Saturday, June 24, 2023

Rest for the weary

A group of Boy Scouts in uniform placing emphasis on new Philmont patches on their uniforms
The crew modeling their new Philmont arrowhead patches.

Friday evening, Crew 612-N made it back to base camp after covering over 70 miles of backpacking across Philmont’s backcountry.

Group of boy scouts backpacking on a trail
The crew hiking out of Miranda on the final leg of their Philmont trek.
Although the crew planned to sleep later than usual and arise at 7:30 a.m., a leader in an adjacent campsite had other plans — deciding to awaken his crew by banging on a metal pot at 6:00 a.m. The upside was that there was plenty of time to eat breakfast and pack up before heading over to the Miranda range to shoot .50 caliber black-powder rifles. The mountain men provided instruction on loading and firing the weapons and how to handle them safely. Then, each member of the crew was allowed to load and shoot three rounds apiece at a variety of metal targets and some carefully placed bandanas belonging to various crew members. Everyone had a good time and some of the bandanas were returned with holes in them.
Group of boy scouts sitting as a group in camp chairs eating lunch
The crew's final time together on the trail enjoying lunch and reminiscing, before heading back to base camp.

Following this, the crew loaded up its packs and headed up the trail — for the last mile-and-a-half — to the Maxwell turnaround to meet the bus and head back to base camp. They had time to eat their last trail lunch and share some reminisces of their time on the trail before the bus arrived.

Group of boy scouts sitting together on a bench
The crew all cleaned up and prior to the closing campfire.
Once back at base camp, the group scurried to get all of the Philmont gear cleaned and turned in at the proper places before they could get cleaned up and back in Class A uniforms before dinner. The crew looked (and smelled) quite different after a thorough scrubbing. After dinner, they attended the closing campfire and received their Philmont arrowhead patches.

During the 12-day trek, the group enjoyed a wide variety of experiences, including climbing spar poles, gold panning, challenge course events, and shooting. The food preparation also ran the gamut from crunchy cheddar rice to chicken and stuffing — and a nice dehydrated beef stroganoff. Of course, everything tastes great on the trail.

The trek also included a good deal of fun and inside jokes. The next time you meet a member of Crew 612-N, be sure to ask what the water word for the day was, who held the position of High Cardinal, why the crew always seemed to be plotting a coup against crew leader Jake’s authoritarian regime in favor of forming a communist collective, and why you should never ask a member of the crew to say grace.

The crew hits the asphalt trail (i.e., the paved road home) to Auburn on Saturday for the two-day return trip, arriving Sunday with plenty more of stories to share.

Check out all of the crew's Philmont adventures here on the troop blog and check out photos of the trip in the troop's online photo album.