Friday, September 20, 2002
High adventure in Philmont
Carlisle Boy Scout Troop 135 headed out west on a trip to Philmont, New Mexico from August 10 - 21. Philmont is a ranch owned by the Boy Scouts of America since 1923. The ranch is 137,493 acres (215 square miles). Scouts on the trek included crew leader Bryan Lieb, Joe Carpenito, Brendon Smith, Austin Reed, Tim Galligan and Wade Chuang along with parents Scout Master Marty Galligan, Bill Reed, Dennis Lieb and James Chuang.
When we arrived at Philmont, Bryan and Austin planned the trek for our crew in the logistics department. We then gathered the gear necessary to complete the long and grueling hike that lay ahead.
Our crew ranger, Tom Cooke, guided us for the first two days. He demonstrated how to hang bear bags, filter water, and cook powdered food. That first day, we hiked into the trail camp Vaca. For an activity that evening we raced burros. We didn't do too well because our burro decided it was more interested in eating than racing.
The next day's hike over to Harlan started at 7 a.m. There the program consisted of shotgun reloading and shooting. Joe Carpenito hit 6/6 clay pigeons, the best in the crew. From Harlan we packed over to Deer Lake Mesa trail camp. For dinner we had the pleasure of squeeze cheese and freeze-dried ice cream. (Yum!)
On our morning hike to Sawmill Staff Camp we could see four different states, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. Our activity that afternoon was 30.06 rifle shooting and reloading.
Cimmaroncito was the next camp on the map. The camp had purified water and, best of all, showers! (Yeah, we smelled pretty bad.) Bryan, Joe, and Austin made a one and a half mile hike over to the Ute Gulch Commissary to stock up on the food for the rest of the trek. Everyone took much-needed showers and washed all of their clothes. We climbed on the bouldering wall and prepared for the rock climbing challenge the next morning. There instructors showed us how to properly strap into harnesses and climb safely. Brendon scaled the wall with ease.
The next day the crew participated in trail maintenance. We cut down trees and stripped them of bark so that they would not rot as quickly when used as steps and water bars. Skipper, our instructor and civil engineer, directed us throughout the work.
After two more days of hiking, some real food and an evening of song and partying, our last day was a rigorous one. We hiked ten miles down to base camp. On our descent we stopped at the "Tooth of Time", which is a huge rock formation that overlooks the Great Plains. The view was incredible. The final descent was teasing. Every so often base camp would come into view and then stray from sight, but finally we made it back. After the closing campfire, the entire troop slept deeply, thinking only of home.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito