Nine boys from Fairfield Boy Scouts Troop 482, ranging in age from 14 to 17, recently completed a hike of 71 miles over 12 days at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.
The boys who participated are Matthew Patchen, crew lead, Eagle Scout; Travis Wills Pendley, wilderness guide, Life Scout; Joseph Patchen, chaplain’s aide, Life Scout; Matthew Green, Eagle Scout; Ben Gribi, Life Scout; Gunner Lissick, Life Scout; Andrew Mayben, Life Scout; Alex Mayben, Life Scout; and Leon Lorenzo, Life Scout.
“It was a tough hike,” said Jim Patchen, Scoutmaster for Troop 482. “We hiked an elevation of 9,000 to 11,000 feet.”
The trek was through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The Scouts carry everything they need to survive during the hike, according to a Philmont Scout Ranch press release.
According to the same release, the hike Troop 482 completed is the most challenging offered at the ranch.
“We were rained on, hailed on and had to deal with an 11-hour storm, which soaked all our sleeping bags and gear,” Patchen said with a slight laugh. “Wet gear is three times as heavy.”
Assisting the boys during their sojourn were Patchen and Assistant Scoutmasters Jim Gribi and Bill Mayben.
The hikers consumed dehydrated food, which had to replenished every three days, Patchen said.
“On Day 4, we got a can of ham and it tasted like prime rib,” Patchen said, with another laugh.
Besides hiking, Scouts can also participate in other activities such as rock climbing and rappelling, handling .58-caliber black powder rifles, mining and blacksmithing and horse rides. Lightning kept Troop 482 from participating in the horse rides, Patchen said.
“Philmont Scout Ranch is the Boy Scouts of America’s largest national High Adventure Base,” according to the Philmont Scout Ranch website. “Its 34 staffed camps and 55 trail camps provide an unforgettable adventure in the high country along hundreds of miles of rugged, rocky trails.”
“I’m very proud of the boys,” Patchen said. “The kids became men after this trip.”
Reach John Glidden at 427-6981 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter/glid24.