A crew of 12 teenage Boy Scouts from Simsbury and their leaders went on a life changing summer trek in early August 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. During their trek Boy Scout Troop #174, who meet at Simsbury Methodist Church hiked 88 miles over 12 days.
The Scouts and their advisors carried everything they needed to survive during the trek on their backs while hiking from camp to camp. They participated in backcountry programs along the way including horseback riding, panning for gold, log splitting, and firing muzzle loading rifles. The troop even had the assistance of a burro on the last day which they named “John”. The trek included a conservation project where the Scouts helped build a future hiking trail. Over the course of two weeks Scouts endured tough challenges including backpacking in bear and mountain lion territory, steeps climbs and inclement weather every day with lightening and even hail.
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.
Original article from the Hartford Courant, by Jim Roberts.