Philmont 2003 Trek Route 12
Date: Mon, 07 Jul 2003 08:35:02 -0500
Subject: Re: [Philmont]: Trek 12
We came off of Trek 12 on June 24th -- it was great! The staff at all of
the staffed camps were very friendly -- we didn't have any negative
experiences. Highlights for me included the blacksmith at Black Mountain
Canyon, and Mary at Cypher's Mine. At BMC, their burros ran away so they
had to climb out of camp (a long way) and bring coal down in their
backpacks for the forge. Two of our boys volunteered to go get coal for
them, so Beaubien (the blacksmith, yes, he claims that's his real name --
his dad always loved Philmont) let the boys make some things to keep. He
worked with them on his own time and they loved it! Black Powder Rifle
shooting was also a hit. We also had a great time at Cypher's Mine. We
stayed at Lampert's Mine and took a side hike to Cypher's. They were
short-staffed as two staff members had to go out on a medical emergency.
Mary was having to take care of things alone -- check troops in, show them
to their campsites, sign them up for programs, demonstrate panning for
gold, etc. etc. not to mention she was responsible for cooking that night.
Two of us didn't take the mine tour, and as it was about 40 degrees and
raining, we were waiting on the porch for the rest of the crew to get back.
She invited us in to the cabin and offered us hot chocolate and coffee. She
was scrambling trying to get dinner together, and when we offered to help
she took us up on it. The other advisor cut up vegetables while I cooked
the stir-fry. She thought WE were wonderful for helping her out, and I was
absolutely thrilled to be standing by the nice warm woodstove! She thanked
our whole crew by giving them snack-pac pudding and freshly sliced cheese.
What a treat! So, if you see Mary at Cypher's, tell her the lady that
cooked the stir-fry in June says "HI!" It was a highlight of my day :-)
Overall the scenery was wonderful, but we had a lot of rain the first 7
days, so I didn't get to see the famous sunrises and sunsets -- that was
the only disappointing thing. However, the rain made for cooler
temperatures and hiking was more comfortable in that respect. Toward the
end of our trip, we heard there were fires in New Mexico and surrounding
areas, and when we were at higher elevations, we did notice smoke clouding
the lower elevations. It wasn't as clear for pictures, but to me, just
added to the experience.
As for the toughest hiking days, day 3 out of the Crags and up to Lost
Cabin was a lot of uphill and rugged trail. Day 7 was a lot of uphill too,
especially getting up to Comanche. We were looking forward to a break at
the top and the mosquitos were so bad up there we didn't stay as long as
we'd planned. It was cool and rainy, but it made hiking easier than if it
had been super hot. The last day we hiked from Schaffer's Pass, over the
Tooth and back into base camp. It's uphill getting to the base of the
Tooth, and the trail is rugged and rocky. Some crews headed out in the dark
to watch the sunrise, but I'm glad we didn't attempt that. It's a tough
trail to navigate when it's light out! When we got to the base, we dropped
our packs and rock-scrambled to the top. I was the chicken in the group,
but am glad I did it. After a lot of pictures we headed back down, picked
up out packs and headed down to base camp. It took us a little less than 3
hours. It is all downhill, but it was very hot and feet and knees take a
pounding. We made it though!
All in all, 12 is a great trek and we all enjoyed it.
Troop 501 (Inver Grove Heights, MN)
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