|Philmont Scout Ranch|
Black Bull, symbol of Philmont
|Owner||Boy Scouts of America|
|Location||Cimarron, New Mexico|
|Attendance||35,054 campers (2013)|
Philmont Scout Ranch
Philmont Scout Ranch is a large, rugged, mountainous ranch located near the town of Cimarron, New Mexico, covering 140,177 acres (219 sq mi; 567 km²) of wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of the Rocky Mountains of northern New Mexico. The ranch, formerly the property of oil baron Waite Phillips and now that of the Boy Scouts of America, is a National High Adventure Base in which crews of Scouts and Venturers take part in backpacking expeditions and other outdoor activities. It is the one of the largest youth camps in the world in land area. Between June 8 and August 22 around 22,000 Scouts and adult leaders backpack across the Ranch's extensive backcountry while over 1,130 seasonal staff personnel maintain the Ranch's summer operations.
Philmont is also home to the Philmont Training Center and the Seton Museum. The Training Center is the primary location for BSA's national volunteer training programs. Philmont is also operated as a ranch, maintaining small herds of cattle, horses, burros and bison.
Philmont is located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico. The closest village is Cimarron, New Mexico. The address of the ranch is usually given as 17 Deer Run Rd., Cimarron, New Mexico, 87714. It is also about 20 miles (32 km) west-northwest of Springer, New Mexico, and 35 miles (56 km) southwest of Raton, New Mexico. Philmont is about 12 miles (19 km) across (east to west) at its widest point, and about 30 miles (48 km) long (north to south). There are no mountains to the south or east of Philmont. The interior of the ranch is mountainous but a small part of the eastern area is prairie.
Philmont's lowest point is the southeast corner at 6,500 feet (2,000 m) and the highest point is the peak of Baldy Mountain, located on the ranch's northwest boundary, at 12,441 feet (3,792 m). Aside from Baldy, the ranch contains a number of prominent peaks. The South Country is home to a series of six difficult peaks, namely Mount Phillips, Comanche Peak, Big Red, Bear Mountain, Black Mountain, and Schaefers Peak, as well as Trail Peak, which is popular for its nearness to Beaubien, and the wreckage of the crash of a B-24 bomber in 1942 near its summit. Of the ranch's various peaks with trail access, Black Mountain is widely considered the most difficult, followed closely by Baldy and Big Red.
The most recognizable landmark is the Tooth of Time at 9,003 feet (2,744 m), a granite monolith protruding 500 feet (150 m) vertically from an east-west ridge. Tooth of Time Ridge, and the latitude line on which it sits, marks the boundary between the central and southern sections of Philmont. The boundary between the central and northern sections is around U.S. Route 64, which runs just south of the narrowest part of the 'I'-shape, which is only a few miles across. Other prominent landmarks on the ranch include Grizzly Tooth, Window Rock, Deer Lake Mesa, Wilson's Mesa and Urraca Mesa.
Native Americans of the Jicarilla Apache tribe and Ute tribe once inhabited Philmont. A few Native American archaeological sites exist in the northern section nearby the 'Indian Writings' camp, and various camps seek to preserve Philmont's Native American heritage.
On April 22, 1942, a B-24 Liberator crashed into the side of Trail Peak. Waite Philips led a rescue crew up, but the seven men on board died on impact. Among the casualties was Eagle Scout Roland L. Jeffries and Star Scout Charles O. Reynard, Jr. Some of the wreckage still remains, including a wing and propeller, and because of its location, it is the world's most visited airplane crash site.
The Santa Fe Trail crossed the plains just southwest of Philmont in the mid-1800s. The Tooth of Time owes its name to this trail; travelers knew that once they passed it, they had only one week to go until they reached Santa Fe, New Mexico. Philmont's strategic location along the trail spurred some interest in it. In 1841, Carlos Beaubien and Guadalupe Miranda obtained a large land grant from the Mexican government, including the present ranch. Soon the grant fell into the hands of Beaubien's son-in-law Lucien Maxwell, who played an important role in developing and settling it. Maxwell sold the ranch to the Maxwell Land Grant and Railroad Company, which gave up and handed it on to a Dutch development company, which decided to parcel it out to ranchers.
One of the most prominent ranchers was Jesus Gil Abreu, who ran the Abreu Rayado Ranch from the 1870s to his death in 1901. Operating from the Rayado Settlement, he raised cattle, goats, and sheep and grew crops. The family owned this property until 1911, when they sold most of it off. One of the sons remained on the ranch near the site of Abreu, a present staffed camp, and his homestead was preserved for years. The building was made of adobe, was abandoned and eventually collapsed. The foundation of this building now serves as the foundation for the Abreu cantina. The house was reconstructed in 1998 about 100 feet (30 m) uphill.
