How did we come to the day we leave the back country? Even though it’s taken all of this summer and fall and what seems to be the start of winter to bring the conclusion of our time at Philmont the actual 11 days went by in a flurry.
Tuesday morning we broke camp for the very last time on the trail. Jerry and Randy worked alongside the other adult leaders at Ponil to make a Chuck Wagon breakfast of pancakes and orange juice. Breakfast was a perfect way to end our meal times on the trail. Before leaving Ponil we rode horses throughout what was the original base camp of Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp. It was a lovely change of pace and a relief for the footsies. The canyon valley takes on a whole new beauty when atop a horse. We leisurely rode with about 30 other scouts for an hour and made our way back to the stables before walking the 10 minutes to the buses waiting to take us back to base camp.
Riding in the school bus on the way back to base camp and driving past the site where we first hit the trail brought a flood of memories. Only 11 days ago we crammed ourselves into a Red Roof Inn with 30 of our closest friends. Just 11 days ago we looked fresh and dust free. On July 12 we hiked the first four miles of our 97 miles. That Saturday our history together as a crew was just taking shape. Making our way off the bus on July 22 we were no longer the newbies. We were veterans. You could tell by the cakes of dirt on our legs and the sheen of our hair and the scruff on Jerry and Randy’s faces we had not just survived Philmont we had lived Philmont.
Over the next few hours we enjoyed a meal we did not have to prepare from dehydrated foods, we walked into air conditioned buildings, we unloaded our gear and crashed onto cots…cots! Going through the final steps of a “Home Bound” crew we managed to return all our gear, visit the trading post and most importantly SHOWER! Some of us threatened to take a shower and then don our trail clothes from the train ride home. The idea was quickly vetoed! Once we were all duded up we hopped the bus headed for Cimarron, New Mexico. Hitting up the local stores, stopping for ice cream and ordering fresh pizza was the perfect cap to a wonderful adventure.
There is a tradition at Philmont Scout Ranch when leaving Philmont property. It is said when you look over your shoulder at the Tooth of Time fading into the distance you are bound to return to this enchanting land. As we made our way to Raton every single head was turned to catch one last glimpse of the Tooth of Time in hopes to be able to return.
I Want to Go Back to Philmont.