Days #13 and 14
Monday, August 10, Day 13
It was 4:45 a.m. when Al and I were awakened by a neighboring
preparing to leave. Not only were they noisy but one of them had a roll
of strapping tape. It sounded as if he was taping everything in sight.
It did not pay to go back to sleep by the time they had finished and
so I got up and took a shower. Several members of they crew had also
up by this time. I guess they could not sleep through that racket
Josh presented the crew members with their patches before we
went to breakfast. He congratulated them as he worked his way around
circle, and told them that now they were men. Nathan received his patch
and replied, “We are men. We have practiced the pelvic thrust.”
was a good one.
I returned to the trading post again bought a plaque to give
to Melrose Lumber when I got back. I had each of then boys sign the
of it. (Marge and Butch Haider, owners of the yard, thought that it was
really nice.) I also gave each of the scouts a sheet of paper to write
a few words about how they felt about the trip. They all knew
I was writing a journal and I told them that I would like to include
comments. I will include these at the end of this journal.
Al received a letter from Kirk, our ranger. Kirk had
Philmont by the time we got off the trail. The letter was not a very
one. Kirk accused Al of not giving him a chance and not letting him
his point of view. He included a lot of anger into that letter. I was
that Kirk would write such a letter, especially to Al. I was the one
did not care for Kirk when he was with us. I was the one who told him
stop teaching the crew karate. Al just disagreed with him about
religious beliefs. Neither one of us could understand why Kirk felt he
had to write this letter. It just proved to us that Kirk needs to grow
up and look at the world a bit more. How he passed the ranger test I’ll
We were ready to leave Philmont at 9:30 as the bus
We were looking sharp wearing our scout uniforms. The afternoon would
spent in Raton. A trip to the Pizza Hut was on everyone’s
The train was scheduled to leave Raton at 6:20 p.m.
As we rode into Raton I could not help but think on how well
the weather cooperated with us on this trek. The crew was soaked a
of times on the last two treks. In fact, we could count on a shower
every afternoon. This trip was different. Virtually every day was
and full of sunshine. It made the trip so much more enjoyable.
We did not waste any time once the bus dropped us off at the
train station. We packed our gear to the side of the lobby and began
two mile hike to the Pizza Hut. Al volunteered to stay behind and watch
our gear. He would eat when we got back. I wondered if he wanted a
time to himself. After all, we had been with the boys for thirteen days
with little time to ourselves.
We arrived at Pizza Hut before they opened. I almost
they were sorry to see us come. The place had an all you could eat
special that afternoon. The boys ate as if they had not eaten for a
I am sure that the restaurant did not make any money on our group. By
time we left several of them were complaining about stomach aches.
The group stopped at a grocery stop on the hike back. The guys
bought much junk food and pop for on the train ride home. They
that food on the train was expensive. I found a book to read on the way
home. The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring Raton’s business
and buying a few more souvenirs. Several members of the group bought
bandannas to take home. I found a few old scouting related books in the
antique stores that were nearby.
The other troops arrived at the depot at 4:00 p.m. in
rain. The worst storm of our time in New Mexico had drenched them
and their gear to the core. I was glad that we had grabbed the earlier
bus after seeing these guys walk in. Our train was running late
It looked as if it would not be arriving until after ten that evening.
I am starting to worry about our Chicago connection. There is a chance
that we may have to spend the night in the windy city. That was
we were hoping to avoid.
Later that evening a couple of crew members disappointed
then any other time during our trip. It was late, about 9:30 or
We were still waiting for our train. The scouts were bored. The stores
and the ice cream shop across the street had closed for the day. The
was occupying themselves by bragging about their ‘rumbles’ with the
from Sauk Centre. A few of them were using some rough language.
Tim and Josh wanted me to pretend that I was from Melrose. They
would represent the gang from Sauk Centre in one of their recent
I was a little leery of this. It seemed to me that they were proud of
fights. I thought to myself; these are my scouts? What happened to
friendly, and courteous? They tried to tell me that it was the
guys that would start things. I replied that it takes two to tango.
Anyway, the language started getting worse. Even though they
knew how I feel about its usage a couple of the older scouts continued
to use it right in front of me. When one of them used the ‘f’ word a
of times I finally blew my top. I became so upset that I was shaking as
I told them all that scouts have certain rules and codes that they
strive to live up to. If they cannot do that then they should get out
scouting. Either that or find a scoutmaster who does not care what they
Saying that, I turned and walked away, back into the depot.
I sat in the corner between the walls and our gear,
what I should do about this problem. These older boys do not seem
to care anymore about what the Oath and Law mean. They use the rough
right in front of the leaders (and in school I know) and think it is
or macho. Push-ups mean nothing to them. They are capable of during
times the fifteen that we make them do if they say it during troop
They think fighting is ‘cool’. Discipline is a joke to them. How I can
function as a leader when the older scouts set such an example?
