Our adventure to Philmont began at 5:00 am on July 16 at the Greensboro airport. We left North Carolina at around 7 that morning in a plane and were back on the ground in Atlanta within the next hour. The crew had some time to eat lunch at the Atlanta Airport and our plane was off from Atlanta at around noon, heading to Albuquerque, New Mexico. When we arrived there we got our luggage and headed to our bus that would take us to our hotel for the night. We got to the hotel and put our stuff down and then we decide to get some lunch again, since it was only about 1 due to the time difference so we left and walked across the street to Freddies. After lunch we headed back to the hotel and hung out until dinner. Dinner was provided by the hotel and was served in a buffet style. We all headed to bed after dinner as we were still trying to get used to the two hour time change that from North Carolina to New Mexico.
We woke up bright and early the next morning, at 5:30 AM as we were getting ready to go to Philmont. We ate a quick breakfast in the hotel lobby and headed into the bus for a four hour journey to Philmont. When we arrived there we met our ranger Steven, who took us through the normal check in process. Our Scoutmaster, Mr. Wilson and I, got to go into logistics to go through our itinerary layout, and plot out our camping and program locations on the map. We then had a little bit of free time at base camp before dinner and go to check out the trading post at Philmont, “The Tooth of Time Traders”, where many, if on all of the crew members purchases Philmont belts, and a few other souvenirs. After that we attended a vespers service and opening campfire.
Our second day at Philmont began with a 6:30 AM breakfast, we had a bit of free time that day since our bus did not pick us up until 2 that afternoon, so we all got a chance to check out the snack bar and go back into the trading post once again. Steven went over some first aid basic training before we hit the trail, that afternoon. At 2 we all loaded into the bus along with our sister crew, from California, and headed to Rayado, our drop off point, about seven miles from base camp. At Rayado there was a huge storm coming in, so we decide to wait it out there since it was a staffed camp with activities going on. We got to do some metal working and got to take a tour of the fort there. Once the rain cleared up a bit we headed on the trail a little to our camp for that night at Olympia. When we got there Steven went over bear bag procedures and how to set up the campsite. He also showed us how to cook and clean for eight people using only two pots, after that we put up our ops bag on the bear cable and went to bed.
Written By: Sean
We woke up in our camp of Olympia and packed up for our hike to Aguila, but before that Steven our Ranger gave us a “poop talk” about where and where not to go when nature calls. After that we hiked to Zastrow for an orienteering course, our ranger came in first followed by Paul and Sean, then Chris and Will, then the adults and then last was Erik and Matt. After that we went to Abreu for some root beer and lunch. After we looked around we hiked on to our camping spot of Aguila where Steven finished teaching us how to be safe and successful in Philmont. After his talk we went out to look for water cause most of us were almost out. After an hour of looking we found it and we used tablets to purify the water so it would be safe to drink. After that Steven told us that we were ready and let us have a pound cake for the great job we did and for the road ahead, then we all went to sleep.
Our crew set off from Aguila to Miners Park for rock climbing. That morning our ranger Steven let us off on our own for the rest of our trek. Our hike that day was easy and not too hard. Once we got to Miners Park we signed up to rock climb in the afternoon and got some food for the next few days. At our time to climb we went to the main cabin to get ready only to find out that they canceled climbing due to storms in the area. Instead of climbing we all took a well-deserved shower in the newest showers at Philmont, and that was the best shower ever. After the shower we started cooking dinner and a few deer showed up, after dinner we got some well rested sleep before our 4am wakeup call from Sean to hike to the Tooth of Time.
Sean got us up at 4am to hike to the “Tooth”. After we set off we reached a camp with the intersection to go to the Tooth. On the way up we had a cat follow us for most of the way up. Once we got on the trail up to the top we had to wait because of an incoming storm so we ate lunch. When there was a break in the clouds we saw our chance to summit. The trail up to the top wasn’t a trail we basically climbed to the top where we saw an amazing view and didn’t want to get back down. Eventually we came back down and started our all downhill hike to Clarks Fork. At Clarks Fork we set up camp and some took showers and some of us washed clothing for the rest of the trek. Before long we ate dinner and got some rest for the next day.
That morning in Clarks Fork we went horseback riding, towards the end of the ride a lot of horses in the back got spooked and started running but after that everything was fine. After the ride we set off to aspen springs. On the way there we went to a self-guided tour of how logging works, and a hunting lodge. After the hunting lodge we hike up a mountain called window rock and it was a big surprise for us because we didn’t realize that we were going to see such a wonderful view that day. After admiring the view we hiked through hidden valley and to our camp, Aspen Springs to settle in for the night. After the sun went down there were clear skies and we could see almost ever star in the sky. Then we went to sleep for the next day.
