2016 Road Trip Out Day 1 - Alexander Bohlen Photography

The quarter I took off from Cal Poly and a year of slow planning has brought me to this moment, the journey from California to my summer job in New Mexico. As the month turns to weeks, then to days, then to less than 24 hrs before my departure, I am super excited for my solo road trip. Being the second time traveling for a long period of time in my Adventure Wagon (my Chevy Trailblazer), I am used to the unusual nature of finding places to sleep at night, places to explore, staying clean, and the unusual food stop locations. But the nervousness I feel is not for the journey, it is for the work I will be doing during the summer. It will be a test and challenge of what I have learned all my life, and from my past two summers of working at Philmont Scout Ranch.


  • Night sky from Staff tent city. Where I live for the summer. Photo by Alexander Bohlen
  • Morning sunrise at the front entrance on July 24th, 2016. Photo by Alexander Bohlen

The image on the left is of my tent in base camp while the image on the right is of the entrance to Philmont Scout Ranch. 

What is Philmont Scout Ranch you ask? Well, simply put, it is the greatest summer job you will ever have where you will have adult responsibilities, but you act like a kid 24/7. Everyone throws their cool card out the window and is their self in all aspects. Philmont Scout Ranch is a Boy Scout summer camp that is solely designed for exploration of the outdoors through backpacking or traveling on trails by horseback. Over 210 square miles make up Philmont property, which includes a basecamp and many backcountry camps. Backcountry camps are what make Philmont super special, besides the fantastic basecamp departments, which make all backcountry operations run smoothly.


  • The staff at Pueblo stand in front of the first railroad tie build by a Philmont program camp. Photo by Alexander Bohlen
  • Pueblano
  • Metcalf Station on July 2, 2016. Photo by Alexander Bohlen
  • Days off in the Valle. Photo by Alexander Bohlen
  • Metcalf Station on July 2, 2016. Photo by Alexander Bohlen
  • Photo by Alexander Bohlen
  • Photo by Alexander Bohlen
  • Photo by Alexander Bohlen
  • Crew 714Q2 participates at on the challenge course at Dan Beard. Photo by Alexander Bohlen.

Backcountry camps consist of historical interpretive camps(settling, mining, Civil War outposts, and other time period recreations), challenge course camps, shooting camps (30.06, shotgun, cowboy action shooting, as well as black powder), and other staff camps. The programs at the staff camps can consist of shooting, burro racing, horse rides, ATV riding course, mine tours, historical tours, challenge courses, mountain biking, geocaching, land navigation, search and rescue, laying down railroad tracks, milking cows/goats, spar pole climbing, rock climbing, blacksmithing, cooking, astronomy, and some other programs. The last two summers I worked in the backcountry, first at a challenge camp so engrossed in wilderness that we cooked on a wood stove and had no access to the outside world, secondly, at a camp with a brand new ATV program, then to my current summer position as a Lead Marketing Specialist in basecamp. I am in a leadership role and in charge of the social Media for all of Philmont Scout Ranch, print marketing, web marketing, as well as other special projects. Although I am not in the backcountry, my job is a perfect transition between my non-technical summer fun at Philmont and my major, with an amazing mix of visual media sprinkled on top. Back to my journey.


Back to my journey.

Day 1: Packed my SUV, said my goodbyes, and then drove away from my parents and house for 4 months. My first destination was Great Basin National Park, a very small, quiet, and unknown National Park to most people. From San Jose, I took the freeways through Sacramento to Reno. Reno was my longer rest stop to eat my road food for dinner. I was happy to get back on the road after visiting the outskirts of the Reno. I ventured on US Route 50 towards Great Basin. Now the 50 is one amazing road, and an extremely quiet road, especially at night. I quickly figured out why it is known as "The Loneliest Road in America". There are many pull offs that can be found at 10PM to rest, but one worth sleeping at for a couple of hours....nope. Finally, after passing through the town of Austin (NV), I was struggling to continue on and find a place to crash for the night. Tis the life of road travel. I found a rest stop where two more cars where chilling. Now, being my second solo road trip, I have learned a lot in traveling cheaply. Very little is going with me to Philmont, so I have a intricate system of creating a fairly comfy bed in the back of my SUV. It only takes about 5 minutes to setup and I sleep just as comfortable as being in a tent.


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