Boy Scout Troop 68's
1992 Philmont Journal
A tale of a crew who mastered the Philmont wilderness... almost.
The following is a journal of a trek completed by ten
and two adult leaders of Melrose Troop 68. The trek took place at
Scout Ranch in New Mexico. The journal begins over a year before
the trip actually takes place because I wanted to let those who read
know what is involved in planning a trip like this.
Why should I keep a journal in the first place? There are a few
reasons for this. One, it provides an account of an adventure that for
many boys happens only once in a lifetime. It will be fun to look back
on this and remember the mistakes made and the great times that we
It will act as a historic record. I, and any leaders that follow
me, may read this journal years from now and perhaps learn a few things
from it. What do we want to do again? What do we wish to avoid?
Another reason for going through all this work is because I have
a dream. I have now been a leader of Troop 68 for over 12 years. That
a lot of fun, excitement, and a few disappointments. Some day I would
to write a book about my scouting adventures. This journal could become
a part of that book. I even have a title for it:
THE MASTER THINKS
(and unfortunately wrote it down.)
I think it is a neat title. A bit corny perhaps but to
I hope you enjoy reading the following pages but beware. It
my thoughts as well as an account of the day to day activities. Some of
it certain people may not find to flattering. Too bad. You can write
own journal if you do not like mine.
You have been warned.......
Part 1: A Trip Is Planned
February 24, 1991
Today is the day we begin the planning for the next High
trip. The scouts are having a meeting during which they will plan
where they would like to go for their big trip. Possibilities
Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, Florida Sea Bases, canoeing in
or Maine, white water rafting in Colorado, or whatever else they decide
There are fifteen Scouts that could possibly show interest
in this trip by coming to this meeting. Of these, only Matt Mohs,
Tim Dingmann, Ross Frericks, Tony Beard, and Josh Spoden show up.
The other boys I was hoping would attend were Nathan Blommel, Scott
Jason Kraemer, John Massmann, Greg Monroe, Tim Nathe, Peter Orth, Pete
Spychalla, Jason Prodinsky, and Jason Terwey. Of course, a few I
really did not expect to come. A couple of them did have other
I was hoping that a few more would have shown their faces.
There was only one real reason for holding this meeting and that
was to choose where we would be going. I was expecting a big
like the last time we went. The Scouts argued about were we
go and nobody agreed with anyone. I was surprised, and pleased,
with-in only fifteen minutes, they had decided on a destination.
Philmont Scout Ranch would be that place once again.
I called Philmont to find out what days were still open for an
date. They have been taking reservations for two months already
I am starting to get a little nervous whether we will be able to get a
decent date yet. Philmont fills up very fast. There are
a number of spots left toward the end of July and first part of August.
Tuesday, July 28, 1992 looks pretty good but I had better talk to the
first and find out how they feel about it.
The troop committee and the scouts both agree that this would
be a good date so I call to Philmont to make a tentative
Unfortunately, this date has been filled up. The next day still
a few spots though, so I sign up for Wednesday, July 29. I have them
me a letter stating what is still open in case the troop does not like
this date. Luckily they do, so I leave our reservation as it is.
The committee and I have been discussing what requirements the
boys will have to meet. Philmont requires that all boys who
must be First Class Rank and thirteen years old by January 1 of the
the treks will be taken. If we stay with these guidelines we will
have quite a few scouts who will be eligible to attend.
boys will meet the age requirement. Sixteen boys are First Class
and the other eight could be by the end of the year.
The problem is that a crew is allowed only twelve members, two
of which must be adults (18 years or older). If we go with one
we have to limit ourselves to ten scouts. If we go with two crews
we will need four leaders. Both crews may not be on the same trek.
I would like to see the troop set higher requirements for the
scouts to reach if they really want to go. I suggest to the
that we set the standards at Star Rank as a minimum and possibly raise
the age to fourteen. If we go with the Star rank then eight are
eligible with a possible fourteen more by the end of the year. By
raising the age to fourteen we would bring the number down to less then
The committee is not sure what to do, if anything. They
do not commit to anything and table it for a later meeting.
I guess I may have overstepped my authority at the Court of Honor
that we held on Memorial Day. At the end of the meeting, I stated that
any scout who wished to go to Philmont must be Star Rank and fourteen
old by the end of the year. We will take the scouts on a first come,
serve basis. They must pay $50.00 when they register to hold their
Scouts may begin registering after the meeting. I should have
the trouble these requirements would cause when there was a younger
or two that were hoping to go. But I did not, and made the rules
with-out the committee's approval.
Boy, was I sorry I did that.
Four scouts did pay the $50.00 that night. Matt Mohs, Ross
Frericks, Jason Kraemer, and Tony Beard did not waste any time.
have been waiting for me to give the word.
