Archive for the ‘Philmont’ Category


The last few times I attended a trek at Philmont Scout Ranch the crew had tee shirt printed to wear during the adventure. Most of these stated the crew number on the front with a map of the trek on the back. Nothing too special, but a nice souvenir. I still wear a couple of them since I have not wore them out yet. They are quite comfortable.

I recently was cleaning out my email box of old messages when I came across one from a Philmont forum I belonged to that talked about humorous Philmont tee shirt slogans.

One writer wrote of a shirt he saw that read,
“I hiked ’till my heart raced and my muscles burned, And then I hiked some more. Philmont 2006.”

Another shirt stated,
“Another day,
Another dozen miles,
Same socks.
Philmont 2006″

My favorite one had this printed on the back of the shirt:
“IF YOU CAN READ THIS SHIRT, I’VE LOST MY PACK !!

Did your crew have a great saying on its shirt? Leave a comment here and share it with us.

(BTW: The picture is one of the many shirt designs available at ClassB.com.)

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    Josh decided to go to the top of Deer Lake Mesa. It is a side hike that we had talked about doing when we were planning things back in Melrose. No one shows any interest in going along with him so he tries to go off by himself. I put a stop to that idea very quickly. At least three people will have to go. I would prefer four. We need to practice the buddy system out here. There is no telling what could happen, although it should be a safe enough hike.

    Even though I was not planning to go up to the mesa at first I decide to go along with Josh. I was looking forward to side hiking this mesa when I looked over our agenda back home. Tim also expresses interest but backs out for some reason. Pete and Corey finally decide to join us. We grab our rain gear, canteens, and a map and compass. It is cloudy and looks as if it may rain. If it does we will turn around and come right back. If not, we plan to be back at 6:00 p.m.

    It is close to a two kilometer hike to the mesa. Two thirds of it is on a four wheel drive trail. This trail is in extremely poor condition and is very steep. I wander how often a vehicle even comes up this way. By the condition of the ‘road’ I would say not very. The storm clouds above us threaten to soak us the entire journey.

    The mesa takes our breath away as we reach the top. It is a fantastic site, an elevation at over 8200 feet. Kinda reminds me of Shangrala. The mesa is actually slightly concave. The perimeter is lined with a hardy stand of trees that block out most of the view of the mountains that surround us. In the center is a small lake. Seventeen cattle graze in the grassland across the pond. For a while the four of us just stand there and try to absorb the scenery. It is the closest thing to Minnesota that I have seen since we arrived in Philmont.

    Unfortunately, the storm clouds still threaten to drench us so we do not stay more then fifteen minutes. If we are lucky we can make it back to camp before it rains. We all agree that we should have come up sooner. It would have been great to lie back in the grass and take it easy, watching the cattle graze and the birds fly by. We are treated to a spectacular view of Cimarron on the way back.

    We arrive back at camp at 5:45 p.m., fifteen minutes sooner then we thought we would. It still has not rained. The four of us play Frisbee as Ross, Jason, and Al prepare supper. Nathan is sleeping in his tent about twenty feet from us. The flap is partly open. We take turns trying to throw the Frisbee into the tent but are not very successful. Greg comes by as states that he can do it. We do not believe him but let him try. He does it on his first throw. That ends the game.

    Supper is delicious. There is very little mash potatoes, gravy, beef, or lemon pie left over when the group finishes.

    (This was an excerpt of my journal of Troop 68′s trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in 1992.)

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      I know there have been quite a few books written about that magical place we Scouters know as Philmont Scout Ranch. I own a few of them. Four to be precise. Here is a quick description of each of them.

      Return To The Summit Of Scouting is “A Scouter’s midlife journey back to Philmont” written by William F Cass. It follows Mr. Cass’ return to Philmont as an advisor and father after having left the ranch as a summer staffer over two decades earlier. Not only does the book follow the expedition of him and his son, but it also gives great nice in-depth outlook from the staff and rangers point of view. This book was first printed in April, 1993.

      Head For The High Country was written by David L. Caffey and published in 1973. Mr. Caffey was a member of the Philmont Scout Ranch staff for several seasons. He is also an Eagle Scout and has received the Vigil Honor in the Order of the Arrow. The book covers the five years he spent working on the staff in various camps around the ranch.

