San Clemente Boy Scouts trek 50 miles through New Mexico Wilderness
By Bo Burick, Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 737
A crew of seven teenage Scouts and two adult leaders went on a life-changing trek 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 above sea level to as high as 12,441 feet. During their trek, the Troop 737 crew hiked 50 miles over six days.
They backpacked with everything needed to survive while hiking from camp to camp. The scouts participated in backcountry programs such as rock climbing, trail construction, blackpowder rifle shooting and blacksmithing. The trek included a conservation project where the crew learned and participated in the upkeep of Philmont’s ecosystem. Not only was the New Mexico backcountry challenging and beautiful, but the entire group learned many things.
The first challenge was hiking over several peaks, through heat, rain, hail, thunder and lightning at high altitudes through bear and mountain lion territory. The even greater challenge was for all crew members to come together and truly work as a cohesive unit.
The Scouts shared all forms of duties such as carrying equipment and food, cooking, cleaning, securing water, setting camp, hanging bear bags, and on-trail navigation. Most often, these duties had to be performed at the end of a long day of hiking in foul weather and in the dark. Through these efforts the crew acquired the memories and experiences they will carry with them for the rest of their lives and shape their futures.
Philmont Scout Ranch is the Boy Scouts of America’s premier high adventure camp and the largest youth camp in the world, serving more than 1 million participants since 1938.
The Troop 737 crew included Bo Burick, Kyle Burick, Johnny Burick, William Hirsh, Dr. Jim Keany, Jason Keany, Andrew Stefaniak, Josh Vollebregt and Christian Wentzel.