Philmont Scout Trek – Day 1: Garden of the Gods

In 2014, I had the opportunity to participate in a life-changing event. The trip was to travel to New Mexico and backpack for two weeks on the Philmont Scout Ranch.

I will be doing a number of drawings depicting the major events from each day of the trip over the coming weeks. It will be a large series, most likely created in a number of mediums.

Philmont was originally a ranch that was acquired by Waite Phillips, a petroleum businessman in the 1920s. He was so impressed with the Boy Scouts that he donated part of his land to them during the Great Depression. Called Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp after it’s donation, but was soon changed to Philmont Scout Ranch. Today, the acreage totals 140,177 acres or 219 square miles). A good number of treks are offered which include backpacking the wilderness while carrying all of your food and supplies; setting up camp and participating in activities across the ranch.


Tooth of Time – Philmont Scout Ranch, NM

A Philmont crew generally consisted of twelve people; nine boy scouts and three adults. All of us had grown up together and had known each other from Scouts since we had joined. The trip would occur in 2014, roughly a year and a half after we had decided. We trained for that time to prepare ourselves for the long miles, heavy backpacks, and the major altitude change. The other biggest part of the training was working together as a team to solve problems. We would be spending every second of the trip together, so being able to mesh was essential.

When the Summer of 2014 appeared, myself and the rest of the crew were eager to depart. Flying to Colorado first, we would spend two days acclimating and exploring landmarks. Visiting the Air Force Academy was a big event, but not as breathtaking as the Garden of the Gods.


The Garden of the Gods is a famous place in Colorado, known for it’s burnt orange rocks jarring from the ground. We had never seen something in nature like that and I was awestruck. The rocks were “lifted” out of the ground caused by the forming of the Rocky Mountains and Pikes Peak millions of years ago. The vertical rocks were then “finally formed/eroded” during the last Ice Age, lasting from 2.588 million years ago to 11,700 BC.


Still fascinated with the ball point pen, I drew this with it. I kept it fairly simple, not focusing too much to detail, but shadows and highlights. It is not perfect to the photograph, but that does not matter. I kept the clouds white in the background to dial in contrast. I like how this came out, but I can definitely go darker on the shadows; especially the rocks.

I did bring a notebook along with me on the trip, keeping a journal of the day’s events and occasional sketches. I may include those sketches as well, but I am not sure yet.

The next drawing will be of the summit of Pike’s Peak, CO that we traveled to our next day.


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