Schmit Family
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7 August 2004 10:39 pm

Double H Ranch

I recently returned from a trip to the Double H Ranch with Boy Scout Troop 501. It was an amazing seven-day, six-night high-adventure backpacking trip. We didn't know what to expect since this was the first year that the Double H Ranch was operated as a national high-adventure base. Located in South-central New Mexico, the terrain is somewhat similar to that of Philmont. While the Double H Ranch can't match the grandeur of Philmont, its strengths lie elsewhere. At the Double H Ranch, other than Martin Camp, the single staffed camp, there are no trails, no designated camp sites, no latrines. It is up to the crew to determine how best to get to their camp for the night using a map, compass, and GPS. The chosen path may follow a road, a dry river bed, a canyon, or a straight line over whatever lies in the path. It is up to the crew to decide where to setup camp; hopefully, not too far from a water source. This freedom is what sets the Double H Ranch apart from the more stringently regimented Philmont experience. While bushwacking across the ranch is the highlight, there are also program activities. A wilderness guide is assigned to each crew for the duration of the trek. The wilderness guide presents programs such as astronomy (we missed this due to the weather), Leave No Trace, GPS navigation, and search and rescue. At Martin Camp everyone has the opportunity to fire black-powder rifles. The weather for the first couple days was unexpectedly rainy and cool. The weather the rest of the week was more sunny and hotter although never really that hot. Despite the fact that this was the first year of operations, everything ran rather well. Most of the programs could use more content and everything could be a little more polished, but, in general, the staff did an excellent job. For a troop or crew looking for a unique high-adventure opportunity, I would certainly recommend the Double H Ranch.

Posted by geoff at 22:39 in /scouts