Days 3-6 Written by Paul
We were woken up at Aspen Springs by Sean. We broke down camp and then ate breakfast we had to go to our service project in hidden valley. We helped build a trail, it was actually a lot of fun we got to use lots of fun tools as well. After that we hiked back to camp pick up our backpacks and headed out for Hawkeye camp. This camp was a dry camp so we had to pick up water at the nearest camp before it. That day was pretty uneventful but we all had fun on the trail with each other’s company. We made it to Visto Grande and filled up on water we had to use purification tablets. Then we hiked into our camp for the night, Hawkeye. We set up camp started cooking dinner and after did KP. We then did Thorns, Roses, and Buds for the day. Then we went to bed.
We tore down camp, ate, and then got straight on the trail, nothing out of the ordinary. We were on our way to our next camp (Head of dean) to do program which was a “challenge event” we had no idea what that was but it sounded like fun. It was a rather nice time on the trail just up until the last two miles. It started raining just a light drizzle but it was nice because that meant a shower. But about 15 minutes later it started pouring on us and the lighting was crazy so we had to stop on the highest place we had been all day and get in lightning position for a few minutes but we had to do that a couple times, now that doesn’t sound to hard but we’d been hiking all day, it was raining and we had to squat with 40 pound packs on, not to fun. We finally got to head of dean and couldn’t do our program because the mud and it was still raining. But at least we got to do it the next morning before we left camp we walked up this brutal hill to set up camp but it was worth it, the poo with a view of Baldy Mountain was the best one we’d had. There were two events we got to do before we hit the hay there was “story time” and “the sunset hike” so we split up and either stayed at camp, went to the story, or the sunset hike Will, Sean, and I went to the sunset hike and it hands down WAS THE BEST VIEW I have ever seen in my entire life it was just so amazing and I almost stayed at the camp. Right after I went down to the “story time” and that was really hype it was actually really funny. We all got back we did our thorns roses and buds and went straight to sleep excited about the next day.
Days 7-8 by Matthew
Day nine started with us waking up at camp Head of Dean on top of a hill with a spectacular view of Mt. Baldy. Once we packed up camp we brought our backpacks down to the main cabin where a staff member was waiting for us. Once we were all ready the staff member walked us to our first obstacle which consisted of a rope swing and two platforms which I’d say are about two feet long and wide. One was about a half a foot taller than the other. Three of us were told to put blind folds on. The goal was to get everyone from the lower platform to the taller one using the rope swing. The rules, at first, were simply to send each of us across one at a time without touching the ground, but you see the ranger that told us what to do was clever. Every time we asked a question about what we had to do he responded with “since you asked, yes/no.” This made things harder since we all asked questions such as, “do we all have to be on the platform at once?” –Matt, “if we touch the ground do we have to go back?” –Myself, “can we take off our blindfolds when we get across?” or the killer, “do we have to go back to the other platform?” –Erik. Once we were ready, we went over to our second, and final obstacle which was a wall about ten feet tall with a platform on the backside of it. We had to get everyone in the crew up and over the wall and on to the platform. Erik, forgetting about the whole “since you asked yes” thing, asked if any of us needed to be blindfolded. Of course the ranger replied with “since you asked yes you do” and Erik had to be blindfolded. Since Erik was blind and unable to catch people if they fell, we sent him up first. We figured Matt was the tallest and could run some length of the wall by himself so he would be last. Eventually, we got everyone over with no issues. We took a picture of everyone on top of the wall then left to go get our packs. Our next destination was Miranda, which was a staffed camp about a quarter mile long around this beautiful valley. Rather than passing through we shot black powder rifles. It was raining pretty bad right as we started eating lunch so we had to set up the dinning fly to keep us dry. Once we were done eating the rain at slowed down to a very light drizzle. The rain had lowered the temperature a lot so we all had to grab jackets and pants, except for Sean of course. We learned how to load, shoot, and the name of a fifty caliber black powder rifle. Loading was a simple process of putting powder, wading, and the bullet in the gun. Shooting it was as simple as one would think except there was a trigger that made the regular one extra sensitive, we were not supposed to touch that one. They called it, “THE BIG FIFTY!!!” and the thing about saying “THE BIG FIFTY!!!” is that you have to echo “THE BIG FIFTY!!!” every time someone says, “THE BIG FIFTY!!!” We all shot three times and then went back to check if our packs were still dry. We all packed up and hiked on to the next destination, Ute Meadows. It wasn’t very far which was nice I guess. It didn’t stop threating to rain until around dinner time so we all set up our tents rather quickly. Once we had eaten dinner we did thorns, roses, and buds, then went to bed. Going to sleep was easy because we all set up our tents next to a stream.
