Philmont 2004 Double H Ranch
Boy Scouts and three adult leaders spent
a week in early July backpacking in the Galinas Mountains of southwestern New
Mexico. They hiked and camped on
land previously walked only by elk, antelope, bear and mountain lion, and by
Native American tribes hundreds of years ago.
In the process, they visited Native American petroglyphs, and made a new
discovery – a previously unknown hilltop ceremonial ring used by the ancients,
overlooking a dominant feature of the landscape depicted in the petroglyphs!
The 100,000 acre Double H ranch was opened for the first time to a limited number of backpackers this summer. Donated last winter the gift carried with it the proviso that the land be made available for youth to experience and preserve nature. The Foundation contracted for three years with Philmont Scout Ranch in northeastern New Mexico to provide the nature oriented programming and organize backpacking treks for scouts and their adult leaders.
There are no trails, the crew had the flexibility to hike and camp wherever they wanted, limited only by the availability of water from windmill pumped wells. The crew members learned and practiced Leave No Trace hiking and camping skills, to preserve the land. Navigation skills by map and compass, as well as by hand held satellite Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
and purifying backcountrywater, the crew hiked across thousands of acres of
pristine country, including nearly 5000 feet of cumulative elevation gain up to
a high point of nearly 9000 feet. With
peak experiences like seeing thousand year old canyon wall carvings and
discovering a grass covered rock ceremonial ring, the crew members achieved
their scouting, physical and spiritual goals. They then headed home the way
they came, on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief overnight to Kansas City.
The expedition included five youth from Troop 61: Michael L., Ben T., David W., David L., and Max Z., and Troop 61 adults Jonathan D., Max K. and Norman K. (Crew Advisor). There were other Troop's represented on this crew.