April 25, 2015

4/23/15 - Philmont Scout Ranch

If you grew up on westerns like we did, you've heard of Cimarron, New Mexico.  On the old Santa Fe Trail, it got a lot of traffic. It was a wild and lawless town, with a feud over an old Spanish Land Grant that went on for years.

People as different as Bat Masterson, Kit Carson, Jesse James and Buffalo Bill Cody stayed at the St. James Hotel, where there are still bullet holes in the old tin ceiling tiles.
We had lunch there, although it's a little disconcerting to have a stuffed cow with a "What am I doing here?" look focused on you as you eat. (I wasn't eating beef, honest!)  

They let you wander through the downstairs lobby, go through the swinging doors and peek into some of the old rooms, named in dubious honor of their former occupants.
As you might expect in a place a like this, there are ghosts. Although Room #6 has a sign proclaiming that two men died in that room, the ghosts stay upstairs.  I'm assuming this because there's another sign posted at the bottom of the stairs with rules for Ghost Investigators. (We saw neither.)
The Old Grist Mill Museum looked interesting, but unfortunately, April isn't high season in Cimarron. It doesn't open until Memorial Day. We probably won't come back for it.
Just outside of Cimarron is Philmont Scout Ranch, the Boy Scouts National High Adventure Base. I figured you'd just sign up and go to camp for 7-12 days. Nope! First you have to get a crew of Boy Scouts plus at least 2 physically fit adults. Then you register for a lottery TWO years before you want to go. Maybe you'll go, maybe you won't...and if you do, you'd better hope the rest of the group still wants to go!

They also have a huge program for Adult Leaders.  George was there in 1990, right after we got married.  (This is where he usually announces that I left him on our honeymoon.)  Although it doesn't much look like tents now, this is a portion of one of the huge "Tent Cities" they have for the adults. I like our kind of camping much better.
The 127,000 acre ranch was donated to BSA in 1938 by Tulsa oilman Waite Phillips. The ranch included their summer home called Villa Philmonte. (I've never had a house with a name; I suppose it's because I never had a house that had 28,400 square feet!) A tour was just starting when we arrived, so we went scurrying to catch up. The rest of the tour (another couple) was still outside when we got there.
Because the house is much larger than our 5th wheel, we just kept going and going. (If we hadn't had a guide, I would have needed breadcrumbs.) Our guide was very good, and had lots of info about the Phillips and the house. It had been furnished from all over the world, and many of the pieces are still there. Some of them were antiques when the house was new--and if they weren't then, they are now.  Some of the things I liked:
Living room
Hand-painted Windows
Detail of Living room Ceiling
The guys really liked it when we got to the garage.  There are three antique cars. Here's my favorite. The tread on the tires is NON-SKID. Literally. Instead of zigzag designs or something, the words NON SKID are the tread. Is that cool or what?
We went to the museum, which was rather a disappointment. I expected either history of the Scout Camp, details of the treks, more of what we got in the mansion, even a history of the Boy Scouts. Nope--none of the above. There were minor exhibits from some of their "partners"(?), but not much. The personal library of one of the first Chief Scouts of the BSA is in one wing . Nice gift shop...

One last stop before we left. I've heard stories for years about the hike George and some of the other leaders made up the "Tooth of Time", which is the icon of Philmont. George took me out where there was a clear view of it so it would make a little more sense to me. I suppose it does look a bit like a tooth.
Here's the link for more pictures of Cimarron & Philmont:  Cimarron

Post a comment.

Post a Comment

Please leave comments here: