Thomasville Times Enterprise

Local News

July 12, 2014

Local troop treks through N.M. wilderness

A crew of teenagers and their parental leaders from Boy Scout Troop 306 recently went on a life-changing summer trek through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M.

Philmont covers 214 square miles of vast wilderness with trails that climb 6,500 feet to as high as 12,441 feet. It is the Boy Scouts of America’s premier high-adventure camp and the largest youth camp in the world, having served 1 million participants since 1938.

During their camp trek, the local scouts hiked 105 miles over 12 days.

The journey began June 12 at Tallahassee Regional Airport. From there, Troop 306 flew to Atlanta, then to Denver, from where they drove to Colorado Springs.

The next day, the group drove to Pike’s Peak, where it boarded COG Railway to the top of the mountain.

After scaling Pike’s it they drove to the Air Force Academy, where it toured the chapel and watched a video about the life of a new cadet in the academy.

One June 14, the troop rode out to whitewater raft down the Rio Grande. After two hours on the water, the scouts and parent leaders ate lunch and traveled to the U.S. Olympic Training Center for  a tour.

When the tour ended, they drove to the Garden of the Gods to conclude their day.

The next day, they traveled four and a half hours to Philmont’s base camp.

For the next two weeks, the scouts and their advisers carried everything that they needed to survive during their jaunt through the wilderness on their backs. Their backpack weights varied from 40-62 pounds before departing the base camp.

The scouts participated in backcountry programs along the way, including rock climbing, mountain biking, spar-pole climbing, gold panning, etc. The trek also included a conservation project where the scouts learned and participated in the upkeep of Philmont’s ecosystem.

In addition, they endured tough challenges, including backpacking in bear and mountain lion territory, steep climbs and occasional inclement weather.

Troop 306’s three crews reunited at the base camp on June 27.

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