Henry Coe State Park, April 2-3
Big Basin May 20-22
Rancho San Antonio June 4
Santa Fe and Taos
Day one at Philmont
Day two at Dean Cow Cutoff
Day three at Rich Cabins
Day four at Upper Greenwood Canyon
Day five at Ewells Park
Day six Mt Baldy
Day seven at Upper Dean Cow
Day eight at Dean Cow
Day nine at Harlan
Day ten at Ute Springs
Day eleven at Clarks Fork
Day twelve hike out via Tooth Ridge
Day thirteen return home
The afternoon was spent going 2.5 miles and 100+ feet up to camp. Lanny Forest had cramps (theigh, ankle) so it was slow. Camp was beautiful, we picked #8 at the high point of the ridge. Dinner was Mountain House freeze dried, and our multicourse meal was: Beef Strogonof, BlackBeans and Rice, Mashed Potatoes, 3-Berry Cobbler. Before dinner we made a water run to the Bass pond. It was yellow, but filtered! Kaydeden was fast, but left colored water. [0.3 micron filter.] MSR was slow, but yielded clear water. [0.2 micron filter.] Bother were clean with no smell, and I drank both.
The day had been overcast, and the night became cool and windy. It got into the 40's or lower at night, and there we reports of ice on tents and packs in the morning. It was calm and sunny Sunday AM. Explored a bit and found Rabbit Spring past camp #10. We hiked out and got to Headquarters at 10:30. 12 miles, 5 hours "moving " time, 2.4 mph moving average.
Saturday May 21. Late start after paying fees. Sunset trail to Sunset Camp after tour of big trees at HQ. Leave after 10:00 arrive by 1:00. 6 miles. "Side hike" affter lunch. 2:20 to 5:45 and another 5+ miles past falls trail. Berry Falls, Golden Cascade, Silver Falls. Times Creek Trail. Sunset loop back.
Adults did OK! Yogesh Gubbi, Lanny Forest, Bill Gasgoyne, Mike Maciag, Dan Burns, Brent Welch.
Camp was crowded with Mom's and young girl scouts. Lots of Big Trees. Wind at night. Racoon raid at lunch got into my gorp. Whisperlight is awesome. Mountain House Beef Stroganough and Blueberry Cheesecake. Slept hard after 11+ miles.
May 22 up at 7:00 take Sunset trail back. Fast pace w/ kids. Adults slower (not me and Dan!) but OK. Cars by noon and another 5+ miles. T-21 went all the way to the sea and back in the same time.
Forgot cup and Toilet Paper. Bought hydration pack and used on Sunday. Saturday we filtered water for 25min.
Practice hike at Rancho San Antonio. Just me and Daniel Welch. Rain!! 9.5 miles up the PG&E trail, down Upper meadow. Saw either coyote or bobcat, but no prints even though it crossed the muddy fireroad ahead of us. Lot's of wind and weather pushed us around on the trails. 3 hrs 15 min walking, 25 min idle (including lunch). Dan got an MSR hydration pack like mine.
Friday June 10. 4:40 flight OAK to ABQ. Stay in La Fonda at Santa Fe in two rooms with Dan and Mike in the other room.
Saturday June 11. Meet Jasper (my father) for breakfast at the French Cafe. Lunch, hot dogs at Dad's place. Head to the plaza in the afternoon for a kick. Back for dinner at Harry's Road House. Mike eats a 10oz steak. Nice Margarita's and pie. The boys stay @ Dad's, Jody and I go back to La Fonda. Do some night kicking at the plaza.
Sunday June 12 Going horseback riding. Mike tossed up the steak overnight. Nice midday ride south of Santa Fe. Back to the hotel leaving boys in the room while Jody and I have a great kick in the plaza. She is also shopping for a belt buckle. Back to dinner at Jasper's w/ BBQ Steak, great cornbread.
Monday June 13 driving to Taos. BBQ chicken for dinner. Boys and cousins play while Jody and I visit the plaza. Dinner at Antonio's, great mexican food.
