Scenes from High Adventure trip to Philmont Scout Ranch, 2022
‘One of the Most Magical Places in the World’
By T.O. Brien
Philmont Scout Ranch, in Cimarron, New Mexico, is one of the most magical places in the world. Its lofty mountains and babbling brooks have captured the hearts of many Scouts since its opening in 1938.
In July 2022, I was one of the lucky few Scouts who visited Philmont from Troop 5, as part of the crew 709-R-02. Over the 12-day trek, we hiked over 60 miles, and went as high as 10,000 feet above sea level, experiencing one of the most amazing locations on Earth.
Our trip started in Denver, Colo., where we were picked up from the airport by Blue Sky Adventures, a company focused on enhancing high adventure trips for scouts. During our two-day time with BSA (an acronym that is no coincidence), we stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge in Colorado Springs, enjoying such amenities as a full in-hotel water park, several small storefronts, and the last real bed we’d sleep in for two full weeks.
During our stay, we went to several local Colorado attractions, including the Garden of the Gods, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and whitewater rafting at Echo Canyon. The fun and games were about to end, however, because at dawn on July 9, it was time to board the bus to Philmont Scout Ranch.
Once we arrived at Philmont, it was time to get all the supplies we would need for our trek: tents, food, and our route. The tents were simple two-person tents with only the absolute essentials – a tent body, poles, and a rain fly. Food was usually dehydrated and strictly non-perishable – we’d be carrying it for five days before restocking.
With everything we would need, it was time to set out.
Our trek began with a bus ride out into the backcountry for some quick training before we started the hike. Philmont Scout Rangers taught us everything we’d need to know before they left us on our own on the third day.
The first hike was probably the hardest – steep uphill, midday sun, and New Jersey-induced naïveté. After that, things got easier, and by the time our Rangers set back off to base camp, we all felt a little more confident.
From there, time passed quickly, with such amazing opportunities as the Tooth of Time, campfire performances at Urraca and Beaubien, and black powder rifles and tomahawk throwing.
(I’ve also been asked by our troop historian, Tucker Spence, to mention the missed opportunity of goat naps, a luxury we were unfortunately unable to indulge in for fear of getting to the next camp too late). By the time we got back to base camp on July 20, we were all ready to go home.
Words truly cannot describe the beauty Philmont Scout Ranch has to offer. It truly embodies the best of the American landscape. It’s a place where you can let your mind wander, taking in the sights and the sounds, where you can let yourself forget about what was, what is, and what will be. It’s a place where you can let your mind wander, taking in the sights and sounds, where you can let yourself forget about what was, what is, and what will be
Philmont has provided people with some of the greatest experiences of their lives, and it will continue doing so for many more years to come.
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