The next day we woke up at four-thirty so we could get an early start at Mt. Baldy, the highest peak in Philmont. This hike was unique because we day-packed our way up there and came back around rather than backpacking all the way up there. We ate on the trail so we could get up there quicker. The first camp we passed through was Baldy Town to refill on water. It was a staffed camp which, a long time ago, was an actual town. Our journey up Mt. Baldy had to be the steepest trail any of us had ever hiked. As we went up the air got thinner too, so we all were running out of breath quicker. Gosh was it worth it though, the first view was on this grass covered hill and it was spectacular. It was overlooking a small city in Colorado, next to a large lake and even more mountain ranges. Once we had all admired the view and took our pictures, we continued on. I nearly passed out while trying to see how far I could run up the hill before I had to catch my breath. But the top was in sight and we weren’t going to stop yet. We waited for everyone about two paces from the top so that we could finish it as a crew. Once we were all there we lined up side by side and walked up at the same time and just gasped. The view was truly the best any of us had seen. The air was so clear you could see for what seemed like forever. We took a crew picture on the south side of the summit where we could once again see the view over Colorado. We stayed for a while, still soaking in the view, then went back down the mountain to head to camp French Henry for a tour of the mine that was there. The trail there was mostly downhill and as we got closer to French Henry we started to follow next to a beautiful stream that apparently has gold flowing in it. We had the opportunity to go gold panning but we chose the mine because it was cooler. After the porch talk, we relaxed on the porch for a little bit. We got up to the mine and found that no one was there so we just waited. Finally people start to come out. It was a little disconcerting because they were all running and came out in groups. Once they were all out the ranger told us all to grab helmets and follow him inside. We and a few other crews grabbed helmets and walked in after him. The mine was at varying heights so people hit their head all the time, which is fun to watch. The whole experience was intended to be fun/frightening so whenever the ranger got the opportunity to, he smacked something with a hammer that made a lot of noise. Every so often he would tell us things about the mine but it was mainly geared toward scaring us. Once we got to the end of the mine he told us a story of the mine collapsing on a child and that his ghost haunts mine. Once he was done he told all of the crews to turn off their lights and make a conga line. The ranger continued to smack things with his hammer on the way out screaming whilst doing so. I was mainly concerned about tripping rather than him since we were walking without lights. Once we were back out, we put up our helmets and went back to Baldy Town to pick up food. This means we all get to have what we get at every food pick-up; chocolate milk, and an orange, peach or apple. Refreshing compared to the dehydrated food and protein bars that we usually ate. We stayed a while to finish eating our fruit and chocolate milk, then hiked on back to Ute Meadows, once again saying goodbye to Mt. Baldy. Once we finished dinner we said our thorns roses and buds and went to bed. We all fell asleep that night once again to the rushing water beside us.
Days 9-10 by Chris
We woke up in Ute Meadows and took down camp and ate breakfast. We hiked back to Miranda to pick up the burro. After the loading up the burro we started our hike for the day. We stopped in Pueblano for lunch and it started to rain while we had the porch talk, but everyone stayed dry but Erik who held the burro in the rain. We got back on the trail when the rain stopped. We had some trouble with the burro when we passed a coral but we got him moving again. A little bit later we got to Flume Canyon where we stayed for the night. We all hung the bear ropes (which got stuck in a tree, but we got it down), ate dinner, and Matt did the burro voice, then we did our thorns, roses, and buds, and went to bed.
We woke up and Flume Canyon and took down camp and ate breakfast. We loaded up the burro and because it was our last day we hiked to Ponil with our sister crew. We got to Ponil really early so we had our porch talk, dropped off the burro, then we just hung out until our bus came. When we got back to base camp we dropped off the crew gear and put our stuff in our tents. We got to hang out for a little bit then we went to eat dinner. After that we went to closing camp fire which was really fun. That night we all got to our campsite and we filled out some forms and got our patches. After that we went to bed.
Days 11-12 by Will
Day 0 Again
We woke at basecamp at 4:40 so we could get to the continental breakfast at 5:30. We ate some delicious cereal and muffins. We went back to our tents and packed up our gear. We went to the check-in/check-out pavilion and dropped our packs off. Then we hung out until our bus arrived at 7:30. We rode the bus for about 3 1/2 hours to the Albuquerque Airport. We found our gate then went to get some food before our flight. We boarded the plane and flew towards Atlanta. We landed in Atlanta found our gate and then many of us went to go get more food. We boarded again after our 3 hour layover and flew to Greensboro. We got off the plane walked through the terminal and saw our families waiting and cheering us on. They all welcomed us even with a poster. We went to baggage claim said our thank you to the Crew Advisors and said our goodbyes.
Day 0 again written by Erik
Article edited by Erik