Troop 868 in Action

PHILMONT SCOUT RANCH (July, 2008)
Expedition # 713-O     Trek # 13

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At Beaubien, where we camped for two consecutive nights, we completed a 3-hour conservation project, learned how to rope cattle, did some branding, had a chuck-wagon dinner, enjoyed two evening campfires, and had a long and fun horseback trail ride with the wranglers.  We were also able to take showers at Beaubien.

Weather in the mountains can be quite sudden and unpredictable.  While at Beaubien, we experienced hail storms both afternoons right around 2 PM.  Skies were sunny and clear when, within 10 minutes time they became dark and opened up with lightning, hail, and drenching rain.  In less than an hour, the storm had passed and the skies were once again sunny and clear!  Any wet clothing and equipment dried rapidly.

Overall, our crew experienced very little rain.  This was not true for crews hiking in other areas.  In the mountains of Philmont, it can be pouring down rain on one side of a peak or ridge and bone dry on the other side depending on how the wind is blowing.  Lightning poses a much greater threat than rain and lightning strikes are fairly common.  While we were camped at Beaubien lightning that preceded one of the hail storms struck a tree about 30 feet from the men's shower house and totally destroyed it.  Fortunately, no one was injured.  But seeing what was left of the tree afterward offered a pretty sober lesson about the power of nature.

As much as we enjoyed the various activities, program really isn't the big thing about Philmont.  The Philmont experience is really more about the challenge and teamwork of enduring and successfully completing an 11-day trek in primitive surroundings.  The views from higher elevations are breath-taking.  The highest peak we reached on our trek was the top of Black Mountain at 10,884 feet.  The 1,600 foot climb from Black Mountain Camp was steep, rugged, and challenging even without backpacks.  The view from the top was awesome.  We had intended to also hike to the top of Mount Philips that was even higher but elected to forego that challenge due to threatening weather and the danger of lightning.

Daily hiking distance on our itinerary varied between 3~13 miles with 6~8 miles being typical. Our crew performed a conservation project one morning in partial fulfillment of the BSA 50-Miler Award.. 
While in camp at Beaubien, we experienced an afternoon hail storm that made the ground look as if snow had fallen. Patrick is pictured here mixing bisquit dough to be baked in a dutch oven for a chuck wagon dinner.
Everyone enjoyed a 2-hour trail ride at Beaubien. En route to Black Mountain Camp, the crew had to transport a load of coal for the blacksmithing forge and devised a way to share the load between two scouts.  Carry duties were rotated.
On top of Black Mountain at 10,889 feet Patrick took this photo of the rest of the crew posing. Each night's dinner involved using liquid fuel stoves to boil water in pots to which dehydrated meals were then added.
Paul and Patrick shoot black powder muskets at Black Mountain Camp under the watchful eye of a counselor. Philip took aim and fired off a Civil War era minnie ball shot.  Like nearly everyone else, he missed his target.
Each scout also got to do some blacksmithing.  In this photo, Alex is hammering a piece of red hot iron against an anvil. Supplies are brought into Black Mountain Camp by pack burros that Chris, Paul, Trey, and Patrick enjoyed meeting.

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