So you pulled the trigger and you are about to lead your first trail. Right on. What can you do ahead of time to make it at great day on the trail?
Doing things ahead of time will take the stress off of doing them all at the last second. Please share some tips on things you can do as a trail leader BEFORE you start having people sign the waivers at the meet-up place.
Pre-run the trail if it has been a few years. Even if you pre-ran the trail at the leader training event, Easter Jeepers or a flash flood can alter a trail quite a bit. Maybe you don't pre-run the entire thing. Maybe just that confusing part so you have it down SOLID. do it with a friend right before Cruise Moab or maybe in the afternoon if you have time. You can cover a lot of ground fast with just a couple trucks.
Ask around camp or ask the trail boss about finding out who might have some current information about the trail conditions. "Hey Bill! I heard you lead gold bar yesterday. How is butt scratch" this year?"
Make sure you have a trail map. Even if you know the 'Spike by heart, do you know the best way to bail out with a damaged truck? No shame in borrowing a trail book. I borrow a Well's book from Neil Q. every year.
Got GPS? We'll try to share track logs of all the trails so you can reference a GPS device while you are on the trail. See if you can at least get the key turns loaded on your GPS even if you can't get a complete track log.
Know where the trail boss has the crappers, satellite phones, trail packets and stuff? Know where you need to meet everyone in the morning? Are you sure about the time? Some trails start (mighty) early!
All of this stuff can be done the night before the trail ride.
Cheeseman taught me a great one. Arrive extra early at the meeting place.
Just sit there and collect your thoughts, enjoy your coffee and the solitude for a minute before everyone starts showing up. Go over in your head what you want to cover in your morning meeting. Look through the trail leader packet and get the child and adult waiver forms ready to go.
Relax. It is going to be a good day on the trail.
We'll start a fresh thread later on about "What to do at the meet-up point."
For now let's share some ideas on how you can prepare to lead a trail.