Jackson and I were lucky enough to go to the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch in North Central New Mexico with 29 other scouts and 13 dads from Troop 186 this summer. It was an incredible trip, an incredible experience and a bucket list hiking adventure. We were gone for 15 days in late July that started with a flight to Denver and a drive to Salida, Colorado. We spent a couple of days in Salida getting used to altitude and having fun! We spent a full day on the Arkansas river floating Browns Canyon on inflatable kayaks (Duckies) and a half day climbing on a high ropes course with Captain Zipline.
Philmont moves 23,000 people through the 140,000 acre property every summer – it’s a Boy Scout Disney Land! For more details on the operations, read my blog post on the operational and leadership lessons learned at Philmont on my business site here.
Philmont was fun on so many levels – highlights below and pictures here.
- Our crew (8 boys + 4/5 dads) hiked itinerary 9 and covered almost 70 miles over 11 days on the trail – so, lots of mileage and time off the grid
- The hike was constantly interrupted by cool activities like: black powder rifle shooting, 3D archery, sweat lodges, spar pole climbing, fly fishing and so much more
- The boys were in charge and had to be leaders – Dylan Baker was crew leader, Joe Gockowski was chaplains aid and Jackson was wilderness gia (making sure we followed leave no trace principles). I was the adult adviser and got to support the boys leadership to guide the crew throughout the trip.
- It was great hiking with the other dads – Rick, Eric, Andy and Brent – Eric taught us Euchre and we played it a lot!
- Traveling as a group of 44 people was awesome – Dave Delarco did an amazing job organizing us – Thrifty Rental Car was aweful as they didn’t have our vans ready – waited an hour to get them.
- Learning the “Philmont Way” from our Ranger, Michael (Engineering student at Notre Dame). He helped us understand where to pitch a tent, how to cook and clean our pots so bears don’t get interested, hang our food, poop + pee in the woods and much more.
- Rain, hale and lighting – scary but invigorating! Every afternoon between 12:30 and 2pm we had rain – sometimes very light and short? Most days, heavy and longer. We knew it was coming and were prepared for it. Jackson + William did back flips in the hale and we all hunkered down in lightening position on the trail when it would strike too close.
- Getting up at 3:30am to hike in the dark and reach the Tooth of Time – a rock outcropping that is the final stop before hiking back to basecamp
Philmont was a tremendous adventure with the different boys, dads and activities. Layers of intrigue and physical challenge and leadership and organization made this a once in a lifetime experience.