If you have stumbled into this blog post from a search on Philmont, consider starting at my first post in this series HERE.
Breakfast of champions. Calories, calories, and more calories. Even if you don’t like it you should eat it. You’ll need it.
JOURNAL ENTRY, July 5th, 7:40 am
“Slow morning today due to having to prepare our only hot breakfast of the trip. Most all are cold which allows us to get up and hiking. You don’t want to get caught in the heat of the day. Best to get moving early. Our boys are still finding their rhythm. Its early in the trip. Program this morning is only 1.5 miles away. No need to rush anyway. We will move on from there another 6.5 miles to Horse Canyon after climbing up and over Hart’s Peak. Climbing out of this canyon will be our first real test. Liam is doing a good job at crew chief. There is much to learn. Its a fine line between trying to delegate to get things done while not sounding too authoritative or confrontational. After all these are your buddies. All our boys are pretty easy-going and have been very supportive. Lots of laughs on the trail. Liam will get better. They will all get better as a crew. Its really something to see! We will see what the day brings.”
This morning we couldn’t help notice the tag on Aidan’s pants. Seems he left is only pair of long paints (which he will need) back home. So at the last minute he bought a new pair at the Tooth of Time Traders. He planned to challenge himself to see if he could keep the tag on for the duration of the trip, and then perhaps try to return them afterwards. Just for kicks. This boy’s brain never stops thinking. He is funny.
Off an running on a beautiful morning. Feeling good.
It didn’t take us long to pull into the Indians Writing Program area where the boys decided to take part in spear chucking (Atl Atl) and a little tour of history.
Did I mention it was dry and hot in this valley. Most of Philmont North Country is the same with the occasional thunder shower.
A nice shot looking down the valley. This valley was rich in history with many archeological digs to be found.
The boys enjoyed trying to spear the variety of animals stationed about. The adults gave it a try as well. It was harder than it looked.
Aidan sporting his Elliot Gould (Ocean’s 11) sunglasses.
This is JJ. JJ is a history teacher, Scout Leader and Philmont staffer. He loves to talk history. He gave our crew and lengthy tour which included discussions on local authentic Indian writings and their possible interpretations, as well as lots of history on the inhabitants of the valley over several hundred years. He said they found so much stuff they could literally dig forever. He shared a story of some settlers who were squatting on the land and when asked to leave became engaged in a huge gun fight. Hundreds of shell casings lie near a dilapidated old cabin. He loved his job and loved to share what he knows.
An old circular sod house ruin. Many stories to tell in here.
We departed the program area and headed for our camp site, still several miles away. We climbed up out of Horse Canyon looking for the ridge line. Its was beautiful. I’m sure we are stopped here for a momentary water break or navigation check. Pictured above is Rod (I’ll carry anything) Brewster. He’s always happy/never grumpy. His pack was far heavier than mine. I’m sure he had a kitchen sink in there somewhere. Rod’s a Marine……as is John (retired). We were in good hands. Note that the clouds have rolled in which proved an absolute blessing. This climb would have been a scorcher in the sun that was out just a few hours earlier. We got lucky.
We have reached Hart’s Peak. Mt. Baldy lies way in the back like Mount Doom in Mordor. That is what the view reminded me of since it looks so far away yet we will be on its peak in a few more days. We wanted to make sure we took a crew shot with Will. After tonight’s campout and final training Will would bid us goodbye and “hike in” back to base camp. But we still had a few miles to go and the day was beginning to wear on us.
The beauty of hiking the ridgeline is that its fairly rolling with great views North and South. It was about this time I was feeling like “where is that darn camp?” Its easy to forget how hard Philmont can be. On this day on those memories of my first trip would start to come back.
No doubt it is very beautiful country and so peaceful to hike through. Just you, your pack, the sound of your heartbeat, and the laughter of the boys.
Pretty flower all alone up here. Will stopped and told us all about it. I remember nothing.
At last. After a brief moment of confusion in finding the fire ring/campsite, we are here and getting settled. Even on the toughest days all you need is a little food and rest and your good to go. Tonight’s meal….chilli mac. Just add water. MMmmmm good. Its all good when your as hungry as a bear.
I was feeling better too.
The reward after a busy day. This is Andy. Andy happens to be our Troop Scoutmaster as well as an Eagle Scout. Andy did not get the opportunity in his youth to go to Philmont so you might imagine he was very excited to be attending with his 15 year old son Nicholas. Andy had a tough start since catching a head cold just before leaving Base Camp. The cold lingered and I was impressed with his desire to keep on hiking. There were times he didn’t look or sound good. We would check on him regularly and happy every time he was able to rest. At one point he said to me “I didn’t wait half my life or prepare for a year to get to Philmont and quit.” He indeed stuck it out and the cold eventually subsided…..but not before hitting 2 more of us. Not that Andy gave it to us 😉 Note the shoes Andy is wearing. Its a great idea to take something lightweight you can put on your feet and let them breath after a long day. I missed the memo on the Kindle. Both John and Andy brought theirs and were never without something to read. A good idea….as long as you are willing to carry it.
Settling in for a well earned night of sleep.
Good night Baldy. See you soon.
JOURNAL ENTRY, 9:15pm
“The boys enjoyed another good day in Program. It was darn hot earlier but the day gave way to clouds just in time for the climb out of the canyon. While our navigator Daniel estimated the hike would be about 8 miles surely it was longer…or at least it seemed so. We were all a little wiped out by the time we pulled into camp. The boys wasted no time in setting up camp and cooking. Thomas (our cook) has been doing a great job keeping us fed. Nick keeps our water bottles full by constantly purifying what is available. Aidan our First Aider checks on our feet regularly. And Iggy often serenaded us all day. It was great to hear the boys laugh and carry on at dinner. Its like dinner and a show every night. John and Andy turned it early. Although tired, the night air has a tendency to rejuvenate. Will spent some time with the last of the training. He is really good with the boys. They listen intently. He is patient and calm. Most itineraries have 2 crews traveling the same path. So we have a sister crew that we see from time to time. They are a tad slower than us and seem to get into camp after dark each night. Ugh. Glad our boys are moving. They hike well. Tomorrow we are off to Dan Beard Camp then onto Rich Cabins tomorrow both of which have program. I expect it will be fun. It always is.”
Next up we are off to Dan Beard and Rich Cabins