The history of mining at Philmont dates back to the years immediately after the Civil War. U.S. soldiers were stationed in the West after the war, as the U.S. Army was driving out the American Indians. The story is that one of these soldiers befriended an Indian, who happened to give him a shiny rock. The shiny material in the rock was found to be copper. According to the story, the soldier and two of his friends went up to investigate, and found gold. They could not stay to mine the gold and the area was overrun by miners by the time they returned the next year. Scores of gold mines were excavated in Philmont, and operated into the early 20th century. A large vein of gold is said to lie under Mount Baldy to this day, but extracting it has not been feasible. It is a common joke at Philmont that some day the mines under Baldy will collapse and Phillips will be the highest mountain in Philmont. The Contention Mine, located at Cyphers Mine, and the Aztec Mine, located at French Henry, are open to guided tours.
Wealthy oil magnate and wilderness enthusiast Waite Phillips amassed a large part of the old land grant in the 1920s, totaling over 300,000 acres (1,200 km2). Phillips built a large residence in the lowlands of Philmont. He turned the ranch into a private game reserve for himself and friends, and built a number of hunting lodges and day-use camps. He chose not to provide electricity at the remote camps. A few of these original camps, including Fish Camp and the Hunting Lodge, have been preserved, complete with wood-burning stoves, oil lamps, and unique design features indicative of Phillips's often eccentric taste.
Phillips sometimes allowed others including a few Boy Scout troops to visit his ranch. He was so impressed with the Scouts that in 1938 he donated 35,857 acres (145.11 km2) of his land to the Boy Scouts of America. The only condition was that it be used "for the benefit of the members of the Boy Scout organization". He donated a second, larger section of land later on, requiring only that this section pay its fair share of taxes on any portion devoted to competitive commercial operations. In 1941, Phillips added more Philmont property, including the Villa Philmonte, bringing the total to 127,395 acres (515.55 km2). Contrary to popular belief, Phillips did not donate his entire ranch to the Boy Scouts, but only that portion of the property that provided the most recreational value. The total donation comprised about 40% of the ranch. To help fund maintenance of Philmont, he also donated the Philtower office building in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 1963, vice-president of the National Council Norton Clapp contributed funds to purchase another 10,098 acres (40.87 km2) of land within the Maxwell Land Grant, consisting of the Baldy Mountain mining area. In 2015, the Boy Scouts of America purchased 2,684 acres (10.86 km2) that was once operated as a camp called Cimarroncita Ranch.
In 1989, the Boy Scouts obtained a renewable special use permit to the Valle Vidal Unit of the Carson National Forest from the United States Forest Service, allowing Scouts to hike and camp in the area. Philmont operates three staffed camps—Whiteman Vega, Seally Canyon, and Ring Place—and two trail camps in that area. Those camps serve around 3,000 Scouts each summer. In return, each camper is asked to contribute three hours of conservation work in the Valle on projects approved by the Forest Service.
The camp was initially named the "Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp". The word 'Philturn' is derived from Waite Phillips' name, together with the "Good Turn" he did by donating the property. The ranch's name was then changed to the "Philmont Scout Ranch and Explorer Base".
In its early days, Philmont was run utilizing a half dozen "base camps" constructed at strategic locations. Visiting Scouts lived at one of these camps for a week and could take day hikes to surrounding locations. To visit a different area, the Scouts packed their gear onto burros and hiked to another base camp. Eventually, possibly due to the advent of modern lightweight metal-frame backpacks and other backpacking technology, the program was restructured to be backpacking-based.
The standard and most popular Philmont program is the backpacking trek. A typical Philmont trek lasts 12 days and covers anywhere from 56 miles (90 km) to 106 miles (171 km). In 2014 there are 35 different trek itineraries, ranging from challenging to strenuous. Each trek covers distinct regions, peaks, and camps. A group of Scouts on a trek is called a crew; most crews are assembled in their local council by troops, Venturing crews, or the council itself. A crew consists of eight to twelve Scouts, accompanied by two to four adult leaders. Some of the Scouts within the crew are designated as the chaplain's aide, Wilderness Pledge Guide, and the crew leader. A contingent consists of one or more crews from the same council (see Boy Scouts of America: Organization), traveling together. Sister crews are crews that follow different itineraries but are from the same troop or contingent. Around 360 participants arrive at base camp every day of the season.
