Start Date: Monday, July 13th, 2009 5:00 AM
End Date: Monday, July 27th, 2009 6:00 PM
Meeting Point for Drop-off and Pickup: Carmenita Middle School
Location: Philmont Scout Ranch
Forms Needes: Troop 693 Permission Slip
Coordinator: Ed Johnson
Cost: $00 per scout
Last Date to Signup: September 2007
Things to bring: Backpacking Checklist
In the Scouting Paradise
Report by: Brian Hsiang and Victor Peer
In July 2009, some scouts from our BSA Troop 693 and troop 72 ventured into a 56 mile backpacking trail in the pristine back countries of Philmont, known as the "Scouting Paradise." Our Philmont Crew, 714-J1, consisted of nine scouts and two adult advisors.Many scouts have been looking forward to the ultimate Philmont adventure. Other scouts, however, are not as enthusiastic because they have heard that Philmont was overwhelmingly challenging, and generally not “fun”. To us, who have been blessed with the opportunity to be there, it was an once-in-a-lifetime experience in the “scouting paradise”.
Philmont Scout Ranch is located in the rugged backcountry of New Mexico, covering over 137,000 acres of land. Every year, scouts come from all over the world to hike on one of the 35 treks that Philmont provides. Treks in Philmont range from 50 to 100 miles. Our Crew, 714-J1, had trek 2 (a hike of approximately 56 miles in ten days). Our trek was relatively easy, since we decided that we wanted our adventure focused on activities as well as on hiking. Some of our main activities were rifle and shotgun shooting, rock climbing, horseback riding, search and rescue activities, and land navigation. Unfortunately, we had to miss some of the activities due to poor weather and time management.
For all of us, including the advisors, it was our first time in Philmont. Some of the trails we hit were easy, some hard, and some were just confusing. We faced them all in relatively good spirit. We hiked 5-10 miles every day for ten days with 40- 50 pounds on our backs. On the easy days, we would just cruise through the trail without breaking much of a sweat. On the challenging days, we’d pull ourselves together and get through the trail as a team. Our crew would organize who’s doing what – trail leader, sweep, etc. We would set a time period of how long we would hike before taking a break. At the end of the tough hike, we’d feel like we just made a huge accomplishment. Our crew would then be pumped up for our next challenge.
The Philmont staff had warned us, “The weather here in Philmont is unpredictable. It can change during any second!” We didn’t take the warning too seriously until we experienced the capricious weather ourselves. We would see a sunny afternoon turn into hail storm in a matter of two hours. Luckily, during the first few days we were able to dodge the heavy rain by setting up our rain fly and tents early. However, on our tenth day, we hit some misfortune on the trail. It was looking bright in the morning, until the weather started to change. The clouds were coming in fast- you could actually see them moving. When it started to drizzle, we stopped to put on our rain gear. We were fine until the shower turned into waterfalls, and then froze up into hail. We hiked in the hail for a while, until we reached an intersection. We read the sign and realized that we had gone the wrong way! By then we were soaked through our rain gear. We hiked in misery that day, and one of our poor advisors slipped and fell a few times.
What really excited and motivated us on the trails was seeing the landscape and wildlife. The scenery was amazing: views ranging from boundless mountain ranges to infinite greenness. In the morning, we would get up early to watch a slow, but gorgeous sunrise. After dark, we’d gaze up into the night sky illuminated by endless stars. While hiking, we’d see creatures small and large. The deer weren’t too shy and the squirrels entertained us. We learned to truly appreciate the animals and scenery, because we realized we won’t get this luxury in the city life.
Something worth mention was our dieting. Philmont gave us barely minimum food- just enough to keep us going. Philmont wasn’t focused on filling our stomachs nor on indulging our tastes. Their goal is to give us food that is rich in protein so we’d have energy for the day. Our breakfast consisted of small packs of beef jerky and granola, and our lunch was crackers with a few toppings (cheese, peanut butter, and canned chicken) Our dinner was different, however. They were sorry attempts to imitate the fine dishes people normally have – spaghetti, lasagna, rice, etc. Our dinners were usually poured into a pot with some boiled water, and morphed into some mushy and watery stuff. Our first dinner gave all of us pinched faces, but we all actually came to like the food because we were so hungry from the trail. One of the highlights on the trail was the Chuck Wagon Dinner, which was a dinner the staff actually cooked for us! You can imagine that it was a dinner we very much appreciated.
We didn’t have any serious injuries on the trails. Our biggest fear was probably blisters- having them while hiking for about four hours a day is not fun. Thanks to our advisors, who brought a first aid kit with moleskins, which soothed our pain considerably.
As the Philmont people mentioned, it is almost impossible to explain the experience in Philmont. You have to be there to feel the magic of the place. We know our words are inadequate to describe the days on the trail. Let’s just say that we brought home memories that all of us will surely cherish all our lives. We got a chance to live in the wilderness for ten days, where we as a team faced challenges together. We taught each other the values of teamwork and friendship. We all stuck together as a group coming in and out of Philmont, and we all learned how Philmont truly is the “scouting paradise.”
Here are the crew members:
From BSA Troop 693:
Mr. Peter Pranadjaja – Advisor
Mr. Victor Hsiang – Advisor
Eric Pranadjaja – Crew Leader
Eric Cho – Chaplain’s Aid
Kent Chen – Assistant Crew Leader
Brian Hsiang – Reporter
Victor Peer – Reporter
From BSA Troop 72:
|3||Nov||O/N||Icehouse Canyon||Kelly/Ontario Peak||14||Moderate + Strenuous|
|4||Dec||Day||Cobb Estate||Inspiration Point||10||Moderate to Moderate Strenuous|
|5||Jan||O/N||Red Box||West Fork||11||Moderate to Moderate Strenuous|
|7||Mar||Day||Chantry Flat||Spruce Grove||10||Moderate Strenuous
(big counterclock route thru Mt. Zior)
|8||Apr||O/Ns||Grand Canyon April - 2009||Bright Angel Camp Ground||17||Strenuous
(South Kaibab Trail—Bright Angel Trail)
|9||May||Day||East Fork||Bridge to Nowhere||10||Moderate|
|10||May||O/N||Eagle Roost||Vincent Gap||16||Moderate Strenuous to Strenuous
(camp at Little Jimmy; thru Mt. Baden Powell)
|11||Jun||O/N||Forsee Creek||Jackstraw Springs||9||Strenuous|
uploaded by Lancelot, pictures by Mr. Pranadjaja
courtesy Mr. Ed Johnson