High Adventure Blog


January 6, 2017

PTAC ANNOUNCES THE PHILMONT 2018 TREK:
SIGN UP FOR PHILMONT 2018 Now!

What is Philmont Scout Ranch and what do you do there?  Philmont is a BSA High Adventure Base located in Northern New Mexico– near the town of Cimarron.  Scouts and Adult Advisors back-pack or “trek” around this high-adventure base for a 12-day backpacking expedition through the rugged Sangre de Christo Mountain range.   Youth and Adult Advisors in crews of 8 to 12 typically hike 60 to 80 miles at elevations ranging from 6,500 feet above sea level (Basecamp) to 12,400 feet when at the top of Mt. Baldy – the highest mountain on the ranch.

Philmont Scout Ranch was donated to the BSA back in 1938 by a very generous oil tycoon by the name of Waite Phillips.  Waite also donated his beautiful summer home, hunting and fishing lodges and was instrumental in setting up some of the hiking trails that Scouts still hike to this day.  Philmont is not only a 2-week hike, but has 35 staffed camps, 770 trail camp sites and loads of program to do along your trek route.  Visit a real turn of the century gold mine, take a horse ride, race the burros and/or do serious rock climbing at Philmont.  Don’t forget to visit the WW2 plane wreckage on top of Trail peak, climb the famous landmark the “Tooth of Time” or maybe even tackle Mount Baldy at 12,400 Feet Above Sea Level.  Shoot 30-06, trap or Black Powder rifles, milk the cows at Crooked Creek camp and join in building a new trail for your 3-hour conservation project. Charlie Cyphers Stomp or the 7-Strings Campfire program at Crater Lake Camp are not to be missed!

One can only imagine the “extensive” training necessary to carry a 45-pound backpack over rugged, but beautiful mountainous terrain for 2 weeks, with all your food, water, clothes, tent, sleeping bag and cookware on your back.  Wildlife abounds at Philmont Scout Ranch including bears, mule-deer, mini-bears (you’ll find out what these are), rattlesnakes, etc…. so training is very important.  Daily mountain thunderstorms, low humidity, high temperatures during the day, low temperatures at night, elevations up to two miles high where the air is thinner and 200 square miles of back country wilderness requires very careful planning, dedicated physical training, close crew bonding and the proper backpacking equipment.

If your Troop, Crew or Team has never gone to Philmont, the annual PTAC Philmont Contingent would be ideal for you. Consider plugging your high adventure trip for 2017 into your Unit’s summer of 2017 schedule.  Designed for solo Scouts, partial crews, co-ed crews or even full crews of up to 12 participants who have never hiked Philmont, the PTAC Philmont Contingent Training volunteers take you through the trip planning process, budget, medical forms, equipment selection, physical training and crew formation process.  Adult Advisors who sign up for Philmont, supporting & representing the youth of the crew, take an active part in the different phases of the trip planning process.  Monthly meetings start in September and end in June – just before you depart by Amtrak train for Philmont Scout Ranch.

The PTAC Philmont Contingent Committee and advisors spend many hours forming up the PTAC Contingent each year, putting together 3-5 Crews with similar program and hiking interests and making sure the PTAC participants are fully prepared to hike Philmont, safely, successfully and to have a great time.  Hiking Philmont is truly the “Trip of a Lifetime” and a “Mountain Top” experience and many Scouts come home changed forever knowing they finished a challenging trek at Philmont.   The Mom’s always ask us… “What did you do to my son/daughter?”!!!

The PTAC Training Committee is made up of numerous volunteers, who have gone to Philmont multiple times, including the last 3 years.  They are well versed in current Philmont procedures.  2018 participants will get comprehensive, hands-on instruction in hanging your bear bags, setting up your “Bearmuda Triangle”, backpack & tent selection, water purification, cooking & use of backpacking stoves, back-country first-aid, mountain navigation, boot selection and much more.  Philmont Rangers regularly complement our Council Contingents and how well prepared they are, as the skills taught by the Philmont Staff have all ready been covered by the PTAC trainers.

The individual crews will have their own shakedown camping & hiking weekends, typically in May and June, where they will practice the skills learned and put in many more miles with their boots, packs and gear.  These weekends build the crew into a team as well as contribute to physical fitness.  Throughout the training months, there will be practice hikes at local forest preserves, hiking paths and inside shopping malls.  Crews regularly spend Sunday mornings at Woodfield Mall during the winter months.  Two hours of stairs and ramps with a full pack gets the heart pumping and bonds the Crew together.

