Posts Tagged ‘Philmont’


Philmont Gate 2014It is official! Boy Scout Troop 68 of Melrose is going to Philmont Scout Ranch in the summer of 2016. Our committee chairperson received confirmation of our trek registration last week. Let the planning begin!

It has been a decade since the troop went to the ranch. In 2004, six troop members and three adults went along with the council contingent. Unfortunately, we signed up late and our group was split up to fill out the two crews. It was not the ideal situation but everyone who went had a great time.

The 2016 trek will once again be a troop outing. The council did not reserve a contingent for that summer. This means we, the troop and committee, will have to do all the planning and transportation arrangements which is not a bad thing when you think about it. We will probably drive to New Mexico from Minnesota so we will need to plan the course and overnight stops. A little sight seeing will have to be included. Can you say “road trip!”?

The first time Boy Scouts from Troop 68 attended Philmont was in 1986 when five Scouts and myself partook in a trek. (This was before the two deep leadership rule.) The troop went back in 1989, 1992, 1998, and 2004. We tried to plan a high adventure trip every three years. In 1995 we went to the High Knoll Trail in Virginia. In 2001 we participated in the National Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill. The 2004 Philmont trip was the last high adventure outing for Troop 68, until now.

This is not saying that our Scouts have not had opportunities for high adventure. Several individual Scouts did participate in council contingents to Philmont and other National Jamborees over the years.

The troop has a registration for 5 Scouts and two adult leaders in July 2016. I am thinking we may have 6 or 7 Scouts sign up for the trek. We already have two adults and one Scout who will be an adult at that time who have stated they plan to attend. There has been some talk among the committee that we offer any unfilled slots to another local troop to fill out a 12 person crew.

I would like to go back to Philmont with the 2016 crew. I have participated in the previous five treks taken by the troop and enjoyed every one of them. Those five treks may have to be enough for me though. I have been having a little problem with my right knee over the last few months. Walking does not bother me but climbing stairs can be painful at times. Most of the Philmont trails have an easy seven degree incline but there are always the steeper climbs that become more challenging. I will have to see how the next few months turn out before I decide.

Villa Philmonte 2014When you participate in a program at Philmont Scout Ranch, whether a 12 day trek or a training session, you should try to schedule a tour of the summer home of Waite Phillips, known as the Villa Philmonte. The home now serves as the anchor of the Philmont Training Center (PTC) and is only a short walk from the Philmont Base Camp. Tours are scheduled through the Seton Museum and Library.

I first toured the Villa way back in 1984 when I attended scoutmaster training at PTC. I was, and still am, employed as a draftsman at a local lumber yard so I really appreciated the design and details of the home. Whenever I returned to Philmont to partake in treks with Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 though the 1980′s and 1990′s I tried to find time for the Scouts to tour the Villa.

It has been ten years between visits to the ranch. I returned to Philmont for a week in June for an advancement training course at PTC. I went on the trip with Bob, our district executive, who also took the same course. We decided early in the week that we would take a tour of the Villa once again. We scheduled a visit for Tuesday afternoon, the last tour for the day.

I was hoping to see a few items within the home that I had seen back in the 1980′s. Would the carved wooden chest still be located in the living room? Would the model ship still be on display? Would the old piano still be playable after all these years? Are all the animal trophies still to be found in Waite Phillips hunting room? Would the portrait of Waite Phillips still be located in the closet of the lower level? The answer to all of the question was “Yes.”

There was much more to see on this tour than the previous ones I had taken. I believe more of the Villa is open to the tour now then 15 or 20 years ago. It may be that the Philmont staff may have been using these rooms for other purposes during the 80′s and 90′s.

Bob and I were the only two people during our scheduled time for the tour. Our guide did an excellent job. This year we were able to view the three bedrooms of the Phillips children, each of which was triple the size of my bedroom at home. The old cars in the garage were also fun to look at.

My favorite part of the tour was the gun room, located off the hunting trophy room. I do not recall ever seeing this room on any earlier tours. We could not go inside the gun room but we were allowed to look through the barred window in the door. It was awesome seeing the old rustic cabinetry and the various rifles and muskets that were stored in there. I did put my camera through the door window bars and got a couple nice shots of the room.

Fact is, I took a lot of photos during the tour. One hundred and two of them. Back on previous tours I used a film camera and was doing well to get a dozen or so pictures of the tour. Isn’t digital photography wonderful?

The last stop of the tour was a large room which I had never seen before. It was set up as a small museum of Philmont history, almost like an extension of the Seton Museum. You had to enter the room through the exterior courtyard where the swimming pool used to be. It is a definite “must stop” of the tour. There is a lot of information in there.

I will be placing many of the pictures of the tour online in an album on my Flickr account. You can see the album at:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevejb68/sets/72157645062415997/

Have you toured the Villa Philmonte at Philmont Scout Ranch? What did you think of it? What were your favorite parts of the tour?

PTC Trip 2014.511When I was at the Philmont Training Center for a week last June, I gave my camera quite a workout. I think I came back with around 900 pictures from the trip. That is a lot, even for me. I remember my first trips to Philmont for 10 day backpacking treks in the 1980′s when I took 150 photographs and thought that was a lot of photos. Just goes to show the difference between film and digital technology I guess.

Almost every night during my stay at PTC I would wonder on over to the Philmont Base Camp and look around, take a look through the trading post, and maybe stop by the snack shop for a bag of popcorn or an ice cream cone. One evening I decided to play with the camera and see what kind of night shots I could take. Would this simple point and shoot Canon camera take good pictures when there was little light? I was going to find out.

I was pretty happy with the pictures. So was Bob, the district executive from our council who also went to PTC that week. I thought it might be fun to share the pictures with you so I posted 14 of them to a Flickr album for you all to view. Check them out and let me know what you think of them. The link can be found at
https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevejb68/sets/72157645252031607/  .

trexfootprint1Bob and I had a quick discussion about what we would do that Wednesday afternoon in June. We were at the Philmont Training Center and trying to plan our afternoon activity since there were no classes to attend. Philmont offered several options. I wanted to take a hike into the mountains, maybe go to the Tooth of Time. Bob wanted to check out the T-Rex footprint since he had never seen it during his previous visits to Philmont. The hike to the Tooth was not an option presented to us. I had not seen the footprint either, and it would give us an afternoon in the mountains, so we agreed to visit the fossil.

Philmont has the distinction of having the only documented Tyrannosaurus rex track in the world. It was discovered within the camp’s boundaries in 1993. It was formally identified in 1994 in North Ponil Canyon near the Anasazi Trail Camp. A cast of the famous T-Rex footprint found outside the Philmont museum matches the real one found near Ponil Canyon.

Wednesday afternoon arrived. Bob and I and several other Scouters and family members gathered for a short bus ride that would take us to the drop off point at which we would start our hike into the mountains. Two Philmont rangers joined us to be our guides.

It was great being in the Philmont backcountry once again. It had been ten years since my last visit to the ranch, and this time my hike would not involve wearing a full backpack. Our tour group included a young family and an older couple who were in their eighties. It was a nice easy going hike that actually followed a road. A hiking trail was seen a short distance to our left. I was hoping to get a picture of a crew as they hiked to their next campsite.

The trail to the footprint was supposed to be a short walk from our drop off point. We soon discovered that this was also the first time our rangers would visit the site also. They were as excited to see it as we were. Unfortunately, everyone in the group was taking and enjoying the hike so much that we walked right by the trail and did not even notice it.

I got a bit suspicious when I noticed we had come across a backcountry campsite. The rangers pulled out their maps to determine where we were. I notice a trail sign up ahead so I ran up to see what it said. Yep. We had gone too far. The T-rex footprint was now behind us.

Most of the group was okay with the extra hiking we had done but everyone had noticed the older couple was having a tougher time of it. They were getting pretty slow and quite tired. By the time we arrived back at the trail we needed to be at the older woman decided to stay behind and rest. The trail looked steeper and more rugged than the road and she did not want to risk it. Her husband decided to check out the site.

The three-toed T-rex footprint was not quite what I expected. I thought it would be an indentation into a fossilized rock or something. Instead, it was a footprint that stuck out of the fossil. The actual footprint had filled with something after being made by the dinosaur and actually became a relief of the print. I also wondered how the experts had determined this was the footprint of a  Tyrannosaurus rex. It was still cool to see it.

The site is now surrounded by a fence to keep people and larger animals off the fossil and causing any damage. A roof offers some protection from rain and the harsh sunlight. One of the people in the group told me the fence and roof were a recent addition to the site. I was glad to see the protective measures taken. Hopefully many future generations will be able to see the footprint.

Since we hiked a bit further than planned we were running behind schedule. One of the rangers ran ahead to tell the bus driver to wait for us. I was able to get the picture I wanted of a crew hiking a Philmont trail. The older gentleman of our group was determined to walk all the way back to the bus, even though we could tell he was physically pushing it further than he should. His wife gladly accepted a ride in a staff pickup that just happened to meet us on the road.