I think that it is time to resign as scoutmaster. I have had
it with these attitudes. The Scout Law states that a person should be
others who share in his beliefs. Well, my beliefs and certain older
beliefs definitely are not the same. I am sick and tired of trying to
Two other topics of disagreement are uniforms and religious
Several of the scouts are always trying to get out of doing their
regarding these subjects. Both are extremely important parts of
Why should I have to put up with this?
I did not talk to the scouts very much for the rest of that
I told Al of how I felt and broke down with tears in my eyes. Scouting
means a lot to me and I do not think the kids truly understand that.
they act this way and treat me as they did it really hurt. It makes me
feel like all the time and effort I have put into the program, and into
helping them, is not worth anything at all.
But, I do not think I can totally give up scouting just like
that. I have been involved too long to drop out. It is time to step
as scoutmaster and become an assistant or committee member. Then I do
have to deal with the boys on such a personal level. I can participate
in the activities that I want too with-out having to be at them
If I was an assistant scoutmaster I could devote my time strictly to
younger scouts. After all, if the older boys do not have time for me
why should I make time for them?
For the rest of the trip I kind of turned the troop over
I really did not want to deal with the boys any more.
The train finally arrived after 10:30 p.m. Somewhere between
California and Raton a rock was dropped from a bridge as the train went
under it. The windshield was shattered and a new engine had to be found
to pull the cars. A freight train engine was currently pulling it. We
miss our first chance at catching the early train in Chicago. We, and
other crews, loaded our gear and boarded. It did not take long for
to nod off.
Baldy Mountain; Philmont's highest peak.
Tuesday, August 10, Day 14
When I awoke this morning I was not in a better mood. To make
worse the train was running even later. It had lost quite a bit more
during the darkness. It now looked as if we may have to spend the
night in Chicago. I did not care for that idea and neither did Al. Al
to look for an option.
He found one. We have a chance to get off the train in Kansas
City. From there we may be able to take our bus tickets of the Chicago
to Minneapolis trip and get exchange them for a Kansas City to St.
trip. He would have to get off the train at Kansas City and call the
terminal to see if that would be all right. He would have to be quick,
however. The train would only be stopped for short time. There was a
possibility that he may not make it back to the train in time.
The crew is prepared to leave the train at a moment’s
we arrive at Kansas City. Al wasted no time getting off the bus and
the station. Many of us anxiously watch out the window for his return.
When he returns he reports that the bus tickets can be exchanged. We
quickly. There is some confusion as to which car our gear is in but we
find it. The scout leader of the troop our stuff was stored with
us to be sure that we do not grab any of his scout’s gear by mistake.
other troops also get off at this point.
Outside the terminal I make the scouts put their uniforms back
on. Al called his wife to inform her of our change in plans. It would
be a good idea to have her show up in Chicago if we are not going to be
there. Al asks the ticket agent for directions to the bus
It sounds as if it will be easy to find. It is only a two mile hike. We
put on our packs and move out.
Who knew that we would be doing any more hiking? I thought we
finished doing this at Philmont.
Kansas City is a pretty city. It is clean and well organized.
Unfortunately there is no bus terminal to found. After hiking a couple
of miles Al approaches a bus which has stopped at an intersection. He
the driver where the terminal is located. We do not like the answer.
agent at the train station told us to go right as we left. We should
gone left. We now have a four or five mile hike to get to the terminal.
Our spirit plummets. It is hot. Walking on concrete while wearing
a pack plus carrying out extra bags is truly a burden we did not ask
Going back to the train station to give that guy a piece of our mind is
a thought we all seem to be sharing.
The terminal is a blessed site. As soon as we form a
the scouts begin changing shirts. I don’t blame them. A few of them
their shoes to give their feet a breather. Al and I enter and walk up
the ticket ‘window’ to exchange the tickets. Then it is time to sit
and wait. It will be a few hours before the bus leaves.
We passed a sporting goods store on the walk to the terminal.
It is only a couple of blocks away. Several of the scouts express an
in checking it out. I do not want them walking around a strange city by
themselves so after a short talk with Al I agree to go with them.
The store is huge! Every kind of sporting equipment a person
could want seems to be here. The place also has a basketball court,
driving range, downhill ski ramp and a part of a tennis court so that
may try any of the equipment. It has enough to keep us busy for twenty
It is close to supper time when we get back to the terminal.
We have enough money left in our contingency fund to buy a few pizzas.
Al calls several places before he finds one that will deliver to the
It was a bit more expensive but it sure tasted good.
The trip to Minneapolis is uneventful. Thank goodness. I
need another surprise. I think the crew shares that feeling. It feels
to be back in our home state. I am pleased. We are back in Minnesota at
the same time we would have been if we would have made our connection
We spend an hour in the Minneapolis terminal before our bus
for St. Cloud. As the bus is being loaded everyone realizes that it is
overbooked. Another bus has to be called in. All St. Cloud ticket
are asked to get off and wait for the new vehicle. We are told it will
only take a half hour.
