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
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.
We were gently reminded of a very large time lapse concerning our Philmont escapades. Hopefully we’ll wrap it up in a couple of posts and move onto more recent adventures. So here it is, Part 4 of our time at Philmont Scout Ranch.
Just when we thought the hike to Iris Park was about to reach completion we realized we had a long ways to go. We leap frogged with our sister crew the whole way from Upper Greenwood to Iris Park. The valley walk was beautiful but the road stretching for miles was excruciating. We were on our eighth morning and everyone was feeling it after hiking for 5 hours. So to lift our spirits we sang more songs and ate plenty of snacks.
On our way to Iris Park
This lovely stretch of land belongs to Leave No Trace camping and boy could you tell. It was a beautiful landscape change from Upper Greenwood. We saw remnants of a widespread forest fire. The roaming cattle could be seen everywhere and the skies were a brilliant blue. No one wanted to say it but we were SUPER excited to be walking in dry weather. We were afraid to jinx ourselves but we enjoyed it while it lasted. Iris Park was a beautiful expanse of sparse Ponderosa Pines and open prairie grass.
Iris Park Sunset
The only problem with prairie grasses…restroom facilities. Leave No Trace camping means no Red Roof Inns which means finding a rock in a land full of grass can be tricky…we survived. We had to hike about a mile to retrieve water so we split into teams. We had a water gathering party and a set-up-camp and get-dinner-going party. Everything was not dry from the previous day’s deluge and we quickly spread out gear on any and every surface. The previous two days had taken its toll on our merry band with Amariah getting a fever and a start of a head cold and the boys burying themselves in their tents to catch some shuteye before dinner. Never did a warm meal and a sleeping bag feel more inviting.