“Text and Photos by Joshua Murdock”
With more than 40 million scouts in 223 countries and territories worldwide, there is no need for one’s scouting experience to be limited to their own country, and the United States’ Rocky Mountains offer incredible scouting experiences. With that philosophy in mind, Spanish scout Nuno Munoz embarked this summer on a nearly month-long trip to the United States to participate in Rayado, a 21-day service project trek at Boy Scouts of America’s legendary Philmont Scout Ranch. During his travels home to his hometown of Salamanca, Munoz visited Denver Area Council’s Frontier District Cub Scout Day Camp to get a taste of U.S. scouting outside of Philmont.
Over the course of the trek, Munoz and seven other scouts hiked more than 200 miles through the Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico. The crew was scheduled to reach the summit of Mount Baldy, a 12,441-foot-tall mountain that towers over Philmont, but storms in the vicinity spawned safety concerns and the crew decided not to attempt reaching the top. Despite not reaching the summit of the iconic peak, Munoz said the overall experience of the trek was “so good.”
Munoz and his crew completed service projects around the 219-square-mile ranch, including removing fallen trees from camps and clearing forest areas burned by wildfires.
This was Munoz’s first visit to the United States for a scouting function, and he was impressed by the “awesome” culture of scouting in the country. Munoz said that while the group of scouts on the trek started their adventure relatively shy and quiet, they quickly opened up to each other and became quite close. “You make friends for the rest of your life,” he said of his Rayado crew.
Friendly support was crucial on the long and rigorous undertaking, he said. A competitive runner in Spain, Munoz was still challenged by the demands of the trek. “It’s hard when you make a lot of distance in a day at altitude.”
Munoz hopes to return to Philmont in future years as a staff member.