That evening Bob and I bought a patch as a souvenir of our trip to the T-rex footprint. We had both enjoyed our short trip into the Philmont backcountry. I had taken quite a few pictures during the hike, but it would be back to the classroom in the morning. Add it as one more great memory of my 2014 trip to Philmont Scout Ranch.

trexfootprint2

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Here is a picture of the crew we saw during the hike.

philmontcrew2014

 

patchescspIt is inevitable. If you are in the Scouting program for several years you will start collecting something. It could be activity patches. Maybe it will be council shoulder patches (csp’s) or Order of the Arrow lodge flaps. It might be coffee mugs or bolo ties. Would handbooks or fieldbooks be more to your liking? What do I collect? All of the above.

When I went to the Philmont Training Center in June I brought along some Central Minnesota Council shoulder patches to trade with Scouters from around the country. The first time I was introduced to patch trading was at the Philmont Training Center in 1984, and I was not prepared to do any trading. I have tried not to make that mistake anymore whenever I leave the council.

I brought 19 csp’s with me to trade at Philmont this year. Trading was to take place Monday evening that week. I was going to be ready.

I was a bit disappointed to see that only a half dozen people show up to trade patches at the South Tent City activity building, but I was able to do some trading. I was also able to trade a couple patches during the rest of the week. I went back to Minnesota with ten new council strips and one Order of the Arrow patch. I did well. I was happy.

There was one patch for trade that night that I really wanted for my collection. It was a Far East Council should patch that featured James E. West, the first Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. The young Scouter (a possible staff member?) that had the patch did not want to trade one for one. He wanted more. I did not want to give up any of my new patches so I prepared to leave without it. But than another young Scouter arrived and he had the same patch to trade. He was willing to trade one for one. I was able to add James E. West to my collection.

There was one patch that eluded my trading. National Commissioner Tico Perez was in attendance during the week I was at the training center. I tried to trade csp’s with him a couple of times but each time he did not have any patches with him to trade. He did however have his special red “National Commissioner Tico Perez” patch which he gave me. To tell the truth, I was more excited to add this rare patch to my collection than his council patch.

What do you collect? How many items do you have in your collection?

Philmont PatchToday is the day! Today marks the one millionth camper at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. That is a lot of Scouts! To commemorate this milestone a new patch has gone on sale at the Tooth Of Time Traders website. What do you think of this patch?

I wanted to buy this patch last month when I was at the Philmont Training Center but they were not selling them yet. The Philmont decision makers decided to wait until this date to release the patch for sale. I did get to see the patch while I was there. They had already given them out to the staff members and one of them showed me his patch as we hiked one afternoon to see the T-Rex footprint. I will admit I was a little envious, but I got over it.

Bob and I will now have to go to the website to place our order, which can be found at the Tooth of Time Traders site listed below.  http://www.toothoftimetraders.com/2014-Adventure-Patch/PABAADJPFCJOEKNF/Product .

Do you plan to buy this patch and add it to your collection?

Philmont Wagon 1984

Philmont!  I attended a week long session at the Philmont Training Center (PTC) this month and on the way back from the trip to New Mexico Bob and I looked at the pictures I had taken of my trip to the facility in 1984, which also happened to be the first time I visited Philmont Scout Ranch. It was interesting to see what had changed over the last three decades, and also what had stayed the same. If you have been to the ranch a few times over the decades you will know what I mean.

I thought those of you who have been to training center years ago might enjoy seeing this slideshow of my 1984 trip posted to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast. Even those of you who have been there recently will enjoy seeing the new buildings and other changes to both the training center and the base camp from which the Boy Scouts leave on their 12 day treks into the backcountry. You will notice that one of the biggest and best changes has been the new Welcome Center at the base camp.

By the way, three of the songs used in the video are song by members of the Philmont staff over thirty years ago. They are from a cassette tape I bought in 1984 at the base camp trading post. The album is called Philsongs: Remembered Days. I checked the store this month and did not see this available to buy anymore, is cassette or cd formats. I converted the cassette to mp3′s several years ago so I could listen to the songs on my iPod.

Video Information: 640×360, time 10:31, 108.9 MB. m4v format.

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Philmont Sunset 0871aA few things came to mind as I took a late evening walk around Melrose tonight that was different from taking a walk at Philmont Scout Ranch:
1) It is a lot more humid in Minnesota then it is in New Mexico.
2) It stays lighter about an hour later in central Minnesota than it does at Philmont.
3) There are a lot more mosquitoes in Minnesota than Philmont, which reminds me that MN is where skeeters are raised and then exported to the rest of the country.
4) There is a lot more traffic in Melrose than at Philmont Scout ranch.
5) I already miss those late night Philmont walks with Scouting friends that would take us to the Base Camp trading post for an ice cream cone before heading back to PTC.