Philmont Scout Ranch is one of three national camps operated by the Boy Scouts of America and is considered the “Holy Grail” to most Boy Scouts, often mentioned at a Scout’s Eagle Court of Honor as one of their most memorable experiences. Local Troop #509 of JPL sent a crew of seven Scouts and two adult advisors who successfully backpacked the 66 miles on trek 17, which included hiking to the summit of Mt. Phillips at an elevation of 11,237 feet.
Scouts trained in the local mountains for six months preparing for the rigorous trek at high elevations including San Gorgonio, which at 11,503 feet is the highest peak in Southern California.
The Philmont Boy Scout Ranch, located in the Sangre de Cristo range of the Rocky Mountains in New Mexico, is 215 square miles of mountain-filled sky-high wilderness ranging in elevation from 6,500 to 12,441 feet. “Philmont is all about personal challenge,” said Roger Wallace, one of the adult advisors on the trek. “Hiking and camping in a high altitude wilderness environment is a big change from everyday life. Carrying heavy backpacks up steep trails tests physical strength and mental courage to keep going despite feeling like you can go no further. Sharing tents, group cooking and other crew duties, is an experience in living together and cooperating with others under sometimes difficult circumstances. Overcoming these challenges builds self-confidence that we can triumph over all of life’s challenges and live in harmony with the world around us. There is a great sense of accomplishment at the end.”
Wallace added that the boys did “a great job” of working together earning the Philmont arrowhead patch and the 50 miler patch for completing a wilderness trek of 50 consecutive miles and 10 hours of service on a conservation project which was clearing the forest at 10,000 foot elevation for a new trail.
Beverly de Lucia