WG17 – Hats and Sun Protection

We all know how important it is to protect our skin from the sun.  From the time crews set foot in Colorado until the time you return home you will be exposed to more sun than most have ever experienced.  For starters, Pikes Peak is more than 14,000 feet.  At Philmont the crews will be at altitudes from 6,000 feet to 12,500 feet.  When rafting in Colorado you will be on open water for a few hours.

So it is very clear.  Everyone MUST wear a hat and use sun block – not only at Philmont, but also on the Colorado tour.  The best hat option is an all around wide brim hat that serves as protection from the sun and rain, such as the Watchu booney.  Some crews use baseball hats with bandannas covering the ears and back of the neck.  Whatever the choice, all must cover up as much skin as possible.  Sun block is essential.  Cover your face, back of neck, legs, arms, and your ears.

This need can be turned into a fun team building exercise.  Hand the hat design over to your crew.  Have the Scouts begin now to select or design a crew hat.  You are going to see some sharp crews all wearing the same crew hat when you arrive at base camp – your crew could be one of them.  Yes, your crew might want to select our Patriots Path Expedition hat, either the baseball or booney style.  That would be great.  There is plenty of room on the expedition hat to add additional graphics and turn it into a super crew hat.  Check out the hats at the Watchu Trading Post on the Watchu Experience Web site (www.watchu.org), or use the Quick Link.


Crew T-shirts:  How about designing your own crew T-shirt for use on the trail?  AM Embroidery is a local supplier that can give you some ideas.  The day you hit the trail you will see crews break out their special backcountry shirts.  You will see some spectacular designs.  The only requirement is that the graphics be in tune with the Scout Oath and Law.  Get your Scouts started now on their version.  Make no mistake; they will be very proud of the T-shirt they design and of the Patriots’ Path base camp T-shirt included in your fee, not to mention the moisture-wicking backcountry and rafting T-shirt supplied by the Watchu Mountain Outfitters.


Note from Chief Watchu:  Nation-wide there are more than 20,000 people on the Philmont waiting list.  Likely there are Scouts or Venturers in our council who would desperately want to go to Philmont but for whatever reason, often financial, they do not sign up.  We can help eliminate the financial gap and solve most other problems.  Please help find those super kids and fill our expeditions.  We know they are out there, excitedly waiting for invitations.  Call Debbie Wickham at 973-765-9322 x239 with candidates or for details.


BSA Field Uniform:  The Philmont Council and Unit Planning Guide mentions that wearing the BSA “field uniform” is appropriate in Base Camp.  “Field uniform” is another term for the official BSA uniform, commonly referred to as “class A.”


Watchu Request: If your troop or crew has a Web site, please ask your Web Master to provide a link to our Watchu Experience Web Site, www.watchu.org.  Thanks!


Phil Fact:  Charlie Cypher was a manager for The Colorado Consolidated Verde Mining and Milling Company, which operated several mines in the area around the turn of the century.  Charlie stayed on after the company left, prospecting and operating the Contention Mine until being persuaded by Waite Phillips to leave.  The nightly “Stomp” at Cyphers Mine is held in Charlie’s cabin.


Mornings come late at the mine!

Charlie Cypher
Old Man of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains