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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, September 08, 2017

Local Boy Scouts Trek New Mexico Wilderness

IN PHOTO, FROM LEFT:  Stephen Zakos, David “Rattlesnake” Riter, Nicholas Ritter, Samuel Walker, Ian Zakos, Anthony Howorth, Arthur Schmidt III, Tristan Schmidt, Jacob Young, Addison Holtzhafer, Erik Walker

This summer, perhaps you went to the beach or the Poconos. I went to a lot of basketball games. But a crew of teenage Scouts, along with their adult advisers, has us all beat. These young men went on a life changing summer trek through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico.

Philmont covers 214 square miles of vast wilderness with trails that climb from 6,500 feet to as high as 12,441 feet.

These future leaders are Scout Troop # 131, which is sponsored by Bethany Methodist Church in Wescosville. They hiked more than 76 miles over ten days.

The Scouts carried everything they needed to survive during the trek on their backs while hiking from camp to camp. They participated in backcountry programs along the way: shooting sports; tomahawk throwing; building railroad track, blacksmithing; and burro wrangling. The trek also included a conservation project where the Scouts learned and participated in the upkeep of Philmont’s ecosystem.

Scouts endured some tough challenges. This includes backpacking in bear and mountain lion territory; avoiding rattlesnakes; steep climbs; and heavy weather. A 600 lbs. black bear went strolling by at one point, and the troop did encounter several ratters. They saw no mountain lions,but could hear their cries at night.

The hike started at 7,000 feet above sea level and went up from there, peaking on Baldy Mountain at 12,441 feet.

“They may meet only one other group of Scouts on the trail in an entire day of hiking,” according to Backpacker Magazine. “Even in the most crowded destinations, each Scout group camps in isolation, out of sight and sound of all other groups.” The crew made what amounts to a Scouting pilgrimage with their trip to Philmont.

Philmont Scout Ranch is the Boy Scouts of America’s premier high adventure camp, serving nearly one million participants since 1938.

1 comment:

Jenae H said...

This was an amazing, life-changing experience for my son, Addison. Something he will never forget. Thanks for the blog post! What a fun piece to share with friends and family!