Philmont Autumn Adventure 1998

by Calvin H. Gray

Here is a report on our recently completed Autumn Adventure, the only Philmont program in which an "all adult" crew may participate.

Our nine person crew departed Georgetown (725 miles from Philmont) in three vehicles at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26. Our first stop was at 8 p.m. in Coleman, Texas, at a steak house we've visited before. Then on to Cimarron with a couple of stops for gas and snacks. One of our vehicles hit a deer when we got to New Mexico but there wasn't enough damage to require a repair stop as the deer ran into the door on the driver's side of the truck. We arrived at the Kit Carson Inn Restaurant in Cimarron at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, just in time for breakfast. Then on to Philmont, arriving just before 8 a.m.

We met our two guides, had our medical re-checks, picked up food, filled our water bottles, visited the trading post and headed for Abreu where we camped on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

On Monday, we hiked to the Zastrow camp where we ate lunch. Zastrow is the national Wood Badge training center and was where three members of our crew attended Wood Badge during the first week of August. The camp really looked sad and deserted. The Zastrow apples were red and ripe so we enjoyed several with lunch and even took a few back to Abreu. Gilwell Hall was locked but we were able to open the windows and see that the Patrol Flags had been removed. One crew member climbed through a window and found our service patrol shovel and we took photos with it before returning it to the building. We saw several deer, probably the same ones we kept seeing in August.

After returning to Abreu, several crew members fished quite a bit and even caught a few which we enjoyed with our trail supper of macaroni & cheese on Monday night.

On Tuesday, our main activity was a hike to the top of Urraca Mesa. This was a 6-mile hike and very strenuous. Right after we reached the top, a strorm came up and the guides made us depart due to the lightning. We returned to Abreu and started supper. It began raining so we moved the cooking under the dining fly. After a few minutes, a hail storm moved in and we discovered that 11 people will not fit under a dining fly. After eating, we moved to our tents as the rain continued. This was around 7 p.m. It rained all night but had cleared by Wednesday morning.

We packed up and went by Philmont HQ, filled all our water containers (to avoid drinking water purified by Polar Pure) and went to a hamburger place in Cimarron for lunch. Then to Miranda, a camp in Philmont's north country near Baldy. We saw a bear as he ran across the road in front of the truck as we were nearing Miranda. This was the first bear I've seen in five visits to Philmont.

We set up our tents and moved our stoves, food and other equipment into a nice cabin which had been completed this past summer. We explored the area around Miranda which is really beautiful in the fall with the trees beginning to change color.

As it turned out, we made a wise decision in moving our cooking operations into the cabin as a thick fog bank rolled in on Thursday morning with rain on and off throughout the day. We wound up spending most of Thursday in the cabin.

Things picked up during the afternoon as we had another hail storm, and a very wet crew from Mississippi arrived. After the weather began to improve, one of our guys, along with our two guides and the guide for the Mississippi crew, hiked to Ute Meadows to view a hail covered Baldy. Most of us stayed up relatively late on Thursday night (9 p.m.) watching the Mississippi crew play cards, a game called "B.S." which our Scouts play during montly camping trips. Visiting with the Mississippi crew was especially nice for my wife and myself as we are natives of that state.

The sky cleared completely during the night and we woke up to a beautiful morning on Friday. It was 38 degrees but most of us slept better that night than any other as it was finally cold enough for a sleeping bag. After eating breakfast, we packed up and drove back to the Philmont HQ, stopping to take several photos of a hail (or snow) covered Baldy along the way.

After arriving at base camp, we hit the showers for the first time during the week. It certainly was nice to enjoy a warm shower as the water had been cut off for the winter at both Abreu and Miranda.

Several crew members toured the Villa Philmonte. Then, we headed to Simple Simon's Pizza in Cimarron for lunch. After filling up on Pizza, we visited the Cimarron Art Gallery and several other stores. Next, we returned to Philmont for a visit to the Museum & Library which had been closed when we stopped by earlier.

We departed Philmont at 2:30 p.m., drove to Amarillo where we ate supper at Burger King. Then, on toward home arriving in Georgetown at 5 a.m. on Saturday morning.

All in all, a nice trip that we plan to repeat next fall. We "lost" one day to the weather but still had a great time.

Calvin H. Gray
Scoutmaster, Troop 405
Georgetown, Texas
I used to be an Owl (WM-62-2-98 @ Philmont)

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