Find your life-changing moment at Philmont Scout Ranch

Photo by Steel Brooks

Some Scouts from Arroyo Grande, Calif., had waited years for this moment. The 2018 Ute Fire and the COVID-19 pandemic had delayed their plans to trek the rugged trails of Philmont Scout Ranch, but this past summer, they shouldered their packs, ready to backpack nearly 70 miles.

Starting at the Ponil trailhead in Philmont’s north country, the crew would reach some of the high-adventure base’s most iconic peaks, including Baldy Mountain and the Tooth of Time.

For Baldy, the Scouts awaken at 4 a.m. and take to the trail. Above the tree line and across a scree field dotted with snow, they scramble to the summit.

For some in the crew, the moment was especially profound.

“I really have no words for it,” says Andrew Turbyfill, 19. “It’s incredible. I’m so proud of the crew. We’ve worked so hard to get here, and I’ve waited so long to be here.”

When he was 14, Andrew injured his foot right before the Philmont trek and had to back out. Future treks were delayed by the fire and the pandemic. Finally, this past summer, in his final year eligible to attend as a youth participant, he made it. He was overjoyed — and he wasn’t the only one smiling.

“Because of Philmont, I almost feel like I’m a lot happier more often. Now that I’ve done it, I just can’t stop smiling,” says Jayce Dawson.

Watch this crew’s trek in the video below, and you’ll soon understand their smiles:

Want to experience Philmont?

You and your Scouts can start planning a life-changing trek now. Some spots are still available for 2022 — make sure to secure your spot.

You can also enter the lottery for seven-, nine- and 12-day treks and Cavalcades in 2023. Entries close Dec. 1, so register soon.

Crews can consist of eight to 12 participants, with options for troops and individuals. Individual opportunities include staff-led treks focused on themes such as leadership, conservation and STEM, among others. You also have options for adventures during the fall and winter.

Hub for Scouting

Not only does Philmont bring Scouts together in the backcountry, but it also is the home for Scouting’s history and future.

The National Scouting Museum, open year-round at Philmont, features more than 600,000 Scouting artifacts, telling the story of more than 110 years of Scouting in this country.

Families can also visit the ranch and enjoy hiking, rock climbing, fishing, crafts, horseback riding and much more through BSA Family Adventure Camp at Philmont.

About Michael Freeman 446 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.