Members of Boy Scouts Troops 635 and 676 of Essex and Troop 603 of Milton will be heading west to the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico in July for a high adventure experience. Two 2015 slots called Treks were secured through a lottery, which provides the opportunity for two groups of 12 Scouts from the ages of 14 to 17 and Leaders for 12 days of backcountry hiking, camping and outdoor activities at the Philmont Scout Ranch.
The Philmont Scout Ranch is the Boy Scouts of America’s largest national high-adventure base, covering 137,000 acres (about 214 square miles) of rugged mountain wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains in northern New Mexico. The ranch has been providing Scouts a wilderness experience for over 75 years.
In anticipation for the Treks, the Scouts have been preparing with training hikes to test equipment and condition them for the physical challenges of being at high elevations in the backcountry. So far, the group has spent three days on the Long Trail summiting Bolton Mountain, a weekend hiking to summiting Mount Mansfield, and an overnight trek to Sterling Pond.
The Trek and routes each group will take won’t be set until March, but will vary from 56 miles to 106 miles in length. Treks will include overnights at a selection of 34 staffed camps and 55 trail camps, and may include summiting one of the high peaks at the Scout Ranch, Mount Philips at 11,742 feet, Baldy Mountain at 12,441 feet, or the Tooth of Time at 9,003 feet. Outdoor activities may include rock climbing, mountain biking, fly-fishing, muzzleloader shooting and gold prospecting.
This adventure comes with a price. The trip will cost the group just over $50,000 and the group is trying to raise a large portion through fundraising to allow each scout to participate regardless of family resources. The group also is seeking donations of specific equipment to support this trek, including stoves, fuel bottles, wicking t-shirts, duffle bags, water filters, water bottles and more.
For more information visit essex635.mytroop.us/node/2136.
— Submitted by John Croft, Troop 635 of Essex