2021 Philmont Trek
In 2021, scouts from Troop 167 traveled to Philmont, New Mexico for about two weeks, to participate in a hiking event along with troops from all over the country.
According to Maxwell L, the drive out to Philmont took five days and four nights. On the drive out, the troop started driving in a northwest direction and slowly headed southwest after the first day or two. The troop left Arlington on July 30th to arrive at Philmont on August 4th, and visited interesting places along the way.
On the first day, they visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, which was cool to walk around, and got a bumper sticker for one of their vans. This would be a running theme for most places visited.
Most nights, the scouts stayed at a KOA, but on the first night they stayed at a different campground. Many in the crews would argue that the first night was the best due to nice weather and campsite conditions. There was also a nice flat field for a troop football game. Later in the night, they also played Manhunt.
On their second day, the Scouts visited the Indianapolis Zoo, which Mr. Leiphart was very familiar with. They saw a Dolphin show, which is always fun, but there wasn’t much time afterwards to explore the rest of the zoo. They spent the second night at a KOA, and played Among Us and Mario Kart on our DS’s, which was fun.
They visited the St. Louis Arch on the third day. Scouts rode little pods (elevators) with two or three other people up and to the side towards the top of the arch. The view from up there was amazing, and one of the staff there showed them how to take cool pictures where they would lean towards the camera on the slope on top of the arch to look like they were floating. Scouts then split for lunch, half going to eat barbeque and half to eat soul food, which left everyone happy. They stayed at another KOA that night, although it was pretty wet.
The next day, they visited a giant chair sculpture. The KOA they stayed at was…interesting to say the least. By this point they were basically in the desert without much grass, and the KOA was a fenced off area filled with pebbles. Scouts went to the pool room and played pool and foosball.
On day five, they visited Pikes Peak in Colorado, and took the railway up rather than hiking for eight hours, which would have taken too long. The conductor/narrator told some very interesting stories about Pikes Peak on the way up. Unfortunately it was foggy and raining at the top. Everyone huddled into their surprisingly very large visitor center on the peak, which was packed with a food court, large store, museum, and viewing decks. On the way back down, everyone just enjoyed the view. Afterwards, the troop went to the Garden of the Gods, which was a collection of natural sandstone in very cool shapes. They took a nice short hike around the park, and took lots of pictures. The KOA they stayed at that night was by far the worst for one reason, all the bugs! It was seriously insane how much bug spray was used, and everyone went in early that night just to get away from them.
Finally, the troop arrived at Philmont. They were briefed and shown where the tents were, went to med-check and checked out gear for the next day. Most people also went to the Tooth of Time Traders to buy things they might need for the trek that they had forgotten.
From Decker R’s perspective, the Philmont hike was an excellent experience involving hiking in a forested desert area with canyons. The area was very dry, though with interesting intermittent streams. Hiking up Baldy Mountain, which is over 12,000 feet high, was exciting, and the crew made good time going up making it back before dark. The crew also had the fun experience of not being able to lift the bear bags even with his crew all working together.
Mr. Fletcher, one of the adults on the trip, explained that there were two separate Philmont crews participating in similar activities. He found Philmont quite a memorable and fun experience. Part of what made it memorable was the nature on the trek, including seeing interesting varieties of wildflowers. The Scouts also participated in many activities on their treks. For example, Scouts learned how to climb wooden spar poles using foot spikes. They also tried their hand at blacksmithing as well as panning for gold on the fifth day of their hike. Scouts found a few gold flakes! They also learned tomahawk throwing, fired shotguns, and shooting targets using pistols and other firearms in an activity called Cowboy Action Shooting. Scouts saw engraved art made by a Native American tribe known as the Anasazi in the 1400s and a preserved T-rex footprint. The print is the first one of a T. rex ever discovered and it is quite impressive at almost three feet in length. According to the book, A Million Miracles: 75 Years at Philmont Scout Ranch, by David Mullings, this track was “discovered in 1983 in Philmont’s Ponil country by Charles Pillmore of the U.S. Geological Survey.” This print, “and two others found at Philmont in 2009, likely date from the Late Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic Era, an estimated 66 million years ago.”
Philmont was a true wonder for Scouts of Troop 167 and they accomplished quite an incredible feat, hiking a total of 55 miles. The Scouts now definitely have one amazing tale to tell that will stay with them their whole lives.
- Troop Historian