Chuck Doswell's

Philmont Treks

(Philmont Scout Ranch, near Cimmaron, New Mexico)

NOTICE ... I think everything is working now. If there are problems, let me know by e-mail. Last update: 19 August 2003 .. updated the 1997 trek with Brian's last name.


1. 1992

My first trek. I wasn't very sure what I was letting myself in for, but we had heard that this was pretty terrific high adventure experience. I was privileged to have my son along with the crew, and he was chosen to share the crew leader duties.


Young men:


We were crew 614-C1, part of the 614-C contingent. We did itinerary #27. I am ashamed to say that I have forgotten our ranger's name ... we gave him the nickname of "Radar" and must admit that is the name I have remembered. He was a fine young man and was a huge help to us. Here he is making up a peach cobbler in a dutch oven on our last night with him. Note added (19 May 1999): His name is Todd Soul. Thanks to Mr. David Lambert for providing this information.

Day Campsite Type of Highlights Lowlights Trek of camp Mileage Trek
1 Base Camp -- Our Ranger, Todd Soul -- 2 Rayado River trail - - 3 Toothache trail Great campsite Floaters in the water - Springs 4 Miner's Park staff Helping each other make Losing the trail, the - it on the trail long hot hike on the 4wd road 5 Lower Bonita trail Great views cows and cowpies - 6 Apache Springs staff Great sunset after a The long, challenging - rainy day, wild iris in hike. camp 7 Apache Springs staff - - - 8 Crooked Creek staff - Not a great campsite - 9 Clear Creek staff Candle-making, neat camp - - 10 Cypher's Mine staff Meeting the rest of the Adirondacks, taking the - Norman contingent at the wrong trail, a end of the hike difficult, long hike, including one up 1100 vertical feet with extra water (unneeded!) 11 Shaefer's Pass trail - 12 Base Camp -- Tooth of Time, real food Hot, dry hike down Tooth - Ridge, our last day in Philmont :-(

Our "sister crew" had some good kids in it, but the adults were really a pain. Really gripy and sarcastic. We had a good time blowing them away on the trail.

What a joy it was to experience this! My biggest fear was survival, and that turned out to not be a problem, as you know. I was not prepared to see the growth in the boys. Once the boys made the right decision at the Burro Pens on our second day out, their confidence grew by leaps and bounds. I learned to keep my mouth shut and learned a great deal from the ranger and about how important it is to let the boys make their own mistakes. The "coming together" of the crew was a deeply emotional experience for many of us, and I was so very proud of all of us. I enjoyed the company of Mike and Gary tremendously. Having Matt Rhinehart with us was a good deal ... at 18, he could be both an adult and a boy ... and he was both. We have maintained our friendship with Matt.

Some images from the trek:

This was a year when I hiked entirely with people I really didn't know. Only one young man was from our troop (Casey Malone) and I didn't know him very well .. that was about to change, of course. It was a minimal crew, with 3 adults and 4 boys; we had gotten 2 crew slots, but we hadn't been able to fill out the second crew. Dr. Belknap heard from these folks in the Washington, D.C. area and they jumped at the chance to help us fill out the second crew. I certainly had my concerns going in since I had no clue about what sort of folks these might be or what their capabilities were, but (a) Philmont brings out the best in folks, and (b) I was in the best shape of my life.


Young men:

We were crew 627-Q1, part of the 627-Q contingent. We did itinerary #11. I have forgotten our ranger's last name, but John was the head ranger that year and he was a very knowledgeable and pleasant young man, who taught us a lot. He came back and visited with us at the closing campfire

Day Campsite Type of Highlights Lowlights Trek of camp Mileage Trek
1 Base Camp -- Our Ranger, John __ -- 2 New Abreu trail Root beer in the cantina - 3 Urraca staff Challenge course, Rock - Climbing, "rescuing" our sister crew 4 Miner's Park staff - Me being sick - 5 Black Mountain staff Black powder shooting Mosquitos! - 6 Comanche Camp trail - - 7 Comanche Peak trail Mount Phillips Grey getting sick at Mt. - Phillips 8 Sawmill staff Deer Lake Mesa, keeping - - "ranger time" 9 Harlan staff Grey's return, shotgun - - shooting, burro races 10 Clarks Fork staff A successful ascent to - at Shaefer's Pass, and meeting a neat ranger there 11 Tooth Ridge trail Tooth of time - - 12 Base Camp -- An early hike into base Our last day in Philmont - camp, Kit Carson, the St :-( James Hotel  

