By Joe Baxter
Would you ever think about packing up and heading to New Mexico for a two week trip, backpacking in the backcountry of New Mexico?
Many people would say no way to this intimidating wilderness experience, but every three years a group of boys from Boy Scout Troop 1 Greenville say yes. I said yes to this once in a lifetime adventure three years ago, and it was one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made. So what exactly happens on this trip?
A group of boys and adults fly out to New Mexico and make their way to Philmont Scout Ranch, which is an enormous backcountry ranch located in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. The group spends 10 days on the trail hiking anywhere from 5 to 20 miles a day. Along the way groups stop at camps, most of which have exciting activities: rock climbing, shooting, horseback riding, mountain biking and so much more. This trip, above all else, provides scouts and adults an opportunity to unplug and enjoy nature with some friends in a truly beautiful place.
This experience does not come without challenges, though. To prepare for the physically rigorous trek, scouts train throughout the summer before they leave by completing many practice and conditioning hikes. Scouts must also prepare mentally, because the trip can be draining and mentally taxing. Scouts also practice packing their packs, which will weigh about 50 pounds on the trail.
As I mentioned before, this trip was life changing and it gave me some of the best memories that I have. It is the best opportunity to enjoy nature, spend time with friends, and push you to new limits.
Of course, this trip does cost quite a bit of money. The troop pays for traveling expenses, but scouts are fundraising for the rest. So far scouts have assisted with parking at a Sentinel Striders event, and they have received a generous donation from the Thomas Gerlach Fund. To further their fundraising, the scouts will be holding a car wash at Fast Freddies, 471 Putnam Pike, Greenville, on May 7; any support you could give them would be greatly appreciated.
Also, the troop tries to take every opportunity it can to give back to the community, so if anyone needs a service project or would like to reach out to the troop feel free to do so via our website: troop1greenville.com. If you, your son, or someone you know is interested in scouts and is at least in the fifth grade, stop by a troop meeting, which is held every Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Greenville Baptist Church, 582 Putnam Pike.