A Philmont Adventure, Day 12 (part A), Tooth of Time & Return to Base Camp


If you have stumbled into this blog post from a search engine on Philmont, consider starting at my first post HERE.

Our last morning of the foot care routine.  Our feet have survived about 90 miles of trails by this point.  We have another 12 or 13 to go today.  The crew is extremely up beat and ready for the day.  We will head up to Shaefers Pass where many trails converge before heading east down the Tooth Ridge, climb the Tooth of Time, then continue with the long descent to Base Camp.

Tooth Ridge Trail

We have come from Black Mountain and are headed up to Shaefers.  Its a steep long grade which pays off quickly with gorgeous views.  The morning is cool and shaded by the ridge.


 On the road once again.

As we head into the convergence zone, the trails start to get a little sketchy.  No worries as Stephen remains on task.



We stop one more time for our last trail breakfast just below Shaefers Peak.  The entire crew is now grubby, nasty, filthy, dirty, and lovin’ it; life is good.  Its a beautiful day.


Its hard to explain just how cool the Tooth Ridge is.  As you crest the top you have sweeping views of all of Philmont to the north and south.  You can see for miles, and several miles of ridge to enjoy it.  Mr. Y stops for a breather to take it in.  I am looking south.


Hugh raises his arms in praise of the north country below him.


We arrive just below the Tooth of Time Peak to drop packs, pack up smellables, and raise bear bags one more time before ascending the peak.  There were some recently posted Bear Alerts as a bear had been seen ripping apart packs left behind while crews did the side hike.  We did not see one this day.  However, we had heard that no sooner had we raised bear bags and left, another crew had to gather to scare off a bear who came looking for an easy snack.


The climb to the Tooth of Time summit was no easy task and a bit exhausting after the early morning trek.  I am looking west back towards the way we just came.  The ridge travels 2-3 miles back.  Its rocky and at times very challenging to traverse; a Boy Scout playground.

The Forgotten Sons strike a pose one last time!

Crew 628-P7 on the Tooth of Time summit.  The reward at the summit is an unbelievable 360 degree view of the Philmont Scout Ranch; and epic way to end the trek…..

…..but we are not quite out of the woods yet.  Here is our destination in the distance; tent city and Base Camp.  As the crew relaxed at the top we imagined what it would be like to dawn a hang glider and sail in to camp.  It looked to be only about 3 miles as the crow flies.  Turns out the trail from Tooth of Time down the remaining Tooth Ridge was 7 miles of sweeping switchbacks, mostly unshaded, and hot.  But once you start down, and know your destination lies ahead, there is no stopping.  You just get in the groove and go!

The crew almost stepped on this 6-7 foot Western Hogback snake.  He was pretty!

The switchbacks tease you all the way down.  One minute you can see base camp it seems almost reachable…..

….then its out of site once again.


Victory!  What a feeling to make it to this point.  Hard to describe.  The crew was ecstatic and took several minutes to congratulate each member.  There are many a boy scout who would look upon a photo like this and dream of his day when he would cross this gate.  I feel very fortunate to have shared in this moment with such a fine crew.


Relaxing outside of Logistics near the courtyard after a long day off the mountain.  The boys now feel like true veterans of Philmont.  As we sat, we watched the incoming buses unload their cargo of fresh and clean scouts excited for the adventure that lay before them.  Our crew got a kick out of the stares of intrigue as the new recruits looked upon our filthy crew.  I especially liked the look on the adviser’s faces as they got a “whiff* when we walked by.  Very funny indeed.

 ~ This photo needs no explanation…..


 ……..and remember that brightly colored orange shirt Zach was so proud of on Day 1?  Well, he is still proud of it and wears it like a badge of honor.

Still more to come; Home Bound at Base Camp

The Adventure is almost over, click HERE


  • John R - September 2, 2011 - 9:54 PM


    An excellent journal, one of the best I had read. Enjoyed both the pictures and the commentary. Especially enjoyed seeing areas I have been. Almost didn’t recognize Shaefers Pass, usually the grass is green and thick. I think I read somewhere it was the dryest year since the 30’s. The feeling on the top of the Tooth of Time is amazing!

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