Tuesday June 14 hike to Williams Lake, near Taos Ski Basin. 2 miles and 1,000 feet up, so 4 miles round trip at around 10,000 ft. Bjorkmans continue up to Wheeler Peak, which is another "mile" and 2,000 ft up to New Mexico's highest peak. We chill in the afternoon w/ a little more kicking while we await their return. A young couple watches us kick and later buys a footbag @ Chris' shop. (Lauren and Pele's friends Chris and Elena run the Mud and Flood sports shop in Taos.) We visit the Mud and Flood and then have buritto's at Lauren and Pele's with Chris (Elena is out of town). They had some adventures on their climb up Wheeler, including a Marmot Attack on young Leif who had gone ahead of the group carrying Oreo's in his pockets! I purchased a small plastic bottle at Mud and Flood and put together a spice jar of fresh garlic powder (from Chris), and Chimayo chilli powder, and a little spice pack from a store on the plaza.
|June 15. Drive from Taos to Philmont in the big black rental car. Pretty drive. Arrive shortly before the troop arrives on Blue Sky bus. Lot's of hanging out while we do paper work, get group gear and 1 day of food. Our crew is "615-P1". The other trek (615-P2) has a 5-day food supply! Our ranger is Grizzy (no 'l') from Detroit - plenty of tatoos. Davis was feeling poorly at lunch, but after hydrating he perked up. Evening fire program was only OK as they were still learning their lines. I went to the 7pm Church service looking out over the meadow, where I saw deer. Very nice. Advisor's meeting at 7:PM. 23,000 scouts in 2011 will visit. 5,000/day when the pipeline of treks is full. Sign out with times @ the staffed camps so they can track you. 223,000 acres, including 84,000 acres outside Philmont proper they have agreements to use (Ted Turner land, for example). Listen to the whipers so you don't have to hear the shouts. (A reference to the Thorns, Roses, and Buds chat at the end of each evening, which we did.)|
|June 16 up before 6AM. Eggs Bacon and Potatoes at the base camp dining hall - yum. 10AM bus to Poblano turn-around. Grizzy did his best to entertain us, and claims he saw a bear from the bus, but we didn't see it. Large group of horses at the turn around, and we get some basic training on reading a map, the Red Roof (i.e., latrine) and first aid. (Grizzy had a long checklist of first-aid and emergency preparations that he talked through with us.) Hot two mile hike to Dean Cow Cutoff. Learn about Bear Bag and the rain fly. Hike back 1 mile to Poblano Cantina for a rootbeer and playing cards. Mail a post card to Jody and work. Carry water, 5 gal and 8 liter back to camp. Chilli Mac for dinner. Played Mafia at bedtime. (A simple roll-playing/guessing game we enjoyed.)|
|June 17. 10.7 miles (12.7 total). 7718 ft at Rich Cabins. 4 hours 20 min moving time. 8 hours total including Poblano water stop and long lunch on Wilson Mesa where we took our Wilderness Pledge. The hike up to Wilson Mesa had been tough. We first took a wrong trail out of Poblano, which added 1.5 miles by the time we back tracked to the trail up Wilson Mesa. Arrived at Poblano at 9:50, but it was 11:30 before we were on track. The midday heat and elevation gain was hard for some crew members. Lunch 12:30-1:30, and we met our sister crew (615-Q1) that was also on Itinerary #27. Rich Cabins by 3:30. Plenty of fire damage on Wilson Mesa as we make our way to the Greenwood Meadow canyon. At Rich cabins, a nice cabin tour had me fooled by the character actors playing the Rich Brothers. The farm there has a Donkey, pigs, chickens, a cow and calf, and some sheep. Hanging out at the farm was a lot more fun than I had expected.|
|June 18. Food pickup in the morning. Say Goodbye to Grizz, who we all loved by this time. Leave around 8:05 @ 13.0 total milage. Arrive at 3:00 @ 21.21 total (8.2 miles today) 9191 elevation at camp, which is an old mining area. Beautiful vally to hike up today. Played Contact word game on the way up. Brandon had a hard time so we off loaded some of his gear. Took a 1 hour lunch, plus another 30 min to filter water. Felt great. Other crew passed us toward end of lunch. We passed back as they were filtering. We pushed past Upper Greenwod, and after scouting with Andrew and Davis found a great spot shortly (1/4 mile) before the trail cuts up from the creek. Spagetti with Chilli powder. Filtered water and washed socks by the stream. Set up a bear bag with Davis. More Mafia at night.|
June 19. Up at 5:15. Other group passes us at 6:50 as we are
about to put on our packs. Linger and leave @7:05.
