Hike On {Part 6}

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.

Ponil

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.

Ponil

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.

Ponil Turnaround

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.

Cimarron, New Mexico

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.

Philmont Scout Ranch

I Want to Go Back to Philmont.

 

 

Hike On {Part 5}

Our 10th day on the trail was a doozy!  The morning was a delightful walk across open prairie of Ring Place leaving our feet nice and soaked for the next 14 miles of our Philmont experience.  We made our way to Seally Canyon by way of bushwhacking through a most challenging terrain.  There’s nothing like starting the morning by crossing a barbwire fence and making straight for the hills, okay mountains.  Talk about a wake up at 6am!  The rock face and the boulders we walked among were stunning.  When we reached the peak we had two choices: 1) go around and add 3-5 miles to our day’s total or 2) go down the rock face straight into Seally Canyon.  We were all about covering the distance in the shortest amount of time so rock face it was.

Early Morning Look

Early Morning Look

Crossing the Barbwire Fence

Crossing the Barbwire Fence

The tricky part about traversing a rock face?  Yucca plants, cacti, loose rock and no real trail.  But the view across the open expanse of mountains and valleys was a beautiful trade off for an early morning start.  There is really nothing more breathtaking as the wide open spaces of Philmont Scout Ranch.  We survived the tumbling of rocks and the occasional pricking of a yucca plant and made it into Seally Canyon in record time.  We were greeted by an amazing swap box and potable water.

View of Seally Canyon

View of Seally Canyon

Hiking into Seally Canyon

Hiking into Seally Canyon

Continue reading

Kansas Forever

Well we rolled into Kansas City last night at 10:30pm.  It’s 8 am local time and guess what…we’re still in Kansas. 

image

The train was FREEZING! Sleeping was intermittent for those of us without blankets or long pants.  We made it through the night but have yet to escape the clutches of Kansas.

image

Now that the train is warm and the view has been the same for hours we’re all catching up on some rest.  Had a little breakfast of muffins from ice cream containers and like champs ate pudding and brownies with Capri Suns.

image