Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Thank you, Waite Phillips!

      Our family loves Boy Scouts. The program teaches the values that we strive live every day: honesty, hard work, love of the outdoors, loyalty, and duty to God and country. Every one of the boys in our family that’s old enough is a Boy or Cub Scout, and a fair few number of the parents are involved in Scouting. Last week, Apprentice-dad and I went down to New Mexico to experience the Philmont Scout Ranch.
        First off, a wee bit of history. At the age of 16, Waite Phillips (pronounced White) and his twin brother Wiate set out in 1899 from their small family farm in Iowa to explore the still-Wild West. Wiate Phillips unfortunately died in July of 1902 near Spokane, Washington. When Waite returned home, his two older brothers (who eventually went on and started Phillips Petroleum Company) sent Waite to college and gave him a job in their rapidly growing company. After selling his shares for the equivalent of over $50 million, he started his own extremely successful business and continued his love for the West.

      He bought the 300,000-acre UU ranch near Taos, New Mexico in 1922. Ultimately, he donated this property to the Boy Scouts of America on the condition that the ranch would make Scouting a family activity.
       So back to the present: my dad and I went down there last week so that my dad could have some training and I could have some fun. We left early one morning and made the drive to New Mexico. We listened to Harry Potter on CD all the way down, so it made for a pretty quick 9 hours in the car. When we got there, we got settled in our tent and explored the incredible Philmont property.
       Over the next couple of days I went rifle shooting, did archery, stamped belts, did some blacksmithing, and went horseback riding. My favorite activity was the horseback riding. My horse, Trigger, had anger management issues. Funnily enough, we got on mighty fine (Is that reflective of my personality?). But bottom line, it was great to be on a horse again. It had been awhile!

        On the third day, Dad and I went on a hike and then went into Taos. For those who’ve never been to Taos, imagine Jackson Hole built out of adobe bricks, with lots of Mexican restaurants and art galleries. I got my first real cowboy belt buckle there and then we went to eat. We went to this Mexican grill and it was amazing. We got stuffed jalapenos and green chili chimichangas and oh my, they were good. I also answered New Mexico’s state question: red or green? The answer, of course, is green.
      The next day, I went on an overnighter in some truly beautiful country. We hiked through fields of 6 ft. tall sunflowers, oak forests, and prairie than looks a lot like home. When we stopped for lunch, we each got a sealed bag filled with all sorts of snack food. And in that bag was the famous “Spam.” It was the first time I had the opportunity to try Spam, and I am proud to say I made about half way through the “block.”
       The rest of the overnighter was relatively uneventful. We played football in pouring rain, and swatted flies in return for homemade root beer in a cantina. The next morning, we woke up and hiked the mountain at a tremendous pace, only to stop at an outpost to play some baseball.
       After getting back, we went on a low ropes course. We then planned a skit for the night’s closing campfire. Our skit was a mix between the classics, a fire drill, and the girl scouts. It was a big hit among those who saw it.
       All in all, I had an awesome time in God’s country. We laughed and learned, we hiked and played. Thank you Philmont, and thank you, Waite Phillips!

-The Apprentice


  1. Good job! Glad you had fun!

    1. Yes, but please, DO NOT even think about acting like Trigger. I have enough problems in my life.