Back in the 1990s, making reservations for treks at Philmont Scout Ranch meant parking yourself in front of a phone (remember the kind that were connected to the wall?) and hitting redial over and over and over again. To increase your odds, you would recruit other leaders in your troop to do the same thing. With the increasing ubiquity of the internet, those days are gone for good. Today, all Philmont reservations are handled online.
Each fall, Philmont opens a registration window during which troops, teams, and crews can enter the lottery for the summer two years out. In other words, if you sign up this fall, you’ll be looking at 2016 dates. While this process has been in place for several years, there are a few important tweaks this time around:
- There are no region-specific signup dates this fall. Instead, any unit from any region can register between October 29 and November 19. (All entries will be treated equally, regardless of when you sign up during those three weeks.)
- There is no restriction on attending Philmont in back-to-back years.
- You can now sign up for 7-day treks throughout the season, although not for every arrival day. (Most Philmont treks are 12 days in length; 7-day treks have historically been offered only at the end of the season.)
For lots more information, visit the Philmont website.
By the way, if your troop has never done any high adventure, Philmont is a great place to begin. Besides being a true Scouting paradise, it offers great support, including extensive information on getting ready, good-quality crew gear, and a ranger who accompanies your crew for its first days on the trail. And the backcountry programs are top-notch. All in all, I can’t think of a better way to spend a couple of weeks in the summer of 2016–or any other summer, for that matter.