Is a Philmont Cavalcade right for you?
Most of you already know this. However, for the clueless minority, I just have to be candid and shrivel up your dreams. Philmont Cavalcades are not easy. If you want a nice sunset clippity clop with a steak dinner and a warm cabin at the end of the day, that is the $400 a day version through a private outfitter. I have never done a backpacking trek at Philmont, and I had assumed that a backpacking trek would be more difficult then a cavalcade. However, I have had several youth that have done both backpacking and cavalcade treks. They said that they aren’t easier, just different.
Cavalcade days are longer and caring for the horses comes first. I have been surprised by the attitude of some adults who expect a cavalcade to be a much easier way to see Philmont. On my cavalcades, I have been soaking wet, sick and exhausted. Welcome to Philmont. Nothing about Philmont is easy. It is also a ton of fun and totally worth it.
For many of you, I think I am pointing out the obvious when I state that Philmont does an outstanding job. I am a horse person and I have been around horses most of my life. I have great respect and admiration for the incredible feat that Philmont does every summer to present a unique, safe and incredible opportunity for scouting’s youth. Did I mention incredible? Every summer, they need to find safe, reliable horses that not only handle the rocky trails, but do barrel racing at the end of the trek. They need to find young staff members who not only handle the horses, but handle the trek participants. Equipment needs to be prepared. Geez, the list goes on and on.
Inevitably, whenever you are dealing with so many variables in people, horses, and the environment, something can and will go wrong. Be respectful of how Philmont does their program. No one cares that you don’t hold your reins the way Philmont does. No one cares that your fancy Arabs at home are prettier than the Philmont horses.
I was very grateful for the opportunity to take both young women and young men out into the wilderness and have them experience a program like the Philmont Cavalcade. Once again, I think the majority of us scout leaders/adults understand this. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t point this out.