The first crews depart with their guide, known as a Ranger, on June 8, and the last crews depart on August 14. During the last few weeks of the season crews may be placed on shortened itineraries, which run from 6 to 9 days in length (compared to the typical 12).
Crews travel to Philmont on their own via aircraft, chartered bus, or Amtrak, to the cities near Philmont. The Southwest Chief runs between Los Angeles Union Station and Chicago Union Station, and includes a station in Raton. Scouts can then take a shuttle from the Amtrak station to Philmont. There is private plane service at Raton Municipal Airport, but there are no commercial flights there. Nearby commercial airports are the Albuquerque International Sunport, Santa Fe Municipal Airport, Denver International Airport, Colorado Springs Airport, and Pueblo Memorial Airport with service to Denver. Commercial chartered buses are available to and from the airports and some cities.
A typical crew arrives in Base Camp, checks in at the Welcome Center, and meets its Ranger, a trained staff member from the Ranger Department. He or she assists them in the various Base Camp processing procedures, which consist of completing all paperwork at Registration, verifying their itinerary with Logistics, checking out gear at Outfitting Services (such as a dining fly, bear ropes, bear bags, and water purification tablets), and receiving health checks at the Health Lodge.
A crew also receives several days' worth of trail food, packaged in bags which feed two people each; the exact quantity depends on the crew's itinerary and the day on which it is scheduled to reach the next commissary (see below), but is usually three days worth of food. Philmont also provides optional cooking supplies.
The crew spends its first night in the trailbound side of Tent City, where the trekkers sleep in canvas tents. The next morning, they eat breakfast at the dining hall, have their crew photo taken, and board a bus to one of the ranch's several trailheads (called "turnarounds" because they consist of a loop in the road for the bus to turn around).
The Ranger verifies the trekkers' general backpacking knowledge and teaches them specific Philmont procedures, such as bear bags and latrine usage. Rangers stay with their crews on the trail for two days and depart on the morning of the third day. In the next eight days the crew will hike through the Philmont wilderness, staying at various staffed camps and unstaffed "trail camps" scattered about the Ranch. On the final day, the crew returns to Base Camp, sometimes by bus from a turnaround or by climbing over the Tooth of Time and hiking directly into Base Camp. During the final day at Base Camp, the crew cleans up, returns any Philmont-issued supplies, and attends the closing campfire.
There are five divisions of the Conservation Department, each led by an Associate Director of Conservation - Work Crew, Conservationists, GIS, Environmental Education (ROCS, Trail Crew Trek), and Order of the Arrow Trail Crew. Work Crews are staff groups who are responsible for maintaining and sometimes creating campsites and trails. Trail Crews known as Advanced Teams are the first Conservation staffers to begin hiking and clearing the trails, one month prior to the first participants' arrival. Conservationists live in staff camps and lead conservation projects for treks passing through their camp. The GIS staff map trails, campsites, and other features of the Philmont Backcountry. In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the BSA, Northrop Grumman donated high-resolution geospatial data of the ranch to Philmont. GIS and the Conservation Department will use the data to create enhanced maps and improve conservation efforts throughout the ranch.
The Roving Outdoor Conservation School (ROCS), started in 2000, is a twenty-one day trek program that is open to males and females between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one. ROCS is an educational backpacking experience rooted in conservation and environmental science education. Throughout the trek participants have lessons rooted in environmental science, visits from guest speakers, and the opportunity to work on conservation projects with the Philmont Conservation Department and the U.S. Forest Service in the Valle Vidal Unit of the Carson National Forest. While on the trail participants learn about ecology, botany, dendrology, geology, hydrology, forestry, soil science, fire ecology, environmental policy, leave no trace principles, environmental ethics, conservation techniques, and wildlife, range, and land management practices. Participants tackle conservation projects ranging from trailbuilding to meadow encroachment to timber stand improvement to erosion control to streambed restoration. Participants are exposed to the land management challenges facing the West, as well as the rest of America. The program focuses on empowering participants so that they may transfer what they learn on the trail to their lives back home.
Trail Crew Trek is a fourteen-day education experience rooted in service through conservation. Participants build trail for seven days and then go on a seven-day educational trek throughout Philmont, involving hands-on experience with a variety of conservation projects on the ranch and visits from guest speakers involved in conservation and resource management.
Order of the Arrow Trail Crew is a fourteen-day program for Order of the Arrow members aged 16 to 21 that gives participants an opportunity to work on various conservation projects around the ranch. Order of the Arrow Trail Crews follow the same format as Trail Crew Treks - one week building trail and then a self-planned, week-long trek. Many Order of the Arrow lodges and sections offer scholarships to Order of the Arrow members.
The Ranger Department was founded in 1957 by Clarence E. Dunn, Jack Rhea and Dr. Ray Loomis, the former of which served as chief ranger for 14 years. Rangers are responsible for ensuring that all participants know all required skills and procedures needed for backcountry treks, and for coaching the youth leadership to help them develop their skills and confidence and have a successful trek. They hike along with crews on the 12-day treks for the first two days on the trail, during which time they teach and observe the crew. They are also responsible for Search and rescue on Philmont property and in surrounding areas. The Ranger Department also includes Mountain Trek Rangers who lead the week-long Mountain Treks that originate in the Philmont Training Center.
Ranger Trainers, experienced staff who have finished one or more seasons as a Ranger, train and supervise Rangers. Each trainer oversees from 8-10 Rangers in a Ranger Training Crew and are expected to lead two backpacking crews per summer. In the summer of 2013 there were roughly 240 people in the ranger department, organized into 25 training crews. Upper ranger leadership consists of coordinators for the Rayado, Mountain Trek, Service Academy, and scheduling programs, four Associate Chief Rangers, and the Chief Ranger. During the summer of 2007, the Philmont Staff Association coordinated a 50th Anniversary Ranger Reunion at the ranch. Over 300 former Rangers attended this event.
The Rayado program is a select, strenuous twenty-one day backpacking program designed for experienced Scouts. Rayado crews are accompanied by two rangers and experience a number of challenges geared toward developing personal growth, a sense of stewardship for the environment, and leadership skills. Rayado participants are challenged physically, mentally, and spiritually as they hike Philmont's most challenging trails, visit parts of the backcountry that are never seen by regular trek participants, and take part in activities that are not available to other Scouts. This includes difficult rock climbing and instruction in outdoor leadership, wilderness problem-solving, and advanced outdoor skills which include wilderness backpacking, navigation and travel, expedition behavior and group dynamics, advanced cooking, wilderness stewardship, and wilderness first aid and backcountry emergency procedures. A Rayado Trek encourages personal growth, teamwork, and leadership ability.
Participants must be at least 15 and less than 21 years old, be in excellent physical condition, and skilled in Leave No Trace camping. Applicants must submit a letter of recommendation from an adult Scouter detailing their character and back country experience. Applications must be approved by a parent or guardian, a unit leader, and the local council executive. During 2012, two Rayado programs are scheduled. The cost is $690 per person. Rayado scholarships, presented by the Philmont Staff Association, are annually awarded to deserving campers who wish to take part in the Rayado program. Scholarships generally cover the full cost of the Rayado Program, but a number of smaller partial scholarships are also available and all Rayado participants are encouraged to apply. Transportation to and from Philmont is the responsibility of the camper and is not covered in the scholarships.
Rayado crews are put together by Philmont staff and consist of people from different parts of the country. A person may only be a Rayado participant once; a ranger may only be assigned to a Rayado crew once; and staff members are disqualified from participation in Rayado treks except as rangers.
The Rayado Program was once known as the Kit Carson Program.
A program in which young men and women can earn a discounted eight-day Cavalcade trek at Philmont by participating in an eight-day work session. Participants work with the Horse Department staff taking care of Philmont's 250 head of horses and 80 head of burros. Participants help by hauling hay and feed, saddling horses, helping keep the horses shod, and assisting on Philmont trail rides. The work can be strenuous and requires top physical and mental conditioning. After the eight-day work session, the Ranch Hands crew gathers together and embarks on an eight-day Cavalcade under the leadership of a Horseman and Wrangler.
National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE) is a high-intensity Boy Scout leadership course taught at Philmont Scout Ranch. It is based on backcountry high adventure skills and began in the summer of 2006 replacing the previous National Junior Leader Instructor Course. The course is available to Boy Scouts and Venturers aged 14 through 20 who have completed their local council National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) course and is held during six one-week sessions. Based at Philmont's Rayado Ridge Leadership Camp and taught at various locations across Philmont Scout Ranch, the program hones youth leadership skills through ethical decision making and participation in Philmont Ranger backcountry training.
