How did we come to the day we leave the back country? Even though it’s taken all of this summer and fall and what seems to be the start of winter to bring the conclusion of our time at Philmont the actual 11 days went by in a flurry.
Tuesday morning we broke camp for the very last time on the trail. Jerry and Randy worked alongside the other adult leaders at Ponil to make a Chuck Wagon breakfast of pancakes and orange juice. Breakfast was a perfect way to end our meal times on the trail. Before leaving Ponil we rode horses throughout what was the original base camp of Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp. It was a lovely change of pace and a relief for the footsies. The canyon valley takes on a whole new beauty when atop a horse. We leisurely rode with about 30 other scouts for an hour and made our way back to the stables before walking the 10 minutes to the buses waiting to take us back to base camp.
Riding in the school bus on the way back to base camp and driving past the site where we first hit the trail brought a flood of memories. Only 11 days ago we crammed ourselves into a Red Roof Inn with 30 of our closest friends. Just 11 days ago we looked fresh and dust free. On July 12 we hiked the first four miles of our 97 miles. That Saturday our history together as a crew was just taking shape. Making our way off the bus on July 22 we were no longer the newbies. We were veterans. You could tell by the cakes of dirt on our legs and the sheen of our hair and the scruff on Jerry and Randy’s faces we had not just survived Philmont we had lived Philmont.
Over the next few hours we enjoyed a meal we did not have to prepare from dehydrated foods, we walked into air conditioned buildings, we unloaded our gear and crashed onto cots…cots! Going through the final steps of a “Home Bound” crew we managed to return all our gear, visit the trading post and most importantly SHOWER! Some of us threatened to take a shower and then don our trail clothes from the train ride home. The idea was quickly vetoed! Once we were all duded up we hopped the bus headed for Cimarron, New Mexico. Hitting up the local stores, stopping for ice cream and ordering fresh pizza was the perfect cap to a wonderful adventure.
There is a tradition at Philmont Scout Ranch when leaving Philmont property. It is said when you look over your shoulder at the Tooth of Time fading into the distance you are bound to return to this enchanting land. As we made our way to Raton every single head was turned to catch one last glimpse of the Tooth of Time in hopes to be able to return.
Well we’re Philmont bound! We’ve landed on the train and are making our way to an amazing adventure.
Trevor is as happy as a clam getting ready to ride his first train. Megan is ready for her first high adventure with the crew and for 12 days of camping. Tanner, Jared and Ross are enjoying all the room for their long legs. Amariah is pumped to be returning to Philmont for round two.
The adults are crazy excited to be going on this incredible adventure with these amazing young men and women. It’s going to be an amazing trek! Here we come!
Woot woot! It is hard to believe in exactly 30 days we will be hitting the trails of Philmont Scout Ranch. Who knew over a year of planning would go by so quickly. It seems hard to believe we are finally in the last stages of preparing for Philmont.
Just keep hiking
Our prep hiking has been kicked up a notch and living rooms and garages are becoming sorting grounds full of equipment. With Philmont just 30 days away we’ve picked up the hiking pace to 2-3 times a week. Everyone’s doing great and the enthusiasm is building.
the fearless ladies
The merry band of nine is full of newbies and a smattering of veterans. With five of the six youth experiencing the backcountry of New Mexico for the first time it is sure to be a delight. There is really nothing better than conquering the initial climb of the trek, setting up camp, purifying water and throwing your first bear bag line. It will be a trip of firsts and we could not be more excited.
On our Way
Keep an eye out for more details of our trek and we’ll be sure to keep you posted as we travel by train from Central Illinois to the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Amazing, “The year has quickly gone by and we’re finally at Philmont Scout Ranch!” That is what we’ll be saying in exactly three months. On July 11, 2014 we will have arrived in Raton, New Mexico, jumped on buses full of Scouts and Venturers from all over the country and made our way to Philmont Scout Ranch.
Just 3 months!
It does not really seem possible all our hard work and preparations will be coming to life in only three months. We will have left on Wednesday, July 10 from the Galesburg Amtrak station, said goodbye to all our family and started on a once in a lifetime adventure. The train will take us all the way to New Mexico and after hours of card games, sleeping and riding a train for 18 hours we will have made new scouting friends.
Backpacks are too big for these!
The niftiest part of taking a train to Philmont is how full the train is with Scouts and Venturers following an 18 hour train trip. When we catch the train in Galesburg we’ll probably be the only Venturers on the train. By the time we’ve been on the rails for 10 hours the train will be filling up with boots, packs and water bottles. Scouts and Veturers will swap stories, forge friendships and share past Philmont stories. Then after 18 hours of a swaying train rolling through the mountains and prairies the train will be bursting with anxious scouters.
Sayonara, Mom and Dad!
We have a lot of prepping yet to do but we are excited. There are miles to hike and hills to conquer before we’re ready for the mountainous terrain of New Mexico. But hiking on a weekly basis and setting up practice weekend trips will help us be prepared for anything.