      The oldest Philmont-themed book in the collection is The Tooth Of Time, A Philmont Adventure, written by the radio scoutmaster the 1940′s, Gray Sterling. This book was published in 1955. I picked up my copy at a used book store which must have received it from a library because it still has the sign out card on the back cover. I have not read it yet but when I skimmed it for this article I noticed it may be a fictional account of a Scout crew’s trip to Philmont Scout Ranch. I also noticed one more thing today. The book appears to have the author’s signature on the first page of the book, under his picture. Cool.

      Beyond The Hills, The Journey of Waite Phillips, written by Michael Wallis, is really not about Philmont Scout Ranch. It is about the life of Waite Phillips, the man who donated to land to the Boy Scouts of America. It is a fascinating book that belongs in any collection of Philmont-themed books. This book does contain a lot of photos.

      The final two books, The Scoutmaster and The Scoutmaster II, are not actually books about Philmont. They are written by scoutmaster Jim Boeger who was one of two excellent instructors for Scoutmaster’s Fundamentals, a course I took at the Philmont Training Center in 1984. The books are about Mr. Boeger’s experiences as a scoutmaster. (By the way, he is 6′-9″ tall, which brings some unique experiences to the Scouting table.) The first chapter about his first experience going on a camping trip with a troop of Boy Scouts had me laughing out loud. Mr. Boeger did sign my copy of The Scoutmaster before I left Philmont.

      What Philmont-themed books do have own? Do you have any suggestions for us. or a special book perhaps? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

      100 Days of Scouting: Day 84.

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        And now, it is time for a little musical number from a place known as Philmont Scout Ranch in a land called New Mexico. Let us watch and listen to a group of minstrels that go by the name of the Rayado Ruffians as they play the little tune, “Cindy”.

        (This tune was posted to Youtube in 2009 by TheMrRayado.) 696

        100 Days of Scouting: Day 71.

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          Cubmaster Chris and I are co-hosts of a little audio podcast called The Leaders Campfire. We love having guests on our show to talk about Scouting. Last month, we were able to interview Larry McLaughlin, the producer and director of the recently released The Philmont Documentary Collection, which is available on both DVD and BluRay. I asked a lot of questions during the 45 minute interview, including why he took on this very ambitious project, what kind of challenges he faced following a crew at Philmont, and the kind of pressures he felt while creating this collection.

          If you have not seen or bought this dvd yet so really should check it out. The movie can be purchased at the Philmont Movie website. http://www.philmontmovie.com/

          Be sure to listen to The Leaders Campfire interview (episode #83) which can be found at http://www.ptcmedia.net/the-leaders-campfire/ or through iTunes in the Kids and Family listing ( http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-leaders-campfire-podcast/id204547473 ).

          100 Days of Scouting: Day 3

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            Cub Scouts like BB guns. Boy Scouts like rifles and shotguns. Check out the shooting ranges at Scout camps if you do not believe me. They are usually very busy places. Boys enjoy shooting at targets.

            If you are a registered Cub Scout or Boy Scout leader you receive Scouting Magazine, an official magazine of the BSA. It is loaded with articles to help adult leaders and stories of interest. Recently, some advertisements have caught my attention. A few gun manufacturers have been busy creating Boy Scouts of America commemorative rifles. Here are a few of them.

            Henry Repeating Arms has created a 22 rifle to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the B.S.A. This special rifle features the Scouts Oath, Scouts Law, scrollwork and traditional Boy Scouts of America logo embellishing the receiver, as well as a 100 Years of Scouting logo and Centennial Edition gold filled etchings in the buttstock and forearm. It can be seen at their website.

            Henry Repeating Arms has also created a special edition Philmont Scout Ranch Rifle. The website states “This Henry Frontier Lever .22 is offered with the Philmont® Black Bull logo embellished with 18 kt. gold plate on the right side of the dark receiver cover. Into the right side of the American walnut stock is laser etched and hand painted in multiple colors a rendering of Philmont’s iconic Tooth of Time, a 9,003 foot molar in the sky with the words TOOTH OF TIME blazoned underneath the mountain’s slope. On the forearm is the Philmont® scripted emblem bracketed by the Slash backwards S horse brand and the Bar P backwards S cattle brand burned into the wood.”

            The final rifle I would like to highlight is the Ruger Boy Scout 10/22 Rifle. The website states “Saluting the Boy Scouts of America in a manner befitting their heritage and spirit of adventure.The officially licensed Ruger model number 1255 features precision laser embellishment on a classically rich walnut stock and a special factory serial number.”

            I do not own a rifle. I thought it would be great to add one or two of these guns to my Scouting collection. Until I saw the price. I did not realize that rifles could be so pricey. These guns have a MSRP of $480 to $600. That is a little pricey for me. But it sure would be fun to bring one to camp (if allowed) and show it off to the boys and the staff.

