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Local Scouts trek through New Mexico wilderness

Hiking through the New Mexico wilderness were Scouts from Troop 168, front from left, Jon Kreye, Konnor Merchak, Guide-Daniel, Tyler Werner and Nathan Gasmen; back, Alex McNamara, leaders Tim Werner, Jacquie Gasmen, Ken Merchak (Scoutmaster) and Dave Kreye. (Submitted photos to Hudson Star Observer)1 / 2
Led by Konnor Merchak, the Scouts take a quick break along one of the rock strewn paths cut into the side of the mountains. Tripping on rocks and roots was a common occurrence on the trails. Elevation changes could be as much as 2,000 feet a day. Submitted photo to Hudson Star Observer.2 / 2

A crew of Scouts and their leaders participated in a life changing summer trek through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico, late last summer. The group was part of Boy Scout Troop 168 sponsored by Hudson Rod and Gun Club.

The group hiked 50 miles over seven days. Philmont covers 214 square miles of vast wilderness with trails that climb from 6,500 feet to as high as 12,441 feet.

The group of Scouts and their leaders carried everything they needed for the week, including up to 55 pounds on their backs during during their trek. This included, tents, sleeping gear, food, cooking equipment, water and personal items. They participated in back country programs along the way including horseback riding, roping and rock climbing.

The Scouts visited rustic log hunting lodges, Mexican homesteads and also ate and walked in Kit Carson’s homestead and fort along the Sante Fe Trail. Along the trek Scouts endured tough challenges including backpacking in bear and mountain lion territory, steep climbs, sore feet and often inclement weather. They also enjoyed beautiful views from many mountain tops, watched lightning storms pass, spotted rainbows and camped along fast flowing rivers.

Philmont Scout Ranch is the Boy Scout of America’s premier high adventure camp and the largest youth camp in the world serving nearly one million participants since 1938. Almost all of the land had been donated by Waite Phillips, one of the original petroleum family members, who also donated over 50 percent of his income to Scouts and other organizations throughout his life.

See more photos in the March 13 print edition of the Hudson Star Observer.