Michael Kluz, a Life Scout from Summit Boy Scout Troop 49 recently returned home after hiking 175 miles at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico.
Philmont Scout Ranch has 137,493 acres (215 square miles) of rugged mountain wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo range of the Rockies. The ranch is the Boy Scout’s national high adventure base which has more than 330 miles of trails throughout the camp with elevations ranging from 6,500 to 12,441 feet in elevation above sea level.
Michael had spent time at the ranch last summer on a trek with a crew from his Boy Scout Troop, but this year, decided to tackle the challenging 21-day Rayado program. Rayado is Philmont's premier backpacking program and focuses on developing outdoor leadership, group dynamics, wilderness problem-solving and advanced outdoor skills. Those on Rayado programs are told to “expect the unexpected.”
Michael and other Boy Scouts from across the country were assigned to nine-man crews. When placing Scouts, Philmont ensured Scouts did not know one another and were from other states. Michael’s crew consisted of young men from Wyoming, Connecticut, Texas, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Hong Kong. Michael and the other Scouts in his crew carried everything they needed to survive during the trek on their backs while hiking from camp to camp.
Michael is currently working on his Eagle Scout project and will be a junior at Oconomowoc High School in the fall. He is a varsity cross-country and track athlete who hopes to pursue an environmental science degree in college.