Kanik (Inuit qanik for "snowflake") is the winter camping program of Philmont Scout Ranch, one of the three National High Adventure Bases operated by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. This cold weather camping program is based on a similar program called Okpik at Charles L. Sommers in Ely, Minnesota, part of the BSA's Northern Tier National High Adventure Bases. The main goal of the program is to teach participating crews how to camp comfortably in the cold winter months. Philmont has had a winter camping program since 1982, but it wasn't until 1990 that the more expanded Kanik program began. Kanik is considered as one of Philmont's two second season programs; the other being Autumn Adventure.
Sessions for the Kanik program are available from December 28 to March 31. Between Christmas and New Years Day a special discounted holiday trek is offered. Weather conditions vary; if there is adequate snow for cross-country skiing, then crews are given the opportunity to hike in the Philmont backcountry. The program allows for weekend treks, however, Philmont recommends that crews plan to attend for 3 to 4 days to become fully trained and fully participate in winter activities. Crew sizes usually range from 6-10 with 2 adult advisors required to participate. Generally, the maximum number of total participants for each session is limited to 40 participants or 4 crews; unlike the several thousand participants during Philmont's summer season. This is done in part to insure safe evacuation out of the backcountry in the event of a blizzard.
On the first night crews arrive, they are housed indoors in heated dorm rooms at Philmont's Base Camp. Subsequent nights are spent in the Philmont backcountry in tents (or in snow shelters if conditions permit) often at Miranda or sometimes the Hunting Lodge. After an initial period of training led by trained Kanik guides, several program options are available to each crew depending upon its interest and the weather and snow conditions. Some program options include: cross-country skiing, snow camping, winter ecology, hiking, and the use of winter tools and equipment. In 2004, a down hill ski package was added to the program options. For an extra fee crews can add a day of down hill skiing/snowboarding to their trek at Angel Fire Ski Resort that includes all meals, housing, a 2-hour ski lesson, lift ticket, and ski equipment rental. This added ski package is not available to crews on the holiday trek.
Each participant who completes training is awarded a distinctive patch as a remembrance of Philmont Kanik. Much like the Philmont arrowhead patch awarded after the completion of a Philmont summer trek and service project, the Kanik patch can only be earned.
The Philbreak program ran from 2003 to 2009. It was an 'alternative spring break' program started in 2003 to help restore Philmont Scout Ranch after devastating forest fires. From 2004 to 2007, the participants worked on the Urraca Trail, which is intended as a day hike for those attending the Philmont Training Center. Participants in the seven-day program were expected to work eight- or nine-hour days in all types of conditions. The program took place during three separate weeks during March. Participants also had an opportunity to take a ski break at Angel Fire. In 2008, the design of the program switched to mirror that of Philmont's Kanik. Participants spent three days and two nights in Philmont's backcountry as well as provided service on the final day. The program ended in 2010.
Philmont operates from one large base camp, including Camping Headquarters, the Seton Museum, the Philmont Training Center and Villa Philmonte, fire response facilities, cattle headquarters, and an administration area. During the 2012 season there were 34 staffed camps and 77 unstaffed or "trail camps". Only some trail camps have a potable water source. Camps without water are referred to as "dry camps". Most of Philmont's camps are about 2 miles (3.2 km) apart. Old camps are closed or relocated and new camps are opened every few years. Some camp sites are closed due to changing safety protocols. For example, camps were once located on top of Urraca Mesa and in the Baldy Saddle but these are unlikely to reopen because the locations are at risk for lightning strikes.
Campers and hikers initially obtain camping food from the services building at Base Camp. Commissaries at Philmont are usually a small warehouse that is stocked weekly with trail food for campers, groceries for backcountry staff, and various other supplies. Some commissaries include a trading post that sells a small variety of odds and ends, including postcards, postage, and games, along with repair kits, white gas for crews' stoves, and other backpacking necessities. To limit the quantity and weight of consumables carried by a crew, most crews stop at a commissary every 3–4 days to replenish their food supplies. Commissaries are located at Baldy Town, Phillips Junction, Ute Gulch, Ponil, Apache Springs, Rich Cabins, Ring Place, and Miners Park.
The Philmont Museum and Seton Memorial Library at Philmont features exhibits about the ranch's history and the history, art, and natural history of the area. The Ernest Thompson Seton Memorial Library is a research library containing Seton's personal collection and an extensive collection of volumes pertaining to western lore and the history of the area. Scouts can sign up at the library for a tour of Villa Philmonte.