            Have any of you bought a special Scouting commemorative rifle? Have you shot it? Leave a comment, along with a picture.

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              We are in the final week of the Christmas season. This time of year always reminds me of one evening in August of 1992 when I was with my troop on a trek at Philmont Scout Ranch. We decided to spend an evening around the campfire celebrating Christmas and singing songs. Yes, it was odd, but it was also a lot of fun. During the fun each of the twelve of us took one verse and made a new version of the Twelve Days of Christmas. I have written this to the blog during a previous year, but I thought it might be fun to look at it once again.

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              The Philmont Twelve Days of Christmas.
              On the twelfth day at Philmont my ranger gave to me;
              twelve meal packs (Tom)
              eleven Sierra cups (Tim)
              ten hikers hiking (Josh)
              nine bottles of iodine (Nathan)
              eight backpackers packing (Ross)
              seven teriyaki helpings (Corey)
              six good meals (Paul)
              a five mile hike (Jason)
              four hot showers (Al)
              three dirty socks (Peter)
              two Powerbars (Greg)
              and one pemmican bar. (Steve)

              Have you been on a Philmont trek? What would you have added as a verse to the song?

              You can read more about our evening of Christmas at Philmont at
              http://www.melrosetroop68.org/High%20Adventure%20Journals/Philmont92part6.html

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                (This is part 3 of one of the worst days I had at Philmont Scout Ranch. Amazingly, it ended pretty well.)

                Wednesday, August 5, 1992, Day 8

                A buck, two does, and a yearling are grazing in the meadow that borders the east side of our site. Tom is trying to in get close for a good shot with his camera. Corey has grabbed mine and moves in on the yearling. The fawn avoids him but the nine point buck moves closer. Tom sneaks around behind the buck and tries to steer him closer to Corey. We are going to have many pictures of deer when we get home.

                The excitement never ends. Jason’s water bottle has been attacked by a chipmunk. Greg and Paul keep pushing the blame on each other for the sticks being thrown at each other. I wish they would shut up and drop the subject. It is shortly after 5:30 when the crew gathers around the campfire ring. For the last two days Al has been working on his version of how Santa Claus Camp got its name. It has developed into a full fledged story. The group grows quiet as he begins to tell his tale.

                Suddenly, Peter yells. A chipmunk screams. That is right, screams! Everyone turns to see Pete standing halfway up the hill holding a rope in his right hand. Hanging, and I do mean hanging, from the rope by its neck is a chipmunk. Peter has finally caught one after patiently waiting with the noose lying over the burrow hole for the last fifteen minutes. The poor little creature is squirming around like crazy, trying to get get out of its predicament. Finally, after a few seconds, the noose loosens enough for the critter to fall to the ground. In a flash it vanishes. We are not bothered by mini-bears any more that night.

                The laughter dies a few moments later and Al once again begins the story of Santa Claus Camp. Al has written an excellent story. The crew agrees. The meadow is a popular place with the deer this evening. There are even more of them grazing. Maybe they wanted to hear the story of old White Cheeks too.

                Supper was pretty good but several scouts are complaining that there is not enough food. Josh seems to be near starving. If this is any indication then the Spoden monthly grocery bill must be in the thousands of dollars.

                Several of us sit around they campfire and discuss world matters after supper. Others go to the edge of camp to watch the nine deer that are grazing. Four of them are bucks. One of them has a very nice rack on his head. Tim can’t believe what he sees. He sits there with his back against a tree and just watches them.

                This is part of the magic of Philmont. Even in today’s fast paced electronic age boys will sit for over a half hour and watch the deer as they graze only twenty feet away. There are not many places left where a person can do that anymore.

                Greg, Nathan, and Paul walk down to the showers. They want to get some of the Philmont grime off their bodies. Tonight we have our first campfire. Ross seems to the one who actually wanted it. We all sit around it and enjoy its warmth for the next twenty minutes.

                It is time to do Roses and Thorns. Most of the crew agrees that the last thirty minutes of today’s hike was the thorn. Josh and Tim choose their rose and thorn as there being only three days left. Corey surprises everyone by naming today’s hike as his rose. Greg’s rose is taking a shower and being clean again. My thorn is the ‘thirty minute’ hike. My rose is the end of the ‘thirty minute’ hike.

                Most of the crew is in bed by 8:45 p.m. Al, Ross, Pete, and Jason stay up a bit longer to enjoy the fire. The evening is turning cool.

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