Two crews of teenage Boy Scouts and adult leaders from Troop 3 Wilmette hiked 76 miles over 11 days 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 feet to as high as 12,441 feet. The Scouts and leaders returned from the life-changing summer trek on August 7, 2017.
The crews carried everything they needed to survive during the trek on their backs while hiking from camp to camp through the New Mexico wilderness. They participated in backcountry programs along the way including rock climbing, burro packing, black powder rifle shooting, horseback riding, and blacksmithing. The trek included a conservation project where the Scouts learned about the upkeep of Philmont’s ecosystem. Along the trek, Scouts endured tough challenges, including backpacking in bear and mountain lion territory, ascending Baldy Mountain (12,441 ft. elevation) and persevering in hail and lighting storms.
Crew 725-F1 included scouts Evan Rittner (crew leader) Michael Howie (wilderness guia), Ryan Rittner (chaplain’s aid), Ian Moloney, Connor Pochetti, Ben Verhoog, George Wise and adult leaders Scott Howie, Brian Moloney, John Rittner and Brent Verhoog. Crew 725-F2 included scouts Kyle Evenson (crew leader), Ethan Schaffner (wilderness guia), Alexander Beane Powell (chaplain’s aid), Russell McGrath, Cooper Miller, Josh Puce, Tommy Schindler and adult leaders Jim Evenson, Jerome Beane and Jon Schindler.
“They may meet only one other group of Scouts on the trail in an entire day of hiking,” according to Backpacker Magazine. “Even in the most crowded destinations, each Scout group camps in isolation, out of sight and sound of all other groups.”
The crew made what amounts to a Scouting pilgrimage with their trip to Philmont. Philmont Scout Ranch is the Boy Scouts of America’s premier high adventure camp and the largest youth camp in the world serving nearly one million participants since 1938.
Submitted by Troop 3 Wilmette