A parent, who also happens to be a committee member, is a bit
that I set the requirements of the trip at what I did. Her son
hoping to go. It also seems that I never told the committee what
the Philmont age and rank requirements are. Some of them had the
understanding that 14 and Star were the standards set by the camp, not
the ones I wanted. I felt ever more guilty when she said that she
had called the scout service center and found out what the actual
Another point she brought up was if we were going to have a
with too many scouts wanting to go then maybe we should not let the
who had already been to Philmont go on this trip. Then the younger
could have the opportunity. I argued against this idea because
of the older scouts had been looking forward to going to Philmont
It was one of the reasons that they had stayed with the troop for as
as they have.
The committee discussed everything and decided to leave the
for this trip at 14 and Star. They would probably change the
for the next trip. Someone mentioned that maybe we should look at
having a high adventure trip every two years instead of three.
Nine boys have signed up but two of them may decide to drop
Tim Dingmann and Scott Hollermann spent four weeks at summer camp as a
counselor in training. It looks as if they have a good chance of being
offered positions as staff members next year. If that happens
will not be able to go to Philmont. They should know by the end
Mary Hanson, our new committee chairperson, still does not agree
with the '14 and Star' requirements. She would like to see the
dropped to 13. She would also like to see the troop set a
schedule for future trips. Vern Hollermann suggested that we look
at planning for the next trip in January 1993, after this trip was
The committee agreed.
Betty Spoden made a motion that we drop the age requirement from
fourteen to thirteen since we still have a spot, and possible three
still open. It passed unanimously. The next newsletter stated
Mary Hanson suggested that there should not be any refunds if
a boy signs up and then decides that he no longer wishes to go.
committee agreed to this and decided that if a scout does drop out he
'sell' his spot to another scout and thus get his $50.00 back.
committee agreed to this to keep from getting stuck with paying for a
registration fee which happens to be $250.00. This was also
in the next newsletter.
The committee unanimously decided to pay the scoutmaster's
and transportation costs for the trip. They felt that he deserves
this for all the time he has put into scouting and for the time he will
be taking off work to take the boys on this adventure. The troop
will also pay a minimum of $250.00 for the second adult advisor,
that may be. At this time we do not have a second adult
but we do have a couple of people who have expressed an interest.
Transportation was a major concern. Hanson called the
Minnesota Council scout office. She found out that if we drive a
we could only spend eight hours on the road driving if there would only
be one driver per vehicle. A vehicle with two drivers could spend
twelve hours on the road. We also talked about taking a plane or
train. They finally agreed that more information will be needed to make
A decision on whether to allow scouts to go to Philmont a second
time was tabled and will be discussed at a future meeting.
The big topic at the committee meeting again was the means of
Betty Spoden checked into the costs of the various ways to go.
is going to be too expensive. Train rates are reasonable but we
need to stay a night in Chicago on the trip back or have someone come
pick us up. Driving down is beginning to look like more of a
then it would be worth. They decided that a parent's meeting,
the scouts who would be going, should be held to get their input into
way should be chosen. The meeting is planned for Monday, October
18, and will begin at 8:00 at St. Mary's School gym.
We received a letter from Philmont confirming our arrival date
and stating that we needed to get $20.00 per person sent in to hold
date. This fee will be subtracted from the $250.00 registration.
The parent's meeting was held as scheduled. Every
scout was represented by a parent. Mary Hanson and I conducted
meeting. Betty Spoden reported on the costs and the problems of
different methods of transportation. It looks as if the total
per scout (transportation and registration) will come to about $460 if
we take the train. We also discussed what the scouts would need
The scouts overwhelmingly wanted to travel by train. The
parents agreed that this was the best way but did not decide on what to
do about the layover in Chicago.
The excitement is starting to build. I could tell by the
way the scouts are acting.
When the committee met this month we still had a couple of spots
that needed filling. Matt Mohs has decided that he will not be
on this trip. Tim Dingmann is fairly sure that he will be
his summer months at summer camp. Scott Hollermann has not made
decision yet. Tom Hanson and Corey Spoden are now on the
Al Hanson has agreed to be the second adult leader. (Al and Tom
a package deal.) We want to have a full crew of ten scouts.
The committee agreed to drop the eligibility requirements to 13 years
and First Class Rank by the end of the year.
(A few of the scouts have mentioned to me that they do not like
the idea of Al Hanson going along. They are afraid that he will
let them have any fun during the trip because he is fairly strict in
I kind of like the idea of him going along for that very reason.
He will offer a balance to the way I usually handle things, but I still
feel a bit of apprehension about Al. He needs to loosen up a bit
more and not be so serious all the time.)
The list of scouts now going is; Tony Beard, Nathan Blommel,
Ross Frericks, Jason Kraemer, Greg Monroe, Peter Orth, Corey Spoden,
Spoden, Tom Hanson, and Scott Hollermann.
Amtrak tickets will cost $189 for scouts who are 16 and older;
$79 for scouts who are 15 and under. Betty was given permission
purchase the tickets.
Tim Dingmann has decided he will not be going. Scott
has not yet made up his mind. Paul Strong is on the waiting list.