Our "sister crew" once again had good kids and one particularly obnoxious adult leader, who insisted on overriding his youth crew leader and thereby screwing up everything they did. He also was a dedicated "patch trader" and bored us all to death with his endless prattle about patch-trading. We truly enjoyed blowing them away on the trail.

This was a great year for me, personally, and for our crew. We overcame some real challenges and came together as a crew when we needed to (as when Grey got sick). Grey and I become friends very quickly and gave one another grief the whole trek, a characteristic I always share with my best of friends. We still maintain some contact, even.

Here is a selection of images ... about half of them have been provided courtesy of Grey Emmons/Grey, Jr. (indicated with an asterisk "*":

This year was yet another great trek. I was privileged to have my daughter along ... we went as an Explorer post so our crew could include young ladies. We had a great crew consisting of:


Young men:

Young ladies:

Our young men were as good as they get, and our young ladies certainly added something special! We were crew 621-A1 ... part of the contingent 621-A. We did itinerary #13, with a small modification (from Upper Clark's Fork to Shaefer's Pass on day 11). Our ranger, Brian Sandberg was 6 feet, 6 inches and a member of the crew team (rowing) at the Naval Academy. A great guy and very helpful, as all rangers have been for the crews I have been on at Philmont - he's now a Navy pilot and still a class act! I'm glad to hear from you, Brian!!

Day Campsite Type of Highlights Lowlights Trek of camp Mileage Trek
1 Base Camp -- Our Ranger, Brian -- Sandberg 2 Sioux trail Easy hike 2.2 3 Pueblano Ruins trail View on Wilson Mesa, Climb up Wilson Mesa 15.5 fly-killing with bandanas 4 Copper Park trail Nice meadow, a campfire The "Wall" 19.0 on a cool night 5 Copper Park trail View on top of Baldy, Climb up Baldy 23.3 the Baldy chant, a tundra garden, playing in the snow 6 Black Horse trail Dr. B's bear chant Crummy campsite, cold 25.1 rain 7 Head of Dean staff Cutting trees, the Climb up the road from 32.3 challenge course Miranda, stupid porch talk 8 Dean Cow staff Showers, CD David Cole Long hike on 4WD road 41.0 9 Harlan staff Burrow racing, shotgun Tough hike up in the heat 48.6 shooting 10 Aspen Springs trail Window Rock, Hidden 56.0 Valley, great campsite 11 Shaefer's trail Clark's Fork program Crowded campsite, poor 61.5 Pass* latrines 12 Base Camp -- Tooth of Time, real food Hot, dry hike down Tooth 70.5 Ridge, our last day in Philmont :-(

Unlike my past treks, our "sister crew" from Houston had some very personable adult advisors as well as terrific boys. We enjoyed our frequent interactions with them! As usual, on a trek like this, we suffered some from the altitude and the exertion, overcame a number of challenges, saw some beautiful scenery, learned a great deal of things to remember for next time, hated trail food, and generally had a blast. This year, I took no photographs .. all images are attributable to someone else. Instead, I've written a sort of poem.

As a Troop 777 - Eagle Patrol Dad, Matt and Beau did the Eagles proud ... and I'd be happy to have Brock and Jacob with me at any time. Naturally, I'm enormously proud of my daughter! She was a superstar, in my eyes. I am proud to be her father.

Images ... most were taken by Heather, except where we asked someone to take them for us:


4. A fourth trek?

When will I return? ... Our crews for 1999 were all full and I'm uncertain about when I ever will return to Philmont. Hope springs eternal, though. As of the summer of 2003, I'm still fat and outta shape but I haven't lost hope of yet another Philmont trek!


5. Kanik 2001

See here for my page about our Kanik adventure.

Anyone wishing to comment or offer information about things I've forgotten or goofed up in some way .. contact me!

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