Comanche Trail Council

Philmont Scout Ranch - 1966

By John Yantis

Front row, left to right: Charles Pirkle, Comanche; Mark Vanderveer, Stephenville; Mike Cedars, Stephenville; J.W. Coleman, Brownwood; Rev. Joseph Scantlin, Breckenridge; [Philmont Ranger for Trek A2]; William B. "Bill" Tidwell, San Saba; Bruce Embrey, Philmont Ranger; John Cunyus, Stephenville; John Yantis, Brownwood; David Riggins, Stephenville; Steve Lund, Eastland
Back row, left to right: Dale Hancock, Stephenville; Ernie Meyer, Brownwood; David Hancock, Stephenville; Coy Fuston, Brownwood; Gary Twiford, Brownwood; Tyson Clemons, Comanche; ??; Gary Rogan, Stephenville; Alan Johnson, Stephenville; Brian Garner, Eastland; Tommy Brashier, Ranger; Jerry Jackson, Stephenville; ??; Robert Cobb, Comanche; Len Johnson, Stephenville
Three missing names are Ronnie Huse, Dublin; and Billy Williams, Comanche.

Crew 723-A-1: William B. Tidwell, Tommy Brashier, John Cunyus, Bryan Garner, Dale Hancock, Ronnie Huse, Jerry Jackson, Alan Johnson, Steve Lund, David Riggins, J. Mark Vanderveer, John Yantis

Crew 723-A-2:  Rev. Joseph Scantlin, Mike Ceders, Tyson Clemons, Robert Cobb, J. W. Coleman, Coy Fuston, David Hancock, Len Johnson, Ernie Meyer, Charles Kent Pirkle, Gary Rogan, Gary Twiford, Billy Williams

In the Summer of 1966, Comanche Trail Council sent a contingent of 23 boys and 2 leaders to Philmont Scout Ranch.  We departed on Friday, July 22nd at 7:30pm from Brownwood by chartered bus.  We stopped for breakfast at 7:00am on Saturday, July 23rd, in Springer, New Mexico, and checked in at Philmont at 9:00am.

The contingent was split into two treks (A1 and A2), each with one adult leader.  I and 10 other youth were in trek A1, with Bill Tidwell and Ranger Bruce Embrey.  We hiked over 53 miles, starting at Lovers' Leap, and camping overnight at New Abreu, Lower Bonito, Aqua Fria, Porcupine, Clear Creek, Red Hills, Beaubien, and Sheaffer's Pass.  En route, we climbed Mt. Phillips (11,711 feet), and saw buffalo, deer, bear, ground squirrels, weasels, chipmunks, and eagles.  We did enough conservation work at Philmont to qualify for our 50-Miler Awards.

I wrote in my diary:  23rd -- Arrived, unloaded, met ranger, assigned to tents in tent city, camping headquarters.  Got physical exams, planned our trek.  Took tour of Headquarters, stopped in the trading post and the pop shop, rested, and ate lunch.  Drew tents, food, and equipment, and had shakedown.  Had a bull session, got instructions.  Ate supper, then went to "The New Mexico Story" campfire.  Took shower, went to bed.  Rained all night.

24th -- Ate breakfast, packed.  Got on bus, got off at stockade.  Hiked to Lovers' Leap.  Set up, went to orienteering.  Met George Bolt from Gormon, Texas.  Climbed Uracca Mesa.  Campfire that night included "The Philmont Story", and a Christmas Party (it was, after all, July 24th.)  Rain in afternoon.

25th -- Hiked to New Abreu camp over Stonewall Pass.  Did conservation project.  Rain in afternoon.

26th -- Ranger left us after breakfast.  Hiked to Lower Bonito (no staff there) over Fowler Mesa (tough trail), in the rain.

27th -- Stayed in Lower Bonito until noon, washing clothes and bathing.  Hiked in the rain to Aqua Fria over Webster Pass.  No staff there, but it was integrated with Fish Camp, so we had a campfire.  The entertainment was a guitar player/singer from Alabama who called himself Uriah P. Upright -- he said the P stood for "Walter."  He taught us the song, "MetriCal", about the first diet drink that was mass marketed (remember, this was 1966):  "MetriCal, MetriCal; I lost a hunderd pounds of lovin' when she drank MetriCal.  I lost my shade in the summer, lost my warmth in the fall; it'll take a lot of foam rubber t'put back what she lost.  MetriCal, MetriCal; I lost a hunderd pounds of lovin' when she drank MetriCal."

28th -- Did more conservation work in the morning, saw the museum, and started hiking after lunch (in the rain).  Hiked to Porcupine, and set up camp.  Had a program on Field Biology.  Bothered by bears that night -- we scared them off with yelling, rocks, and flashlights.

29th -- Slept late, cleaned up, and hiked out before lunch.  Saw a beaver dam.  Rain.  Again.  Hiked to Clear Creek.  Set up in the rain.

30th -- Got up in the rain, did boat races (carved wood chips in a stream), had a program on Woodlore Wisdom and conservation.  Stayed in this camp again at night.

31st -- Hiked over Mr. Phillips, Comanche Peak, and Big Red Mountain, to Red Hills (an abandoned staff camp, where we were alone, and NO RAIN).  We had a New Year's Eve Party.

August 1st -- Left early (8am), and hiked over Bonito Peak to Beaubien.  Went to the Trading Post.  After lunch, had a program on Advanced Dutch Oven cooking.  Took a shower!  Had Dutch Oven Stew for supper -- GOOD!  Had a campfire, where a wrangler sang.  Rained all night -- got soaked, and cramped.

2nd -- Left camp late, had lunch on trail.  Hiked to Uracca, where we did more conservation work.  Met up with Trek A2, and hiked to Sheaffer's Pass in the rain.  Instead of cooking supper, we ate tomorrow's lunch in our tents.

3rd -- A troop of Yankees woke us up at 4am, so we got up, broke camp, and started hiking.  Climbed Sheaffer's Pass, the Tooth of Time, down Tooth of Time Ridge, and made it into Headquarters about 10am.  Got settled into tent city, had lunch, got mail, bought souvenirs, relaxed, ate candy, had supper, and went to closing campfire where we were given our arrowhead patches.

4th -- 7:00 am departed Philmont by bus for Taos, New Mexico.  Did sightseeing and lunch in Taos, then on to Santa Fe.  Spent night in a gym.

5th -- Sightseeing in Santa Fe, then went through Cline's Corners to Carlsbad.  When we got there, it was raining, and there was nowhere to sleep in Conquistador Council's Aquatic Camp, so we stayed in the best hotel in town, La Caverna.  We went swimming.  I got a phone call that I had a brand new baby brother, born August 4th!

6th -- Toured the caverns, then drove home, arriving at the Brownwood Bus Station around 10pm.

Yours in the Spirit of Scouting,
John Yantis
October 1, 2005

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