Another delay. We are so close to home. Oh, well. We will have
the new bus to ourselves, almost. A couple of other people who are also
going to St. Cloud will be joining us. Luckily, the driver arrives
then expected. We load up and are soon on our way.
This last bus ride proves to be great. We have the whole bus
to stretch out in. There are no stops we need to make on the way, thus
we save the time we lost waiting for the new bus. We arrive in St.
with-in minutes of the original bus.
Betty Spoden, Mary Monroe, and Mary Hanson are waiting
The scouts load the vehicles quickly. We are anxious to get home. We
enough trouble getting this far. I hope there will be no further
Melrose is a great site for sore eyes. We are home. Everyone
grabbed their gear, said good-bye, and headed for the cars that would
The trip is over.
Part 3: A Trip Completed
The trip is over. It is great to be back home.
It is time to return to the normal routine; go to work, pay the
bills, etc., etc. This week-end I will be working with the Patrol
Council on developing a program for the next year.
As I look back many thoughts go through my mind. There were
of pain. There were times when I questioned my own sanity for going a
time. There were several times I became very irritated with the scouts’
behavior. And yes, I even contemplated resigning as scoutmaster a time
But then I remember the good things. The obstacles that we
The programs we participated in. The great views and scenery. Our
celebration. The bear. The Tooth of Time. The fantastic weather.
The fantastic teamwork!
After looking back, I came to realize that this was probably
the best Philmont trip I have ever participated in. The good things
outnumbered the bad.
Most of the credit goes to the crew. They worked together. They
got things done. They got along with each other. When ten teenage boys
are together this long, for an activity as strenuous as Philmont, an
leader can only pray that things will go well. I am proud of the crew.
They have exceeded my greatest hopes.
Josh and Ross deserve a lot of credit. They did a fantastic job
of leading the crew. A crew leader and his assistant have to deal with
a lot of pressure during the trip. They handled it well and were able
keep the spirit of the crew high. I am going to be sorry to see them go
as they get older. But when they do, I think that they will go far.
I am glad that Al was the other adult advisor. Granted, I was
apprehensive about the idea at first. But Al did a sensational job. He
let Josh and Ross lead. He let the kids be kids. And he helped me get
a couple of rough moments. I think the scouts learned a few things
Al. And maybe, Al learned a few things about the boys.
Will there be another trip to Philmont in my future? Who knows?
At this time, with the last trip and its hardships still fresh on my
I would have to say no. I do not know if I could physically and
Ask again in two years.
I might say yes.
“We are men. We have practiced the pelvic thrust!”
Somewhere in the Philmont backcountry...
The last day we were at Philmont I asked the scouts to
quick note on how they felt about their trek. I explained to them
that I planned to include their notes in the journal I planned to write
when we got home. I am glad they all agreed to do this for me. I feel
helps to give a little insight into what they thought of their
The trek was great! It was an adventure I won't forget. We worked
as a team! Thanks guys.
I thought that overall it was a great trip. It was everything
I'd hoped for and more. I had a really great time and I hope that
else did too. The views were spectacular, especially from Schaefer's
and the Tooth. I think we had a great crew and that we all cooperated
worked hard and that's what made this a great trip.
Philmont was a new experience for me. Being forced to eat food
combinations that had never been invented before. Wildlife was
Seeing four bucks in one meadow at one time was something you'll never
see again. The memories will be forever lasting and something you can
about to your grandchildren. When you're out there you want to have
food but when you're there you never want to leave. Philmont was
I can and will brag about for the rest of my life.
What I liked the most about Philmont is the cantina and the
The one thing I hated about Philmont is the food (it was gross) and the
small amount of food.
I felt that Philmont was a learning and very fun place. We all
worked as a team and we all grew together. I loved the place. It was
I just wish I could come back.
I think we all had a great time and we learned how to work with
each other and to work as a team, not an individual. It also tested
patience and ability which is good. I thought it was awesome. Some of
food could be better.
What I thought about Philmont is it was a challenge and
I really thought it was fun. What I thought was good was the teamwork.
What I thought didn't work but was nothing.
What I liked about Philmont was the scenery. I also liked how
everybody gets along so well. The food was good too. I think we should
have had a longer trek.
ROSS FRERICKS (assistant crew leader)
I had a great time on this Philmont adventure because I took
in most of the programs I missed last time I was here. Having the rain
miss us was great because we had no problems with setting up camp or
The hiking got to me after a while. I didn't look forward to
hiking every day. I didn't have as much fun at the sites maybe because
we didn't have a crew like California with us.
Overall things went very smooth and we didn't have many problems.
The attitudes were great although they could have been better at some
of the trek. Everyone achieved what they came here for and I think that
is great. I really appreciate the time and effort the leaders put into
JOSH SPODEN (crew leader)
Philmont was fun. The crew was active and easy to get along and
they used lots of teamwork. The sites were beautiful. The hikes were a
good workout. I wish there was more and better food but hey, thanks mom
and dad. Happy birthday Chuck Taylor.
All right then...
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1992 Philmont Journal:
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