Philmont 2003 Trek Route 12


Date: Mon, 07 Jul 2003 08:35:02 -0500
From: jpsampson1
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.

Jill Sampson
Troop Committee
Troop 501 (Inver Grove Heights, MN)
Indianhead Council


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