I am going to Philmont later this year, at the end of June. I went there as an Adult Advisor to a crew in 2005. That crew was composed of 16-year-old Boy Scouts from the local troop, one of whom was my son. It was such a great trip, another adult advisor and I decided to try to go again if we could, with our other children. Because the younger ones are both boys and girls, we are going as a Venture Crew, which is a co-ed Scouting organization.
Philmont is run by the Boy Scouts, and they host campers there every summer, who go on “Treks” ranging from 51 miles to well over a 100 miles, backpacking in rugged backcountry over a 10-day period. There are staff members in some of the backcountry camps who run a variety of instructional and fun programs, from .50 caliber black-powder rifle shooting to archeology to Western Living to gold mining and panning.
For those who have never heard of it, Philmont is a Boy Scout Ranch in northern New Mexico, in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains. It is roughly 215 square miles of New Mexican desert, canyon, mountain forest and scrub oak. It is spectacularly beautiful.
Philmont is a working ranch with cattle and horses.
Each “Crew” forms and trains themselves, then selects a “Trek” from the current offerings, which change slightly from year to year. Our crew is 10 people, with youth making up the majority. The Crews arrive at Base Camp, get oriented, organize their gear and first food pickup, then get a bus ride out to a drop off point, or “turnaround”. At that point, with the guidance of a Philmont Ranger, they start off on their trek.
Once the Ranger feels they are ready to continue on their own (about a day and half, usually), the Crew is on their own to navigate by map and compass across the land, finding their way to the next series of camps. Our Crew received our first pick, Itinerary 22 – about 80 miles, with a Baldy summit and Tooth Ridge side hike. We are currently training hard for the adventure.
Q: Ever been to Philmont? If so, what year, and what Itinerary did you do?