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Growing up in a family of four kids, most of my memories of fun trips with my dad include the whole family. Rarely have just Dad and I gone on an adventure without my sister or younger brothers. But one particular trip stands out, and although it was years ago, my dad and I still continue to think back on an incredible journey we shared together, and hope to do something like that again in the future.
Over ten years ago--hard to believe it’s been that long--Dad and I went on my longest backpacking trip yet, a 9-day trek in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico. I was only 15 at the time, and the trip was organized though our local Boy Scout troop. The destination: Philmont Scout Ranch.
Nestled in the mountains of New Mexico, this ranch welcomes hundreds of young explorers each year to push themselves mentally and physically on a backpacking trip of their choosing. Each group plans and executes their own trip, making it as demanding or relaxing as they like. Seven other scouts and I decided to go with a strenuous trek, a bold 100+ mile trip.
We knew we would all have to spend a lot of time preparing for such a hike, and we were able to recruit three parents to make sure we didn’t kill ourselves. We spent nearly a year prepping for our trip, spending weekends backpacking through the Shenandoah to wear in our boots and dial in our gear.