Monday, July 15, 2013
I am now writing this final blog entry to let any readers know that we are all safely home and the Philmont adventure is over. Rather than trying to continue writing blog entries to fill in the gaps of the past two weeks, I think I'm just going to close the blog with this entry and ask that you get our stories of daring and adventure directly from those of us who lived it. I guess this blogging stuff was marginally successful, but simply does not work well when mobile phone coverage is not available as was the case during much of our trek in Philmont. For a full dose of photos from the trip, explore our main website at www.scouttroop94.org. I'll close with this photo of the whole bunch at the airport over two weeks ago as we are about to board a plane to adventure. Note how clean everyone looks.
Friday, July 12, 2013
Hike Day 9 started doing teamwork activities at Head of Dean. The point was to ensure the team could work together including everyone to accomplish difficult tasks - like scaling a wall or placing a gold ring (old tire) on a sleeping giant's finger (vertical pole) without waking the giant (don't touch the pole). We then left camp and packed over to Baldy Skyline camp where the Cons (short for Conservation) team met us to explain what we would be doing. Our job was to close an old trail and to prepare it with rotting logs and wood such that it would quickly be absorbed by the forest and disappear over the course of several years. The day ended with a hike into Ute Meadows to camp.
Today, Hike Day 8, was one of the longest with packs on thus far. We left our campsite at about 8am and initially descended to Highway 64 which is the lowest altitude we will see for the rest of the trip. From there we started climbing. Along the way we passes through Santa Claus Camp, which did not look much like the north pole. There was a cabin there that had a sign on the door that read "Do Not Enter. Hantavirus Inside." No Christmas this year, boys and girls.
Three miles later and many hundreds of feet higher, we arrived at Head of Dean camp. This camp has a theme of activities and challenges - which have kept the scouts occupied until well after sunset.
Part of today's Hike Day 7 schedule included stopping by the Ute Gulch Commissary to pick up a fresh supply of trail dinners and snacks (Corn Nuts are not very popular) and visit the trading post trail shop to buy any items needed on the second half of our hike.
Mitchell's pack could not have picked a better location to completely fall apart. Once the aluminum frame snapped, I knew we needed to do something quick so that he could continue the trek. Fortunately, the commissary rents packs! Ten minutes later, Mitch is loaded down with an old external frame Kelty. Trail magic!
Our day began with horse riding at Clark's Fork Cowboy Camp. Now, I personally am not too big on horseback riding, but it was very special to experience the vast and endless scenery of mountainous New Mexico from the back of a horse, exactly as the American pioneers did not too long ago when the west was young and untamed. Oh yeah, I think the scouts had a good time too.
Saturday, July 6, 2013
Upon arrival at Miner's Pass around 2 in the afternoon, we met with a staff member who informed us that there is rock climbing to be done, but that the crews arriving before us had filled all afternoon slots. But some negotiations allowed us to get in on the last slot of the day. On the downside, the showers in camp closed at 5 and we would miss that opportunity until tomorrow. After hiking upwards 500' from camp to the climbing and repelling area, we were able to get 7 of 11 crew members up the rock before it started raining; the lightning threat chased us down off of the mountain. Back in camp, the staff hosted the adult advisors for the multiple crews staying there this evening to a coffee and cookie social hour. Your current Hike Day number establishes your rank within the Philmont community. Soon, we will have earned the respected senior position of Hike Day 10 or 11 rather than our current newbie amateur status of Hike Day 4.