The first of more than 24,000 scouts began arriving in New Mexico for their seven-to-12-day trek at the Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, N.M., on June 8. This summer more than 8,000 of those scouts will be arriving at Raton, N.M., on the Amtrak Southwest Chief.
Philmont Scout Ranch is the Boy Scouts of America’s largest National High Adventure Base. Founded in 1938, Philmont has become a center for backpacking and training. It covers 140,177 acres of rugged mountain wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo range of the Rocky Mountains in northeastern New Mexico. Philmont Scout Ranch operates 35 staffed camps and 55 trail camps. More than 1 million scouts have experienced Philmont since its first camping season, and this summer will be the busiest because the ranch was closed most of last summer due to forest fires.
Dominic Baima, marketing manager for the Philmont Scout Ranch says, “The scouts will make their way to Cimarron, and then we will bus them out to the backcountry where they will hike and backpack the beautiful mountains of Northwest New Mexico. They go through different program activities such as leadership building and team building during their journey. It’s the pinnacle of the scouting experience.”
On the importance of the Southwest Chief to the scout ranch, Baima says, “We have many scouts coming from the far west and the far east, and the train offers a safe transportation route for them to make their way out here. It’s just an awesome experience and part of the Philmont experience. If we take out that opportunity to ride the train, we’re going to have trouble with those scouts that are really far out on the east or west coast. A bus would add two or three more days to the trip, and we’re already struggling with advisors taking vacation time.”
On June 8, there were over 70 scouts and their advisors that arrived in Raton on Amtrak No. 3, the westbound Southwest Chief. Before taking the bus to the scout ranch, they spent time in Raton visiting local shops and eating lunch.
4 thoughts on “First scouts arrive at Raton, N.M., on the Amtrak ‘Southwest Chief’ NEWSWIRE”
Philmont is a great place. Some of our scouts from northern Maine took the trip back in the early 80’s when I was an assistant scoutmaster. They were allowed to vote on which means of transportation was to be used to get to New Mexico. Due to the length of the trip they chose to fly. I didn’t blame them.
Our 1963 Contingent of 40 Boys and 5 Leaders boarded the B&O in Connellsville, PA and the Santa Fe “Grand Canyon” in Chicago. The Santa Fe arranged for us to have our own car both directions. We hiked the southern section, camping over night above the treeline on top Clear Creek Mt.(11,711 ft.). Riding the train was the perfect way to travel. Our trip to Philmont is one of my greatest memories.
Some of these scouts were on Saturdays Wolverine 351
I saw some of these scouts boarding at La Plata a few nights ago on the La Plata rail cam. I also attended Philmont as a scout in I think it was 1990, but being from New Jersey, we flew to Denver and took a bus from there. But I wanted to take the train and heard at the time there was a scout leader in NJ who took groups by train to Philmont.