I am an Eagle Scout who recently went to Philmont, New Mexico. Philmont is a Boy Scout high adventure camp that challenges the scout’s ability to survive in the wilderness. Our group of nine boys and two advisors was challenged with a twelve day wilderness experience where we would hike every day for a total of seventy-four miles and reaching altitudes above two miles. All the while we will be carrying packs containing food, clothes, tents, and other gear.
The base camp was complete with a dining hall a laundry mat and the largest scout store. We were required to take training on bears and other wilderness animals. Our instructor taught us what gear was acceptable and what ways our gear should be worn. The most important rule was no electronics. Our packs ranged from fifty-four to seventy pounds. Around noon the next day we departed from base camp.
A bus took us miles away from camp to a small clearing to start our journey. The first day we traveled eight miles, which is a typical one day hike on regular campouts back home. The weather was much dryer than that of South Carolina causing us nosebleeds. That afternoon we set up our first campsite on a hill. We had to make bear bags in order to keep our gear safe from critters that night. After our first dinner two boys had the bright idea of having a chugging contest. Because of the amount he drank, one boy was forced to puke in a gallon sized bag which he was forced to carry with him the rest of the expedition.
That morning we ate our breakfast of energy bars and water and headed to a nearby stream to refill. We had to use tablets in order to purify our water to prevent Guardia. Because of how dry our environment was we drank over four liters of water a day. There were many wild animals that we passed through on our way to our next checkpoint. We found mule deer, cows, and coyotes. What really amazed us was how the animals would approach us as friendly beings and we could even touch the animals. Unfortunately, not all animals were friendly. Small chipmunk like animals called “mini-bears” would surround our camp and seize any bits of food unattended. They would rucks off our sacks and scatter the contents.
For food we used a propane burner to cook dinner. Dinner was sometimes dried pasta, a soup or gravy, and our favorite one, burritos. Cleaning up after dinner was important because the last thing we needed was bears going through our tents at night. We heard stories from other groups that one scout was attacked by a bear after leaving sauce on his shirt. We soon saw a bear one afternoon with two of its cubs. We followed what our training told us which was to sing “Twinkle Little-Star.” Surprisingly it worked. On the climax of our trip we woke up in snow along with high winds which forced us to leave quickly. On the top of the mountain we met our goal, a large view of all of New Mexico and mountains seventy miles into Colorado. That scene was beautiful. The temperature was well below freezing despite summer.
The last night on the trail we climbed up on a mountain overlooking base camp and watched as the sun rose. We could even see the wildfires ways in the distant. The trip was very amazing and I will never forget the adventure I had. It was fun seeing what God created.
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