The Silver Trek: Setting a Record
By Lee Huckstep, National Director
The largest number of Trekkers in the history of the PSA Trek—ninety two—hit the Philmont trails August 8, 2011 for the 25th Annual PSA Trek, the Silver Trek. After six days and five nights on the trail, the Trekkers returned to base camp where each was awarded the Philmont Arrowhead and the special Silver Trek award patch—an award patch which could only be earned by participating in the Silver Trek or rendering special service to the Trek. To protect the integrity of the award patch, the extra award patch inventory was destroyed following the Trek. This award patch is now possessed only by an elite few.
Founded in 1986, the Trek has taken place every year since, except one year, and has grown increasingly popular in recent years. In recent years the Trek has grown from 36 Trekkers in 2008 to the current record setting number. This growth is due in part to the transformation of the Trek into an event where Trek-eligible family members are encouraged to participate. And increasingly, PSA members and their “trail family” do the Trek together year after year—a testimony to the depth of their friendship and their shared reverence for the blessed plot we call Philmont.
The 92 Trekkers were divided into eight crews and went to all parts of the ranch. All crews were encouraged to participate in service projects. The service projects often included trail building, but this year Trekkers staying at Ponil were offered the opportunity to build trout dams on Ponil creek. These trout dams are part of a six-entity effort to help with the re-introduction of the native Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout when the Ponil again runs with water. Because of the drought this year, vast sections of the Ponil are dry. However, the South Fork of the Ponil from French Henry to Pueblano is running, and trout anxious to return to the lower Ponil were spotted by Trekkers. Also, isolated pools in the otherwise dry lower Ponil are teeming with trout fry eagerly awaiting the return of running water.
If you are a revved-up Silver Trekker who is anxious to Trek again, or you are keen to catch up on the fun you missed, start planning now for the 2012 PSA Trek. The cost will be $420 and the date will be determined soon. You’ll wanna go back to Philmont!