Troop 319 from La Crescenta sent two crews this summer to the Philmont Boy Scout High Adventure Camp in Cimarron, New Mexico. Philmont Scout Ranch, the Boy Scouts of America’s premier High Adventure base, challenges Scouts with more than 214 square miles of rugged northern New Mexico wilderness. The Scouts trained for two years under the supervision of Scout Master David Owens who scheduled monthly backpacking hikes to prepare the Scouts for this challenging trek. The adventure began on July 21 with the Scouts meeting at Dunsmore Park and then carpooling to Union Station to board the Amtrak Train to Raton, New Mexico.
From Raton the Scouts chartered a bus for Philmont Base Camp. The Scouts arrived a few days early so they had time to acclimate to the high elevation in which they would be hiking. The Scouts toured the Boy Scouts of America Museum located at Philmont and the home of Waite and Genevieve Phillips, the oil tycoons who donated the 127,000 acres to the Boy Scouts back in 1938 to build Philmont Boy Scout Ranch.
The Scouts spent 12 days in the wilderness backpacking through the rough terrain with all of their provisions that they would need in their packs.
“Philmont provides an unforgettable adventure in sky-high backpacking country along hundreds of miles of rugged, rocky trails. Program features combine the best of the Old West, horseback riding, burro packing, gold panning, chuck wagon dinners and living history provide exciting challenges each day. Rock climbing, fly-fishing, shooting, sports and more make for an unforgettable experience of fast-moving fun in the outdoors Philmont has 34 staffed camps and 70-plus trail camps that are operated by the ranch.
Philmont also has high mountains that dominate rough terrain with an elevation ranging from 6,500 to 12,441 feet. The two crews hiked each day to a new campsite where they would set up their tents for the day and participate in a variety of activities. The crew leader would check in at the campsite that they had arrived in and then the Scouts would set up their bear bags, dining fly and then their tents. They would participate in different activities at each campsite and then hike on to their next destination the next day. The Scouts put to good use all of their training to survive this very mentally and physically challenging adventure.
When the Scouts returned to base camp both crews were awarded the prestigious Arrowhead Award. It is awarded only to Scouts who successfully meet all of the challenges of the Philmont Expedition. These include attending the opening campfire to learn the “Philmont Story,” completing their approved hiking itinerary, participating in a three-hour conservation project during the trek, fulfilling their personal commitment to the Wilderness Pledge and living the Scout oath and law.
The adventure ended on Aug. 4.