[r63] Messmer Report: A Summer Scouting Adventure with my Son

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer is the time many of us take trips and family vacations. There is such a variety of beautiful places in our country to see, from mountains to ocean front beaches, and everything in between. I must admit, the last few years our household has made the excuse that we have been too busy to take time off and enjoy a trip somewhere.

This summer, while I had what may be my last opportunity, I decided to join our 16-year-old son and a group of 26 other Boy Scouts and adults, on a trip to the Philmont Scout Ranch in northeast New Mexico. There we will go on a 10-day hike in the southern Rocky Mountains.

When we arrive, our first day will be at Base Camp for orientation and safety training with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) camp staff. We will need to be sure we know how to manage our 10-day trip safely, where we will likely encounter bears and rattle snakes on a routine basis. A guide will be with us on our first day out on the trail to get us started.  They will remind us of many of the survival skills we will need to use while hiking approximately 75 miles, carrying 45-50 pound back packs that contain everything we will need for our trip.

We will carry our tents, stoves, sleeping bags, food and clothing we will need with us. There are food pick-up stops about every three days along the way. And each day we will each have to carry about a gallon of water that we will need as we hike from camp site to camp site. 

At each camp site, there is a different type of activity available that the scouts and adults can participate in, like rock climbing, repelling, sporting clay shooting, black powder rifles, fly fishing, horseback riding, and many other outdoor adventures. Not to mention, just the beautiful scenery we will enjoy along the way.

The Base Camp is at about 6,000 feet of elevation, and at our highest point we will camp out on a mountain top 12,000 feet above sea level! To say the least, I have been doing my best to get in shape for this hike.  I sure don’t want to be responsible for holding up the rest of the group because I can’t keep up.

I am looking forward to spending some great quality time with my son on this trip. He went two years ago with the scout troop and said it was the greatest experience of his life. When the opportunity came up again this year, I knew it may be my last chance to experience an adventure like this with him and did not want to pass it up. I will post some photos on my website when we return to share with you some of the highlights of the trip.