Philmont Trek 708-A-3
Watchung Area Council Contingent
July 7 - 21, 1979

On The Trail: Philmont 1979

This site presents my journal of a 1979 trek through Philmont, written days after returning home. Parts of it have been added recently, 25 years after the trip, and these sections are labeled as such.

I have not attempted to gloss over my recollections, written when I was 16 years old. They are, for the most part, unedited (except where spelling and grammar are concerned), so any uncomplimentary descriptions of people or events are the opinions of a 16-year-old. If any of my crewmates read this and would like to provide a different perspective, I welcome it!

On each page describing our time on the trail is a topo map of that day's trek and a graph that shows the horizontal difference with the topography, giving an idea of the altitudes we traversed along the way. Rolling your mouse over the topo map will display a larger version of that map.

 

The Lead Up

In 1978, on the verge of completing the requirements for Eagle, my parents offered me the opportunity to go to Philmont as a reward for achieving Scouting's highest rank. Of course, I jumped at the chance, as any scout would.

Since no one else from my troop was going, I was put into a crew of other scouts whose troops didn't have enough interest to form a complete crew. I'll let the following pages present the details of these individuals.

We met together many times, both as a contingent (multiple crews) and as a crew. At the first contengent meeting they asked for neckerchief designs. Neckerchiefs were going to be made for the entire contingent, and they wanted a scout to design it. As soon as I got home I sketched out what I envisioned, polished it a bit, added color, and submitted it. My design was selected over about 20 other designs. The image above shows the neckerchief that I designed for our contingent.

As a crew, we met to go over itineraries, select the crew chief and assistant crew chief, and go on "get acquainted" campouts. We trained on our own and as a crew in an attempt to do some team building. I spent the months leading up to the trip focusing on completing the Eagle requirements and training for Philmont, taking afternoon hikes with a pack full of rocks (well, half full anyway - be realistic!).

The Crew:

  • Lester Friedman – Adult Adviser
  • Scott Gordon, North Plainfield – Crew Chief
  • Greg Para, North Plainfield – Assistant Crew Chief
  • Greg Conover, Summit (me)
  • Drew Flohn, Warren
  • Mike Freedman
  • Frank Pirozzi
  • Mark Nevitt, Manville
  • Mark Kulick
  • Tom Strong
  • Jim Bowman

The Guides:

  • Peg Van Valen – Trail Guide for days 1 and 2
  • Jim “Friz” Ellis – Guide after Lester left on day 4

The photo to the left was taken before we left for the trail. Of course, I'm the one taking the photo so I'm not in it.

Back Row: Scott Gordon, Mark Kulick, Mark Nevitt, Drew Flohn, Tom Strong

Front Row: Peg Van Valen, Mike Freedman, Lester Friedman, Jim Bowman, Frank Pirozzi, Greg Para

So now that you've gotten the background and met the crew, let's get to it!