If you have stumbled into this blog post from a search engine on Philmont, consider starting at my first post HERE.
We woke to another beautiful New Mexico morning and proceeded to break camp. We headed up the canyon another 4 miles today to a staffed camp called Pueblano (little village) with a logger theme. Mr. O. treated the men to some early morning coffee which went well with the coolness of the morning. A quick breakfast and we were on the trail once again.
A foot care routine EVERY morning is essential when hiking long distances with a pack, or for any hiking for that matter. The boys were very good at paying attention to the feet. We used Hydropel, moleskins, and sometimes duck tape to minimize any chance of blisters. A good liner inside your synthetic wool sock is a must.
Zach was very proud of his brightly colored matching shirt and bandanna. Keep an eye on his lovely shirt as he travels through Philmont ; ) (Note the hand sanitizer and sunscreen on his belt….good job Zach).
It did not take us long to pull into Pueblano bright and early to find many crews heading out for the day. Pueblano was set in a beautiful valley where the era was 1907.
This is where we met our first real character….Crazy Gun! Crazy Gun was an extremely dynamic and funny character who in fact never broke character the entire time we were there, as did the other staffers as well. I knew that most staffed camps had young adults running the place but I did not expect such a show put on by some very dedicated and talented young men and women.
The boys listened intently to find out what Pueblano had to offer; Spar-pole climbing, logger ball, side trip to Wilson Mesa, and camp fire. Hugh, on the right, has the crew paperwork in hand for check in with Crazy Gun. The last thing Crazy Gun asked Hugh is if he would like an official Pueblano stamp on his paperwork. Hugh said “of course.” At which point Crazy Gun put the paper work on the dirty porch floor and stamped it with his boot, thus having his boot print permanently sealed on both sides. The boys got a kick out of that and watched as he repeated the process to other incoming crews.
Before the boys even set camp we side hiked another mile, up a steep climb, which leveled off into this beautiful mesa, Wilson Mesa, where we stopped and lunched.
Mt. Baldy looms and is beckoning us. Our plan was to summit in 2 days. The crew was getting excited at this majestic beast before us.
The Forgotten Sons
(Not really…the other boys were fortunate to have their fathers on the trip. Grant, Hugh, and Kevin were not able. There are only so many you can have on a crew. So the forgotten sons became a tongue in cheek joke to muster these three for repeated photo ops)
(Photo by Ranger Mike)
The Crew….still looking kind of clean!
We returned from the mesa and the boys set camp.
Drying laundry. To keep your pack light, you only have 2 shirts (one on your body, one in the pack) as well as two sets of socks and liners and two undies (maybe 3). So the more dedicated members did some sort of laundry each day. Some did not care what was clean and what wasn’t ; )
(Photo by Scott Olmsted)
The boys gathered to begin training for spar-pole climbing led by Crazy Gun….who once again was a real hoot and full of jokes.
(Photo by Scott Olmsted)
Crazy Gun teaching the boys how to NOT get splinters in your…….well……..
Danny gearing up to mount.
Crew Chief Hugh is playing the part of Donkey (belaying Kevin behind him). To ensure Donkey does his job, you must first pay the Donkey a compliment.
“Hey Donkey, your the nicest Ass I’ve ever met” – Joe
Grant getting busy on the spar-pole.
Once at the top you must give Miss Cara Biner a kiss, then strike your pose. This one was called the Titanic!
This is called the “Dad, look at me, I’m really glad I made it to the top” pose.
After the boys had dinner they (as well as every scout in camp) were engaged in Loggerball where the rules are slightly different than baseball depending on how the staffers feel. The boys loved the beard on this guy.
Just like yesteryear.
After Loggerball, I was beginning to think we were done. It had been a long day and I was getting tired. However, all scouts started to gather for campfire. We were told to wait until the staff was ready. We were then escorted out into a fantastic small meadow wedged in between two huge mountains with a campfire ring and small amphitheater seating. The boys immediately took the front row. As the Pueblano Staff gathered, it was quickly apparent that not only were they talented, early 18th century loggers, loggerball players, and wonderful with the kids, but each was a talented musician and singer and we were treated to a great performance of songs, jokes, skits, and such. As we sat, the darkness fell and the sky lit up above us like nothing I had ever seen before. The stars were brilliant. What a great way to kick off this epic hike.
Posing for the audience. “Get your cameras out.”
The Folk Singer pose.
Towards the end of campfire, Josh (foreground left) told a wonderful story of how his parents met at Philmont many years ago and how special Philmont was to him. Once again we were reminded how hard Philmont would be for us but that each would see it through. He was very inspirational. They closed campfire to encourage some scouts to go as they had a much longer walk….then proceeded to hang out as long as they had a crowd. Many great songs ensued including a ripping version of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire to include a chorus with dual trumpets. These guys really love their jobs! They continued to well after 10:00 PM.
(Zach’s brightly colored orange shirt is already taking a beating, and this is only day 2 on the trail. The grime is starting to take root on all of our clothes)
One of the best songs of the night was the infamous uTube favorite “Fridays”. The boys got a kick out of that one as well.
Journal Entry June 30th, 2011 10:30 PM
…..what a fabulous end to a fabulous day. We woke to a beautiful morning capped off with great coffee by Mr. O. Traveled 3-4 miles to this great little town called Pueblano. Pueblano rocked. The staff was incredible in their period wear and were great to the kids. We climbed spar-poles like loggers and played loggerball. The hike up to Wilson Mesa rewarded us with a great view of Mt. Baldy sitting there in the distance waiting for us. We came across our first burros today. Some crews elect to have burros along their route. I think our crew quickly decided that they were more trouble than fun. They can be slow and stubborn and a scout always has to be with them. And….they poop…a lot. We met a young lady, staff member, in camp tonight, MJ, that hails from Falls Church, VA (right next door to our hometown) and is a graduate of O’Connell High School. She was a pleasure to talk to and once again really loves her job at Philmont. You never know who you will meet out here. Everywhere we go people are kind and courteous in true scout fashion. Campfire was excellent beyond belief and very memorable…..
More to come; Day 3 Ewells Park.