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BS Troop 527 takes on Rockies

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POSTED: July 21, 2010 10:43 a.m.
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Campers included, front from left: Jacob Johnson, Sean Hardy, Daniel Sullivan, Ranger Mark Salinas, Fletcher Medler, Connor Halliburton and Steven Slack; back from left: Janssen Thomas, Dave Sullivan, Mike Hardy, Yves Halliburton and Bruce Slack.

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How do you spell adventure? Boy Scout Troop 527 of Richmond Hill United Methodist Church spells it 613-F. That was the expedition number assigned to our crew of 11 Scouts who recently completed a high country trek of 60 miles over 11 days at the Philmont Scout Ranch. The nearest metropolis is Cimarron, N.M., with a population of 1,053 souls. Philmont is the Boy Scouts of America’s oldest national high-adventure base covering 127,395 acres of rugged mountain wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) range of the Rocky Mountains in northern New Mexico.
On June 13, after traveling from the hill to Jacksonville to Tampa to Denver and finally to New Mexico, we stepped out of the vans into the hot dry thin air at Philmont Headquarters and Base Camp, altitude 6,696 feet. The next day we set off on our amazing trek filled with breathtaking views (literally). How did we do it and what did we see?
Daily, two Scouts served as crew navigator and pacesetter to negotiate the trail through the mountains, passes, peaks, gorges, across mesas and streams, through forests of Ponderosa Pine, Juniper, Aspen and Scrub Oak to see wild life and flora. Backpacks were used to carry food and gear as we took water from mountain springs. Staff camps along our trek served as living history classrooms of discovery for archaeology, gold mining, ranching, western lore as well as venues for nightly entertainment.
Oh yes, we did do some other things like: saw the world’s only T-Rex track, toured ancient canyon petroglyphs, rode horses, built trails, raced burros, shot and reloaded 30.06 rifles and 12 gauge shotguns, blacksmithing, climbed and repelled rocks, saw a cantina show, drank root beer, ate chuck wagon dinner and breakfast, encountered seven black bears, hung out with mule deer all around our campsite, made friends with a crew from Chicago. All of this is very run of the mill stuff at Philmont.
Our campsite elevations ranged from 7,040 to 8,960 feet in altitude. Our trek topped Hart peak (7,975’) and included a side hike up Shaefers peak (9,413’). On June 24 we ascended up the Tooth of Time peak (9,003’) to watch the sunrise in sile nce; a special time of reflection and introspection. The “Tooth” afforded us an overlook of Cimarron and our destination, base camp. From there we traversed 6.5 miles of switchbacks in 2 hr 20 min. time. Trail’s end? Yes. Journey’s end? No.
We returned to Richmond Hill different Scouts. We matured in our understanding and realization that Philmont was not a destination but in actuality an adventure of self discovery, leadership and service to others. The ranch was started by Waite Phillips in 1941 and is daily being “paid forward” by countless others in and out of the Boy Scouts of America who live our slogan, “Do a Good Turn Daily.” What a way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Boy Scouts 1910-2010.
Printed words cannot describe this journey, but we can, just ask us. We are and always will be Crew 613-F. Fletcher Medler (crew leader); Daniel Sullivan (chaplain aide); Sean Hardy (wilderness guia); Steve Slack (crew reporter); Janssen Thomas, Jacob Johnson, Connor Halliburton (crew members); Bruce Slack (crew advisor); Mike Hardy, Yves Halliburton, Dave Sullivan (co-advisors).

 

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