Trail to Philmont – June 2021

The last month before Philmont.


Eighteen months of prep comes down to this … the final run-up to Philmont.


It’s hard to believe – even now – that it’s actually happening. Part of me kept expecting reality to snatch away the football at the last minute, but here we are, almost at the very end of the trail, and everything’s still happening.

Not surprisingly, June was one long sprint. My son and I continued our exercise routines, swimming multiple times a week at the YMCA, climbing the big staircase at the nearby college, and running. My physical therapy for runner’s knee wound down as I achieved my goal of being able to run 6-miles in one go. My daily walking/running distance increased from 4.2 miles/day in January to 7.9 miles/day in June. My weight continued to slowly decline, dropping to a low of 197 lbs. That’s down from 225 lbs. in January 2020, for a total loss of 28 lbs. on the trail.

We finished purchasing the last few essentials we needed for Philmont, including a Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated Air Sleeping Pad to replace my egg crate-style sleeping pad. The advice from the various Philmont attendees was to bring a sturdier, better-cushioned sleeping pad as a way of dealing with the many, many rocks in New Mexico. We bought new water bottles – we need four- to five-liter bottles – as well as stickers to differentiate them (I went with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Star Trek, and Dungeons & Dragons stickers; NeutronLad went with Legend of Zelda).

We weren’t able to get out on any additional backpacking trips, but I did take (and pass) a two-day Wilderness First Aid course.

And now … June is over.

The trip is upon us.

We’re as prepared as we can be.

It’s time to hit the trail.

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Sunfish Pond in New Jersey. Credit: Ken Newquist

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