It was only a few days before their 2018 trek when crew 608-AA received the call: Philmont was closed for the summer.
“I wasn’t sure how excited I was [for the trek] last year until we got the call that said, ‘We’re canceling,’” Chad Brockermeyer, one of the crew’s adult leaders, said. “ I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut. That was tough.”
Now, roughly one year after the Ute Park Fire, they’re finally at Philmont.
They are among the first crews to arrive for the 2019 season. The 10-person team, comprised of six Scouts and four Advisors, drove to Philmont from their hometown of Houston, Texas.
The Scouts are a year older but still chose to come to Philmont together. Their arrival was marked with laughter and excitement as they met with their Ranger and completed the check-in process.
Their first day on the trail was spent skirting the burn scar’s southeastern border, going from Webster Turnaround up to Arrowhead trail camp. The steep hills and sharp elevation change from their lowland home made the journey difficult but, sweating and panting, they eventually reached their destination in the early afternoon.
The crew’s inaugural hike was difficult but their rapport never wavered. At every stop, the Scouts were quick to think of a joke, often in the form of puns and friendly ribbing. Good humor and high spirits were a hallmark of their group. There was hardly a moment when they weren’t smiling.
“We’re all really outgoing, we all like to put everything out there,” Crew Leader Patrick Dunn said.
The Scouts of crew 608-AA attend different schools but have remained tight-knit for years. Cody Brockermeyer, who was planning on doing the 2018 trek, came back to Philmont this year as an adult advisor just to experience it with his friends.
“It’s only been one day,” he said, “ but we’re growing closer with each other, making jokes about everything. It’s a really good experience.”
Their joy and charisma weren’t lost on their Ranger, Keelia Rogers. Rogers is working at Philmont for a month through the Air Force Academy and leading crew 608-AA was her first time working with Scouts this summer.
Rogers spent a few days with the crew getting to know them and helping them navigate Philmont’s Backcountry.
“Honestly, I love this crew,” she said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better one.”
Crew 608-AA proved worthy of their double ‘A’ rating. Their puns, pranks, and infectious laughter were a perfect start to the 2019 summer season.