Each must get up and tell a short story. No excuses allowed. It is better to try and fail, than not to try. The one who fails to try is a quitter.
Mark off on a stick your idea of a yard, a foot, and an inch.
Show a war club made by yourself. Dance a step.
Sing a song "Mary's Little Lamb" - if you can do no better.
Lay a pole to point to true north.
Draw a map of North America from memory in ten minutes.
Show a piece of wood-carving by yourself, it may be a picture frame, a spool, an image, a doll, a box, or a peach basket - but do it.
Give an imitation of some animal - dog, cat, monkey, mouse, bird, or any wild creature you have seen.
Let each, in turn, read some one poem, and try who can do it best.
Play the part of an Indian woman finding her warrior dead.
I think it is a good rule in hiking, never to set out with the determination that you are going to show how hardy you are. It is as bad as setting out to show how smart you are. "Smart Aleck" always lands in the gutter. Do not set out to make a record. Record breakers generally come to grief in the end. Set out on your hike determined to be moderate. That is, take a few fellows; not more than a dozen. Plan a moderate trip, of which not more than half the time must be consumed in going and coming.
For example, if it is Saturday afternoon, and you must be home by six o'clock, having thus four hours, I should divide it in two hours' travel, going and coming, and two hours' exploration. Three miles is a moderate walk for one hour, so that should be the limit of distance that ordinarily you tramp from your starting point. At five o'clock all hands should gird up their loins and face homeward.
These are some rules I have found good in hiking: Do not go in new shoes.
Be sure your toe nails and corns are well pared before going. Do not take any very little or weak fellows. Be prepared for rain. Take a pair of dry socks.
Travel Indian file in woods, and double Indian file in roads.
Take a book of Woodcraft along. Always have with you a rule and tape line, knife, some string, and some matches.
Take a compass, and sometimes a pocket level. Take a map, preferably the topographical survey. Take a notebook and a pencil.
Do not waste time over things you can do as well, or better, at home.
And last, and most important, it is wise to set out with an object.
Here are samples of the ideas I have found useful as objects for a short hike in winter:
To determine that hard maple (or other timber) does or does not grow in such a woods.
To prove that a certain road runs north and south.
To decide whether the valley is or is not higher than the one across the divide.
To prove that this or that hill is higher than such a one.
To get any winter fungi.
To look for evergreen fern.
To get, each, 100 straight rods, 30 inches long, to make Indian bed, of willow, hazel, kinnikinik, arrowwood, etc.
To get wood for rubbing-sticks, or for a fire-bow.
To get horns for a Caribou dance.
If there is snow, to take, by the tracks, a census of a given woods, making full-size drawings of each track - that is, four tracks, one for each foot; and also give the distance to the next set.
If there is snow, to determine whether there are any skunk dens in the woods, by following every skunk trail until it brings you to its owner's home.
Now, be it remembered that, though I always set out with an object, I find it wise to change whenever, after I get there, some much more alluring pursuit or opportunity turns up. Any one who sticks to a plan, merely because he started that way, when it turns out to be far from the best, is not only unwise, he is stupid and obstinate.