While most teens spend their remaining summer vacation days by the pool or catching up with friends on Facebook, a group of local Boy Scouts spent some time trekking through the New Mexico mountains learning skills of the trappers of old.
A total of 18 participants making up two crews of Scouts and leaders from Troop 451 and Troop 21 in Turlock participated in the 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 to as high as 12,441 feet. During their trek one crew hiked 120 miles and the other crew hiked 70 miles over 10 days.
"The Sierras are a great place to backpack, but this place has a lot of activities," said Troop 451 leader Doug Marks.
The Scouts participated in backcountry programs along the way including mountain biking, gold prospecting, black powder rifle shooting, and search and rescue. They visited with residents of a circa 1800s trapping community and gold panning town.
The group also climbed Baldy Mountain, the highest peak on Philmont at 12,441 elevation, and participated in challenge events for group interaction. The trek included a conservation project where the Scouts and leaders learned and participated in the upkeep of Philmont’s ecosystem. Along the trail, Scouts endured tough challenges including backpacking in bear and mountain lion territory, steep climbs and the weather changes. One crew saw a mother bear and her two cubs searching for food and the other crew saw over 150 elk running across a mountain meadow.
Philmont Scout Ranch is Boy Scouts of America’s premier high adventure camp and the largest youth camp in the world serving over one million participants since 1938.