I threw the committee for a loop this month when I tried to
as scoutmaster but stay on as a committee member or assistant
My reasons for this decision included poor advancement, unruly behavior
by several of older scouts, lack of respect, and what seemed like a
attitude of the scouts that they can do what they please and not be
if they so choose. I felt that I had spent enough time as
and that maybe it was time that a new leader be found. Someone
perhaps the scouts would pay attention to. Besides, I have had
of being taken for granted, and of the older scouts' attitude.
No one on the committee said anything for a while. Mary
Hanson was the first to break the silence. After some discussion
we agreed that I would stay on as scoutmaster for a few more
The committee would talk to the scouts during January's first troop
and see what could be done. Mary would call the service center
see if our district executive could come up on that day and talk to the
scouts at the same time.
The trip is getting closer. There are still many things to
get done and only six months left to do them.
Scott Hollermann still has not made a decision by the committee
meeting and they are starting to get impatient with him. Paul and
Vicki Strong would like to know if that spot is going to open up or
Vicki says that if he does not make a decision soon then Paul will not
be going. (Scott does find out the next week that he will be a member
the summer camp staff and gives his spot to Paul.)
Our crew is Scheduled to arrive at Philmont Scout Ranch on
July 29. Our trek will end with breakfast on Monday, August
We will spend thirteen days at the ranch, ten of which we will spend in
The crew held a meeting on Monday, April 27, to pick out an
There are twenty-seven to choose from. They start with fifty mile hikes
and gradually become longer. The longest trek covers over 82 miles. The
treks are rated typical, rugged, strenuous, or super strenuous
on the amount of miles covered and the difficulty of the hikes. Shorter
treks will allow the crew to take part in programs at the various
Treks that cover greater distances will not allow much time for
My last trips to Philmont were treks that were over 70 miles
long. There were many times that we arrived at our campsite and took a
nap during the afternoon. We were too tired to go to the programs. Ross
and Josh participated in the last trip. Hopefully they will remember
when it comes time to pick this trip's itinerary.
The first thing the crew does is to choose what they would like
to do on their trip. A side hike of Baldy Mountain and a visit to one
the cantinas top the list. The next most popular programs were rock
gold mining and panning, challenge events, mountain man rendezvous, and
a Mexican dinner. Burro packing, logging and spar climbing, and black
rifle rounded out the list. Several other programs also received a
of votes but were not as popular with the group.
Now that they have a list of what they would like to do the scout
try to find an itinerary that fits it the best. Five need to be chosen
and entered on a card in the order of preference. Itineraries would be
filled on a first come, first serve basis. Of course, we hope to get
first choice, or maybe our second. But we are a bit late getting this
care of. I am not to hopeful on getting that first choice.
A week later a postcard from Philmont is in my mail. It
us of the itinerary that we have received. Unfortunately, we got our
choice. I was not thrilled with this one. It was better then our fifth
Our trek will keep us in the northern and central portions of
Philmont. We will not get a chance to side hike Baldy but we will get
climb the Tooth of Time. We will be visiting the cantina at Ponil but
not get to enjoy a Mexican dinner. (Too bad!)
Actually, the more I look at it the more I come to
this itinerary. It is only fifty miles and still includes much of what
the crew had on their list. As the time to leave comes closer I begin
get more excited about our trip. It has the makings of being a good
Another meeting is held in May to inform the crew of our trek's
program. Josh explains what we will be doing. The group seems to be
I am glad for that.
Tony has gotten himself a summer job. On June 8 he informs me
he will not be going to Philmont. This job means too much to him. I
his point of view. He was lucky enough to get a job that was right up
field. He is working for a computer company out of St. Cloud. I hope he
That leaves us with one spot to fill if we are to have a full
size crew. The first person that comes to mind is Tim Nathe. Tim would
like to go but he and his parents thought that the cost would be
It turns out that the cost per scout will not be very expensive
after all. A breakdown of the cost is:
Philmont Fee - $250.00
Train - $157.67
Philmont bus - 15.00
Contingency - 25.00
Greyhound Bus- 45.83
The total cost per person will be $493.50. The contingency fund will
be used for the group picture taken at Philmont, a meal on the train
down, a meal on the way back, and a little extra in case we need to buy
something once we arrive at Philmont, such as stove fuel.
The troop has $3686.88 saved for this trip from past fund
Once the leaders' fees are paid each scout will receive over $274.98
from this fund. The final cost for each scout will be less then $220.
scout will also be able to use his summer camp credit and his high
credit toward the cost of this trip. It has become a very inexpensive
Tony has graciously offered to let Tim use his camp credit. The
committee discussed this at their meeting and came to the consensus
that would not be fair to the other scouts. Tim will not be allowed to
use Tony's credit.
Tim's parents decide that this will be financially feasible after
looking at the figures. Tim will be our tenth and last crew member. We
will be going as a full size crew.
On June 22 a meeting is held after PLC meeting. Its
to check over the gear that everyone intends to bring. It also gives us
a chance to make sure that everyone brings everything that needs to be
brought. Almost the entire crew attends.
Ready to move on to the next part?
Then go to
1992 Philmont Journal: