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GOOD READ Tales From the Ranch

You can spot a Philmont Ranger from a mile away. How? Check out this description from I Wanna Go Back: Stories of the Philmont Rangers: “The Ranger hiked in well-made ankle-top boots over double layers of sweat socks. He soon wore a tawny, sun-baked look and an unstyled head of hair. But he never looked so much like a Ranger as when he was marinated in a film of sweat and soot and trail dust.” There’s something different about the 200 young men and women who spend each summer leading treks at Philmont Scout Ranch. To the 23,000 Scouts and Scouters who hike the trails of Philmont each year, Rangers represent the public face of the ranch. Celebrate these staff-

ers in Warren Smith’s new book, debuting in early December. Read dozens of historical anecdotes, legends about Philmont, and coming-of-age tales from past Rangers—all set in the backdrop of the “purple mountains and azure skies” of New Mexico. What could better get

you through the agonizing winter months before you head back to Philmont? Purchase the book ($16) at

WHAT’S NEW Bringing the Heat

Many a Scouter may have a stereotyped picture of welding as a dirty, dangerous, and low-tech activity, but David Landon, vice president of the American Welding Society, begs to differ. That’s why Landon and other welding professionals served on the com- mittee that helped write the pamphlet for the Welding merit badge, which debuts in December.

“This is not your father’s welding,” Landon says. “It’s exciting

work, and the technology is just phenomenal.” Almost everything encountered in our industrial society, Landon notes, has some connection with welding. “People are building race cars and all kinds of construction equipment. Then there’s welding robotics, where you’re programming robots to do the welding for you.” Requirements for the new badge include setting up a welding

process, learning how to weld safely, designing and completing a welding project, and exploring career opportunities. Besides being a useful skill to master, Landon says, welding is one career path where the demand far outstrips the supply of ready workers.


The problem: It’s 8 degrees. It’s sleeting. You absolutely must use your smartphone—for a weather report, of course, not for Angry Birds—but you keep hitting the wrong keys because you’re wearing gloves. The solution: a pair of Seirus Wizard Soundtouch Xtreme gloves

(from the brand’s all-weather line), which tout a small contact point on the index finger and thumb of each insulated, waterproof glove. The Soundtouch technology allows wearers to operate any touch-screen device while keeping their hands warm. $35-$80. Available at select REI stores; see for locations or for additional retailers.

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