Along the Scouting Trail: Boy Scout Troop 509 members complete Rockies backpacking trip

Along the Scouting Trail: Boy Scout Troop 509 members complete Rockies backpacking trip
Seated, from left, are Boy Scout Troop 509 Scouts and leaders Mark Swain, Jack Olson, Libby Shiner, Jonathan Shiner, Stephan Badescu and Mircea Badescu. Standing, from left, are George Olson, Gino Graziadio, Max Fan, Forrest Swain, Jack Andrews and Tom Andrews. (Hand In / La Canada Valley Sun)

Accompanied part of the way by a burro they nicknamed "Churro," a crew from Boy Scout Troop 509 recently took to Rocky Mountain trails in a two-week camp adventure.

The La Cañada troop left Union Station by train on June 10 and arrived in Raton, N.M., a day later. From there, they took a bus to Philmont Scout Ranch's base camp, which is at an elevation of 6,600 feet.

After two nights at the base camp, the seven participating Scouts and five adult leaders were transported to the trailhead at Six Mile Gate to embark on an 11-day, 120-mile hike carrying 40-pound backpacks.

The weather for the greater part of the trip was hot and arid, except for a hailstorm and lightning.

Led by Scout Max Fan, members climbed 12,441-foot Baldy Mountain. "They also did rock climbing, horseback riding, spar-pole climbing, shotgun shooting, spear throwing, black-powder rifle shooting and challenge activities, and saw petroglyphs and a T-rex track," according to David Haxton, the troop's high-adventure coordinator who organized the trip.

Later this month, the troop plans to visit Catalina Island for a week. In August, a climb up Mt. Whitney beckons troop members.

For more information about Troop 509, which is sponsored by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, visit

Twitter: @CarolCormaci


July 11, 2017; 12:10 p.m.: This article was updated with information about the troop's sponsor.