The cost of the 2018 Contingent trip is estimated to be $ 1,850.00 and includes the Philmont Ranch fee, all trip transportation, meals, lodging, Shakedown Week-end, Taste of Philmont, 10-mile Shakedown Hike, Philmont belt & buckle, Philmont Tooth of Time Crew photo, side-trips and more.  Departure date will be July 6th - returning July 20th, 2018.   Due to LIMITED SPACE in the 2018 PTAC Contingent, excess Applications will be placed on a wait list.

2018 Registration closes April 30th, 2017 - NO EXTENSIONS WILL BE GRANTED.
Contact Tony Skiroock at anthonyskiroock@gmail.com for more information or questions.

Members of Troops 297, 496 & 198 after hiking down Tooth Ridge into Base Camp – they made it!


September 30, 2016

2016 Philmont Council Contigent Highlights

On Saturday, July 2, the twenty-one member Pathway to Adventure Council Philmont Contingent boarded Amtrak’s Southwest Chief at Union Station to start their trip of a lifetime. They journeyed overnight across the central plains and got off the train Sunday morning in La Junta, Colorado. After dropping their gear at the Koshare Indian Museum, the two crews drove over to Bent’s Old Fort. This National Park is a recreation of a Wild West fort on its original site on the Santa Fe Trail. The fort, built in 1833 by the Bent brothers, was a trading post for exchanging goods with native Americans to get buffalo skins to ship back East. It was also an outpost for military units to stock up and repair equipment. Frontiersman Kit Carson was employed by the Bent brothers and was a regular at the fort. The crews had the pleasure of meeting John Carson, Kit’s great-grandson, who is a ranger at the fort now. The contingent then returned to museum, which was founded in 1933 by Troop 232, to watch members of the Troop, as well Crew 2230 to perform native American dances in the museum’s dance hall or Kiva. The contingent spent the night on the dance floor then boarded the Amtrak train again on the morning of July 4th for the final train leg to Raton, New Mexico. Philmont buses were waiting at the train station to take them, along with several hundred more Scouts getting off train, to Philmont.

  

Upon arrival at Philmont, each crew met their ranger, who guided them through the controlled chaos of base camp as well as the first two days and nights on the trail. The ranger’s primary job is to train the crew on Philmont’s methods including camp set up, navigation, water purification, bear encounter prevention, meal preparation and clean up. All of this information was a review for the contingent as they had all ready been taught these skills during various training sessions the PTAC Philmont Training Committee provided during the six months prior to their arrival at Philmont. On the morning of the third day on the trail, the rangers left the crews and the contingent members were on their own.

Crew 704-T-01 was made up of members from Troop 37 from Arlington Heights and Troop 95 of Elk Grove Village. They selected Trek 16, a 77 mile tour of the South country, featuring programs including shotgun/trap shooting, 30-06 rifle shooting, 3D archery, rock climbing & rappelling, spar pole climbing, and horseback riding. They ascended Comanche Peak, Mt. Phillips, Schaeffer’s Peak, and visited the B24 plane wreckage atop Trail Peak. Their eleventh and final day on the trail featured a side hike to the top Philmont’s trademark landmark, the Tooth of Time. Unfortunately, upon reaching the top, they came across about 100 Scouts from the National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE) training course, perched on top of the rocky summit. After a brief photo op, the crew headed back down Tooth Ridge trail and through the We All Made It gate back into Base Camp.

    

Crew 704-T-02, comprised of members of Troop 49 from Lemont and Blackhawk Area Council Troop 151, had the 66 mile Trek 8. Their second day on the trail included the realization they were in the wilderness, where you can’t count on technology. A member of their sister crew (a crew on the same trek but from another troop) had an asthma attack and medical help was needed. One of our adults was able to get a brief phone connection to a member of the training committee, stating there was an emergency but was unable to share many details other than they were on the trail from Lover’s Leap to Urraca, before losing signal. While phone calls from home were made to Base Camp, the two rangers scrambled up a mountain to finally get strong cell phone coverage and made the call to Base Camp.  Medical help drove up and the stricken Scout was taken to health lodge to be stabilized. With that excitement behind them, the crew enjoyed such activities as 30-06 rifle & black powder rifle shooting, horseback riding, fly tying & fishing, and challenge events.  They ascended and camped atop Mt. Phillips, which at 11,771 feet, is probably one of the highest elevation campsites in the nation. Their final night was at Tooth Ridge camp, at the base of the Tooth of Time, which allowed them to wake early and watch the sunrise from the top of the Tooth, before their final hike down Tooth Ridge Trail also.

The contingent came back together at the Closing Ceremony. The youth crew leaders were honored for their leadership, and the adult advisors thanked for their guidance from the background, as the Philmont experience is about youth leadership in the wilderness. The crew boarded a bus the following morning that took them to the Kit Carson Museum. The museum, operated by Philmont, is the recreated homestead of Kit Carson, on the grounds where he actually lived on the Santa Fe trail. Then, it was on to the airport in Denver for a flight home, because after being away for two weeks, getting home fast is important. 

Neither crew directly encountered any potentially dangerous wildlife. The only sign of bears was their droppings but Crew 1 did hear the scream of a mountain lion that they believe was following them for a while. The weather was outstanding and the rains of the local monsoon season never manifested. The contingent members came home with memories of sunrises, sunsets, amazing vistas, looking down on clouds, great program, sore feet & hips, blisters, gear problems, trail food, getting lost, topping a peak and all the greatness that a Philmont trek is. 

The PTAC 2017 Contingent of two crews is all ready filled but registration will start soon for two crews in 2018.


September 1, 2016

In March of 2014, Troop 140 set off on a trip of a lifetime to Sea Base in Florida. Planning started a long time before that since we chose the Scuba Live Aboard Adventure. Twelve Scouts and adult leaders spent hours in a pool and in a lake learning how to scuba dive. What a great experience!!

We arrived at Sea Base on a Saturday in March for our adventure of Scuba Live Aboard. After our introduction to Sea Base buildings, all the divers were taken to the pool to show their knowledge of scuba diving. Equipment was distributed and then we met our captains. Our group of 12 was divided equally onto two sailboats. We loaded food and personal gear and then we were off into the great unknown of the Atlantic Ocean. Dolphins were at our bow which, to us, meant that we would have a great week. We spent 7 days on the boat. We did have some rough weather causing us to miss several dives and go into port for a night. The dives were made around the Florida Keys and included a reef called Chicken and Hens. We also got to see the Buddha statue that sat near a coral reef.

    

Some thoughts from a few of the boys that went on the trip….

Of all of my experiences and adventures through Troop 140, the high adventure trip to Florida Sea Base stands out among the rest. The opportunity to scuba dive and live on a sailboat for a week is one that I am glad that I did not pass over. I was absolutely terrified before I signed up because I was always thinking what could go wrong while diving. But I signed up anyway. We arrived at Sea Base itself and every fear disappeared. I was able to bond with my crew members and make friends for life. I was able to see things and do things that nobody else ever could. The trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity and every day I am glad that I took that opportunity. – Nick D.

In my many years in Troop 140, I have gone on numerous campouts, earned 50+ merit badges, participated in a myriad of service projects and even backpacked Philmont twice. I have been all over the United State with Boy Scouts and yet one trip, to this day, stands out as the most unique and enjoyable Boy Scout trips I have ever been on. That trip was Sea Base. Choosing to go there my sophomore year of high school was possibly one of the best decisions I have ever made. When I first was deciding, I thought I wouldn’t enjoy the trip because it was scuba diving and the idea of being underwater scared me. However, I soon learned that scuba diving is an activity that everyone should experience at least once. When I was in scuba training, we practiced in a pool. The experience of being completely immersed in water but able to breathe was an amazing feeling. If this felt this good, I couldn’t wait to get to Sea Base. I completed my training and we headed to the Florida Keys to begin our scuba adventure. Our trip included a week of sailing and sleeping on a sail boat around the coral reefs in the Atlantic off of the Keys. We would take stops every so often to dive. I was so excited. The trip exceeded the expectations that I had for it which were already high. During this trip, I was able to make friends with other scouts on our boat, scuba dive and relax in the Florida Keys (who wouldn’t want to do that??). On top of all of it, we had really good food which we cooked ourselves (spaghetti, crepes and brats). I would give Sea Base a 9.999999 of out 10 and would love to go there again. Everyone should want to experience this trip! - Trevor M.

Sea Base was the best BSA trip I ever went on. It brought my scouting skills to the next level, and created life long memories with the other scouts on the trip. I would say it is one trip that every scout should go on. – Matt M.

As you can see, the Scouts really enjoyed the trip. Sea Base has many other opportunities as well. You can learn to dive there, sail, and a whole host of other activities. When looking for a new high adventure experience, be sure to consider Florida Sea Base!!!



June 28, 2016


Philmont Crew Member Slots Still Available For 2017

The 2016 Pathway to Adventure Council's 2016 Philmont Contingent has completed their High Adventure training and is packing to leave in just a few weeks for a July 4 arrival at Base camp.

PTAC is still filling the 2017 Contingent's two crews. One crew of twelve is complete and the second crew has only three members so far, which is not enough. We need add at least five people, preferably nine.

What is Philmont Scout Ranch and what do you do there? Philmont is a BSA High Adventure Base located in Northern New Mexico– near the town of Cimarron. Scouts and adult advisors back-pack or “trek” around this high-adventure base for a 12-day backpacking expedition through the rugged Sangre de Christo Mountain range. Youth and adult advisors in crews of 8 to 12 typically hike 60 to 80 miles at elevations ranging from 6,500 feet above sea level (Basecamp) to 12,400 feet when at the top of Mt. Baldy – the highest mountain on the ranch.

Philmont Scout Ranch was donated to the BSA back in 1938 by a very generous oil tycoon by the name of Waite Phillips. Waite also donated his beautiful summer home, hunting and fishing lodges and was instrumental in setting up some of the hiking trails that Scouts still hike to this day. Philmont is not only a 2-week hike, but has 35 staffed camps, 770 trail camp sites and loads of program to do along your trek route. Visit a real turn of the century gold mine, take a horse ride, race the burros and/or do serious rock climbing at Philmont. Don’t forget to visit the WW2 plane wreckage on top of Trail peak, climb the famous landmark the “Tooth of Time” or maybe even tackle Mount Baldy at 12,400 Feet Above Sea Level.  Shoot 30-06, trap or Black Powder rifles, milk the cows at Crooked Creek camp and join in building a new trail for your 3-hour conservation project. Charlie Cyphers Stomp or the 7-Strings Campfire program at Crater Lake Camp are not to be missed!

One can only imagine the “extensive” training necessary to carry a 45-pound backpack over rugged, but beautiful mountainous terrain for 2 weeks, with all your food, water, clothes, tent, sleeping bag and cookware on your back. Wildlife abounds at Philmont Scout Ranch including bears, mule-deer, mini-bears (you’ll find out what these are), rattlesnakes, etc.… so training is very important. Daily mountain thunderstorms, low humidity, high temperatures during the day, low temperatures at night, elevations up to two miles high where the air is thinner and 200 square miles of back country wilderness requires very careful planning, dedicated physical training, close crew bonding and the proper backpacking equipment.

If your troop, crew or team has never gone to Philmont, the annual PTAC Philmont Contingent would be ideal for you. Consider plugging your high adventure trip for 2017 into your unit’s summer of 2017 schedule. Designed for solo Scouts, partial crews, co-ed crews or even full crews of up to 12 participants who have never hiked Philmont, the PTAC Philmont Contingent Training volunteers take you through the trip planning process, budget, medical forms, equipment selection, physical training and crew formation process. Adult advisors who sign up for Philmont will be supporting & representing the youth of the crew, taking an active part in the different phases of the trip planning process. Monthly meetings start in September and end in June – just before you depart by Amtrak train for Philmont Scout Ranch.

Departure date will be July 1st via Amtrak- returning July 15th, 2017 via airline.  

The cost of the 2017 Contingent trip is estimated to be $ 1,800 and includes the Philmont Ranch fee, all trip transportation, meals, lodging, Shakedown Week-end, Taste of Philmont, 10-mile Shakedown Hike, Philmont belt & buckle, two contingent shirts, Philmont Tooth of Time Crew photo, side-trips and more.

For more details and/or to request an Application to sign up for the 2017 PTAC Contingent – go to http://pathwaytoadventure.org/highadventure

For more information or to schedule a troop presentation, contact Tony Skiroock at anthonyskiroock@gmail.com.


June 1, 2016

For many Scouts from Troop 79 out of Chicago, the highlight of last summer was a trip to Northern Tier – the BSA high adventure base in Northern Minnesota in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.  Twenty-three Scouts and nine adult leaders paddled, portaged and explored the more than 1 million-acre wilderness area that features pristine lakes, meandering rivers, dense forests and abundant wildlife.

Northern Tier is a place where Scouting skills are put into practice and fun abounds. The four crews from Troop 79 enjoyed swimming after long days on lakes and portage trails, spectacular nighttime skies, and beautiful island campsites, not to mention freshly caught walleye as part of their nightly camp dinners. In the process, the Scouts honed their leadership and outdoor skills and gained invaluable self-reliance. The boys and adults had so much fun that they’ve already planned a return trip to Northern Tier over the 2016 Christmas break to participate in OKPIK – the base’s cold weather camping program.

Are you looking for a way to experience high adventure, but aren’t able to do it with your home troop? The Pathway to Adventure Council is currently recruiting Scouts and leaders for council contingents at all four national high adventure bases!

Submit the brief Interest Form at PathwayToAdventure.org/HighAdventure and we’ll send you information on the trips that interest you. Questions can be emailed to the High Adventure Committee Chair, Spencer Long, at Spencer.Long@gmail.com.