weather, the leader of the group, the group size and then we made notes on the facts of the day, any noteworthy events, and any lessons learned or changes we would make the next time. The outdoors industry will often consider how many hours a person has spent in the field in determining whether or not that person is employable.

I created excellent habits by logging those details that I take into the field with me when I guide Wild Women Expeditions trips.

Logbooks and … Journaling?

I’ve also expanded upon some of those details. I’ll sit in my tent at the end of a day, headlamp shining onto the Rite-in-the-Rain notebook that now serves as my log and not only jot down the facts but dwell on the subjective. Noteworthy events and lessons learned are of course important. So are: which clients seem to be having the trip of their lives. Which clients perhaps need a one-on-one morale booster in the morning over a cup of coffee. What campsites work well for our groups. What flora and fauna we noticed throughout the day. Snippets of overheard conversations.

inside my logbooks

Maybe it is the WWE company culture. Maybe it’s my writer’s observation brain finally kicking in. Either way I’ve come to appreciate this wind down activity. It allows me to remember trips and people more distinctly and adds depth to all of my trips.

How do you (or do you at all) log or journal your trips? Let me know in the comments below.

2 Responses to “Logbooks

  • When I started canoetripping w my partner 4 years ago, I began a logbook. As he is the trip planner/navigator, it’s my way to keep track of where we’ve gone and what we’ve encountered along the way. It also helps to remind me of what our menu was and what worked or didn’t work. The journal has also become the place to add to the master list of what to pack and fav recipes. The journals have resolved disputes about the details of trips and been great conversation starters of all we’ve forgotten!

    • Love it – especially the part about resolving disputes about details. 🙂

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