The Kit Carson Museum is a living museum that operates in the summer in Rayado, located 7 miles (11 km) south of Philmont's headquarters. Interpreters demonstrate 1850s period frontier skills and crafts including blacksmithing, cooking, shooting and farming. The museum also features exhibits about frontiersmen Kit Carson and Lucien Maxwell who founded a colony at Rayado.
Starting Nov. 1, 2013 Philmont Scout Ranch will start running the Chase Ranch. Chase Ranch is adjacent to Philmont Scout Ranch. The ranch is near the Ponil Creek, a mile north of the Cimarron River. Chase Ranch, like Philmont is a work cattle ranch with Herefords, that were introduced on to the ranch in 1883. Gretchen Sammis Chase started Chase Ranch Foundation with the goal of educating young people in the ranching experience.
By meeting the challenge of Philmont, participants are considered to be worthy of awards. The awards represent the Philmont experience that can never be sold or traded; only earned.(all awards are outlined in the Philmont Guidebook To Adventure)
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Philmont has asked each participant to sign the Philmont Wilderness Pledge which declares that he or she will do everything possible to preserve the beauty and wonder of the Philmont Wilderness and our neighbor's properties through good Scout Camping. Youth Crew members and adults are eligible to participate in the program.
The Wilderness Pledge includes Ranger-led training in all Philmont camping practices, include Leave No Trace, information on Philmont bear and wildlife procedures, daily discussions on the trail that focus on each of the seven principles of Leave No Trace, and to give three hours of conservation work under the direction of a member of the Philmont Staff. (This requirement is also one of the requirements to earn the Philmont Arrowhead Patch. These hours count for both awards.)
Under the guidance of a crew chaplain's aide, each participant in a trek may work to fulfill the requirements of the Duty to God Award. Requirements include attendance at a religious service, participation in at least three daily devotionals and leading Grace before a meal.
The "P", "Dollar", or "Silver Dollar" patch set was available from 1942 through 1956. The full set consisted of the base round "P" Philmont patch ringed by six specialty segment awards, plus additional staff and "Mountainman" segments below the ring of segments. The ring segments included a Sportsman segment for shooting field sports, a Camper (black pot) segment for woods housekeeping (precursor to Leave No Trace), a Horseman yellow spur segment, a beaver lodge Conservation segment, and Woodsman and Naturalist segments. Below that ring was the coveted Mountainman award for those who completed multiple requirements while attending for three years, and who "have proven themselves to be in love with the out-of-doors".
The "Philmont Hymn" is the ranch's official song and was written by John Benton Westfall (1928-May 9, 2009) in 1947 when he was 19. Westfall was the lone staffer at Visto Grande (then called Cimarron Bench Camp) at the time. Westfall, who at the time was a student at Pittsburg State University wrote the song on a trip home to Kansas on a train from Philmont influenced by the "click-click, click-click" of the tracks. He later became a professional Scouter in Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma and worked as a salesman for Phillips Petroleum.
Silver on the sage,
Starlit skys above,
Country that I love.
Philmont, here's to thee,
Out in God's country,
Wind in whispering pines,
Eagle soaring high,
Purple mountains rise,
Against an azure sky.
Philmont, here's to thee,
Out in God's country,
The "Philmont Grace" (also known as the Worth Ranch Grace or simply the Wilderness Grace) is a prayer recited before meals at many Boy Scout camps and events around the U.S. It was originally written in 1929 by A. J. Fulkerson, Camp Director at Worth Ranch Scout Camp in Palo Pinto County, Texas.
The version of the grace, as it is used at Philmont, is:
For food, for raiment,
For life, for opportunity,
For friendship and fellowship,
We thank Thee, O Lord. Amen.
The bell located in front of the camper dining hall is used by the Rangers before lunch and dinner. Four Rangers climb on the bell where one of them tells a story that ends with "and all I could think about was..." At this point, all the Rangers present break out in the Ranger Song. During the song, the four Rangers conduct a trust fall. The teller of the story ends by ringing the bell.
I want to go back to Philmont,
I want to go back to Philmont
Where the old Rayado flows,
Where the rain come a seepin'
In the tent where you're a sleepin'
And the waters say hello
I want to wake up in the morning
With my socks all wringing wet,
For it brings back fondest memories,
That a Ranger can't forget.
I want to hike once more the canyon floor
From Scribblins to Old Camp,
With my pack sack a-creakin',
And my back with sweat a-reekin',
And my legs begin to cramp.
I want to hike again with such great men
As made those famous treks,
From Beaubien to Porky
And from Cito to Car-Max
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