We were gently reminded of a very large time lapse concerning our Philmont escapades. Hopefully we’ll wrap it up in a couple of posts and move onto more recent adventures. So here it is, Part 4 of our time at Philmont Scout Ranch.
Just when we thought the hike to Iris Park was about to reach completion we realized we had a long ways to go. We leap frogged with our sister crew the whole way from Upper Greenwood to Iris Park. The valley walk was beautiful but the road stretching for miles was excruciating. We were on our eighth morning and everyone was feeling it after hiking for 5 hours. So to lift our spirits we sang more songs and ate plenty of snacks.
On our way to Iris Park
This lovely stretch of land belongs to Leave No Trace camping and boy could you tell. It was a beautiful landscape change from Upper Greenwood. We saw remnants of a widespread forest fire. The roaming cattle could be seen everywhere and the skies were a brilliant blue. No one wanted to say it but we were SUPER excited to be walking in dry weather. We were afraid to jinx ourselves but we enjoyed it while it lasted. Iris Park was a beautiful expanse of sparse Ponderosa Pines and open prairie grass.
Iris Park Sunset
The only problem with prairie grasses…restroom facilities. Leave No Trace camping means no Red Roof Inns which means finding a rock in a land full of grass can be tricky…we survived. We had to hike about a mile to retrieve water so we split into teams. We had a water gathering party and a set-up-camp and get-dinner-going party. Everything was not dry from the previous day’s deluge and we quickly spread out gear on any and every surface. The previous two days had taken its toll on our merry band with Amariah getting a fever and a start of a head cold and the boys burying themselves in their tents to catch some shuteye before dinner. Never did a warm meal and a sleeping bag feel more inviting.
One of our favorite aspects to Venturing are the opportunities created to give back to our community. The last week in September afforded us two opportunities of service. Both service projects benefited important organizations positively impacting the Chillicothe area.
Friday evening brought us to the 2nd Annual Chillicothe Weekend Snackpac Fundraiser. Chillicothe Weekend Snackpac provides sack lunches to the students of Illinois Valley Central School District who otherwise would go hungry during the weekend. We played a handful of roles at the fundraiser. A few of us bused tables and refilled patrons’ drinks while others of us took turns serving the meal and informing the kitchen of what needed refilled.
It’s always nice being the kitchen help, you get fed well! To have the opportunity to serve the Weekend Snackpac program is really more of a blessing to the members of the crew than it is to the program. There is such a large need not only in Chillicothe but throughout the country. Children go hungry on the weekends but with the assistance of the Chillicothe Weekend Snackpac program fewer children are feeling the pangs of hunger.
The morning started a little dreary but soon the Saturday sun made an appearance at the Chillicothe River Sweep. We met other Chillicotheans at Cutright Park to patrol the beaches for trash and unwanted debris. Crew 91 partnered up for the morning with members of Troop 91. We combed the beaches and parks and were rewarded with bags and bags of trash. The highlight of of patroling would probably be the baby snapping turtle we found or the discarded headless cement swan.
There are endless opportunities to volunteer and serve in your local community. For ideas contact your local food pantry, chamber of commerce, school district or pet shelter. There’s no need to be bored when there are countless ways to lend a hand, a shovel or a smile. Happy serving!