Notes from Camp – Intro

Well Friends,

For those of you who weren’t a part of last year’s Ed-Ventures, each time I’m away for an extended period like this, and especially when I’m serving as a Chaplain at Philmont, the national Boy Scout Ranch in New Mexico, I like to reflect on the daily readings for Morning and Evening Prayer and something that has impacted me that day.  To begin tomorrow (as I was driving at 5:00am this morning!)

I arrived today at lunch time (2:00 your time) after three days (28 hours) of driving.  And all is good.  From Base Camp all seems back to normal, though ‘scars’ of the forest fire which closed the ranch last year) can be seen even from this vantage point.  I am anxious to see how the rest of the ranch has been affected.  I think of those in California with the fires and the earthquakes!  Nonetheless, I am excited and anxious to welcome members of Honesdale’s Troop One for their first experience of Philmont in a couple of weeks.  It is a life changing experience where God is truly made present in these young lives!

As an introduction – Philmont was the vacation ‘getaway’ for Waite Phillips (of the Phillips Petroleum family).  Long story made short – the local Troop from a town smaller than Waymart, asked him if he would allow them to hike and camp on his property (where he invited the likes of Teddy Roosevelt and Henry Ford to hunt and fish).  He agreed, but followed them secretly on horseback watching them.  He was so impressed with their care of the land and the survival techniques they were learning that he invited them back.  A special relationship which developed into his donating his ranch to the national Boy Scouts.  One condition, we have to keep it as an active ranch, so there is a horse brand and a cattle brand.

And each week, thousands of Scouts arrive to spend 10 days back-packing on these mountains in 140,000 acres.  We also have a special connection with the Kit Carson National Forest which abuts the ranch for use of their property.  More on the experiences as the weeks progress.  An historic area with Kit Carson (whose hacienda is on our property) the Sante Fe Trail going through the property, Jesse James, Annie Oakely, and other infamous characters in the area…  It really is a fascinating area for American history!

Tomorrow, I begin our meditations as “Notes from Camp.”  I hope that some of you followed the journey last year as the fires burned around us.  And as the Phoenix rises from the flames, I pray to be with you these next few weeks and share some of “God’s Country.”

May the “Four Winds” be with you.

Fr. Ed
(or as I’m known here, “Fred”)

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