Troop 102

Where in the wild is Troop 102
Day four

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[July 01, 2016]  LINCOLN - Today is Saturday, June 18th. It has been four calendar days since members of Boy Scout Troop 102 left Lincoln, headed for the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. It is also day two of their eight-day itinerary and the first day that the group will hike.

Before departing from Lincoln, the 16 members going on the hike were divided into two groups or crews.

According to the Philmont Guide Book, each crew may have no more than 12 members, and no less than seven. Because there are 16 members in Troop 102, the group was divided into two crews of eight. Philmont’s guidebook also states that the camp will send out only two crews per day for each itinerary. The two crews of Troop 102 are on the same itinerary, and will go out together. According to the book, each crew is to act independently, but at the same time, they will be able to hike together.

Philmont rules for a crew require that the majority of the crew be youth, with no more than four adult leaders participating.

Each crew, before leaving Lincoln was assigned a Crew Leader, who must be one of the scouts. The Crew Leader will play an important role in the trip, and will have the support of the adult leaders, which in the crew are referred to as Adult Advisors.

According to the guide book, the responsibilities of the Crew Leader shall be as follows:

The Crew Leader gives leadership to the crew he/she is responsible for:

  • Discussing ideas with the entire crew to arrive at a consensus before taking action.
  • Organizing the crew, assigning duties and making decisions.
  • Choosing routes during the trek based upon the capability of the crew.
  • Setting up and breaking camp.
  • Checking that all “smellables” are properly stored and that all wildlife procedures are followed.
  • Making sure the Philmont Wilderness Pledge is being upheld and that every campsite, fire pit, and dish water sump is left clean.
  • Guiding the crew in a conservation project.
  • Supporting the Chaplain Aid and Wilderness Pledge Guia as they carry out their duties.

The Adult Advisor must support the Crew Leader and is responsible for:

  • Arranging transportation, overnight stops, and meals en route to and from Philmont,
  • Ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone in the crew,
  • Addressing crew conflicts that may require appropriate discipline,
  • Serving as a counselor and coach and giving appropriate guidance to the Crew Leader.

The guide book also states:

Great care should be used in selecting a Crew Leader as this person will have an awesome responsibility. The Crew Leader must have earned the respect of the crew members and adult Advisors.

For Troop 102, the two crews are Crew Burton and Crew McCraith.

The members of Crew Burton, left to right, are Jack Graue, Zach Smith, Dr. Steve Kottemann, David Smith, Chris Graue, Elijah Burton, William Trent, and David Papach. This crew has three adult advisors and five Scouts.

The members of Crew McCraith are Tim McCraith, Carter McCraith, Caleb Jackson, Evan Derrick, Edmund Robison, Carter Robison, Blake Hermes, and Zachary Craig. This crew has two adult advisors and six scouts.

For Crew McCraith; Carter McCraith is the Crew Leader. Carter is an Eagle Scout, and he has been on the Philmont Trek before. In addition, last year he worked several weeks at a scouting summer camp. On Carter’s Crew will be his dad, Tim McCraith, serving as an adult advisor. Tim McCraith is also making his second trek to Philmont. Between the two, this will give the rest of the crew members a resource for what to expect, and what they are heading into each day.

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For Crew Burton, Elijah Burton will be the Crew Leader. This is a role that Elijah is taking very seriously. In the questions and answers the boys participated in before leaving Lincoln, they were asked what event on their hike they find the most intimidating. For Burton, his concern was not about what he would encounter on the trip, but rather how he would perform as a leader. He said he wanted to be good at his job, and worthy of the position. “I am nervous about performing excellently as a crew leader. I want to do a really go job,” Burton said.

On Crew Burton, Chris Graue, David Smith, and Dr. Kotteman will be the adult advisors. Graue is taking the Philmont hike for the third time, and as in team McCraith, will have experience and knowledge of the hike that will be an asset to Elijah and the entire crew as they make this 12-day journey.

Today, the boys will leave the base camp and hike a total of two miles. In comparison to the balance of the trip, this will be a light hiking day.

The boys will begin their day at the base camp. They will make preparations to leave camp, including making sure they have their equipment ready and collecting their food supply for the next few days. Along their hike they will have additional opportunities to collect food on day six and day nine.

On Friday, they would have made sure that they had everything required in their backpacks and would have been able to purchase missing items at Philmont. Among the required items in their backpacks, each Scout must have a specific supply of clothing including thermal clothing for the cooler weather at higher altitudes. They must also have a cold weather sleeping bag, as the night time temperatures drop drastically in the mountains. Important tools that they must carry will include a compass, flashlight or head lamp, pocket knife, water bottle, and eating utensils. To see a complete list of what the boys will have in their packs view this Pdf.

At the camp, they will be assigned additional equipment by Philmont, including tents, a cooking pot, water purifier tablets, trash bags and toilet paper, and Bear Bags. The Bear Bags are used to hang “smellables” while in the campsite. The boys will see a great deal of wildlife, including the possibility of bears while on their hike. To protect the camp from the hungry scavengers, the bags will be filled with items that emit a tasty odor that would attract the bears. The bags, ideally, will make it at the least difficult, for the bears to raid the camp and make off with food. They are hung from a high tree branch, away from the trunk of the tree. While they are helpful, they are not completely bear proof. One video on the use of the bags stated that crafty bears will still find a way if they are determined enough.

The Scouts will also carry a camp stove and fuel. On the Philmont website this video demonstrates how the Scouts will prepare their meals.

On their hike today, the crews will begin to see the beauty of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Their first big event will be the hike over Lover’s Leap, a low peak with an elevation of only 7,450 feet. While this is 7,000 feet higher than most of these boys have ever been, it is only the beginning, as the hike will eventually take the boys to elevations exceeding 11,000.

To get an idea of what the boys will experience today, take a look at this YouTube video from Lover’s Leap 

[Nila Smith]

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