Last minute water filter.
5:30 pm arrival at 30.72 total. 9400 elevation. 9.5 miles today.
Hike up was pretty and eventually we had Mr Burns set pace.
At some point we passed the sister crew taking a "pack-off break",
which we deferred until we made it to the top of the pass.
I carried Brandon's water and he did OK.
A sprint to the saddle @11,400 ft was rough on Brandon, but it was impressive to see him push to the top!
1 hour lunch. Some of us ate raw granola for breakfast -
Eric had to toss it up on the ascent, which was about 4.5 miles.
I had crumbs everywhere.
Kicked a couple with TJ at lunch, but only a couple at that elevation.
Nice switchbacks down,
either 16 or 18, I lost count.
Copper Park was pretty (We heard later it was dry.)
The hike down to French Henry was rough. Oh, Topped out at a few minutes to 11:00 at the pass. At French Henry by 2:15. 2:30 BlackSmith Forge where the guys made a hook. 3:15 at Aztec Mine. Adults not thrilled to walk back up to the Mine entrance. OK Mine tour with walk out in the dark, hunched over to save head bonks (we had helmuts). Snacks improved disposition but I was feeling marginal. Took the short route to Ewells ("You-Elles") Park. Found the spring in dis-repair. TJ worked out a scheme to collect water into the 5-gal jug we had named the Polar Bear. (The 8-liter MSR pack was the Penguin.) Late dinner of pasta with fake chicken wings (flavored bread stick crumbs we got with various flavors over the coming days.)
Travis and others from the sister 615-Q1 crew want to join us on the Baldy hike the next day because only a few of them want to go. Travis has worked out a good itinerary from Baldy Town back over to Copper Park and up the switchbacks.
June 20 (30.72 start)
Windy night with trace of rain.
Had to put on the tent fly @ 1:00 AM.
Much wind and I didn't sleep very well.
Sleep in to 5:50, left by 7:00.
The other crew has an adult, Duane Pandorf and
his son, an 18-year old "adult" Big Will and his friend "Brando" Brandon.
Travis and his brother Brian, and another Will. 7 total from that crew.
Baldy is socked in. We linger at Baldy Town until 9:00. Walk to Copper Park. Pretty steep coming right out of Baldy Town, then it traverses to Copper Park. It was Snowing and cold. Take the switch backs up to the pass we had come over the previous day. We encounter some crews descending after either making it and having almost zero visibility, or turning back after waiting for a long time for the weather to lift.
After lunch at the 11,400 foot pass, the weather appears to be lifting, but things are unsure. The original crew of 17 drops to 12 as 5 decide to return: Mr Pandorf and his son, and our Brandon, Eric, and Davis.
We leave for the top at 12:45. Steep at first (I regretted my comment to try and move faster because of the weather.) Beautiful ridge hike at 12,000 feet for 1.5 miles, then short ascent to the summit by 2:15. Estimate 8 miles from Ewells Park. Weather has cleared a lot, but there is still a relatively low cloud cieling. I can see mountains of Taos and as far away into Colorado, and no thunderhead activity at all, so I'm comfortable. It is cold and windy. Leave by 2:35 taking the direct, South trail to Baldy Town by 5:00. Meet Brandon, Davis, Eric coming to get food at the Baldy Town Commisary. 43.56 cumulative miles. 13.5 miles today. (Brandon, Davis, Eric do about 15.5 miles counting their round trip to the pass (12.5) and 3 miles round trip from Ewells Park to Baldy Town for food. 6:45 to camp after delays by Will and Brando taking field poops w/out enough paper. (They had just been at Baldy Town with paper and latrines.) Stove top turkey. Flushed a grouse as I walked over the meadow. It had 3 chicks so it didn't fly away. Several guys kicked footbag at the end of the day: Davis, Dan Burns, Eric.
Sleep in to 7:30.
Pack 4 days of food, leave by 9:25.
4 miiles to Head of Dean by 11:25.
Crossed the fire break a few times.
49.87 total, 6 miles today.
8335 ft at Upper Dean Cow.
We kill time playing black jack while we wait for our 1:30
time slot for the program.
See burros at Head of Dean,
glad we don't have one!
Team building at Head of Dean. Our team did very well. 9 people on small square pad w/ 4 points of contact. Hula Hoop chain. Tire lift up tall pole with Spencer standing on my shoulders and Andrew standing on TJ. 12 foot wall. Last move TJ jumps up to grab my arm.
Left Head of Dean 4:35, arrive 5:45, scout sites. Down hill to Upper Dean Cow and see plenty of deer. Feel beat. Have a great site away from all the other groups. All the boys are kicking footbag after dinner.
|June 22. 7:50 start at 50.00 miles, 10:50 arrive Dean Cow at 56.73, 7200 ft. 6.7 miles today. Sign up for 1:30 rock climbing. Lunch then a long wait w/ plenty of footbag. Some boys showered while others finally go up @ 4:00 or so. Shower was most excellent! Long dinner to cook macaroni. Camp site is cramped. Off to program @7:20. Climbing wall and more footbag. Tighten up camp because a bear has been visiting.|
Start at 57.03. Up at 5:15. Make folks pack up before eating.
No bear last night.
Leave camp at 6:50, then water up at camp HQ.
Hit the trail at 7:20 for 9 hot miles to Harlan.
Tough uphill to start - hot at 8:AM!
Nice break after descending into Turkey Creek canyon.
Hot easy climb to Harlan, but wrong turns takes us the
long way into camp. Odometer says 66.64, but we lost
about .5 miles when I put it into my pocket and it lost
tracking. 7555 ft. 10 miles today.
The crew got a little frayed by the long end game getting to camp. We relaxed and skipped the Burro racing, although we did get our chance to shoot shotgun at the end of the day. Nice views from the range and it was great they made time for us. Reloading shotgun shells was part of it, and fun too. At dinner the Whisperlights decided to go to a simmer mode, so it took forever to heat things up. After cooking TJ took apart a couple of the stoves and eventually we found a combination of pump and element that worked well.
June 24. Arrive Ute Springs 2:20 at 74.73 total. 8 miles today.
7721 ft elevation.
Wake up at 5:15, left camp at 6:40 headed to service project.
Get to Deer Lake Camp at 7:30, but
tool cache is another 1.5 miles further.
Arrive 8:05 - "too late" for service project.
They've already given the saftey talk to another crew that had arrived on time.
Continue across the mesa on a nice trail under construction.
Easy breakfast in the woods, then antoher break near Ute Pass.
Then Troop 31 Reunion on the trail! just a mile from Ute Gulch Commisary we encounter the other half of Troop-31 that is going to be reversing our path to travel from Sawmill to Vaca. Sawmill is not far from Ute Gulch Commisary, and Vaca is next to Harlan (and partly why we made a wrong turn near Harlan). We hadn't realized that this would happen, so imagine our surprise!
We went on to Ute Gulch and had a long lunch while we picked up food. The Ute Springs trail camp was nice, and we got a spot near the spring, which was down by the stream bed with a nice, large catch basin. There was footbag and water filtering, and mexican burritos for dinner. More mafia and the end of the day.
I took a short side hike up to get better cell coverage and make a call to Jody. It is our wedding anniversary (June 24, 1988). I explore this trail and one other (Grouse Canyon) toward Cimmaroncito, and I encounter several groups of scouts and adults making the trek from Cimmaroncito to Ute Gulch Commisary for food pickup.
June 25 Leave at 74.74 8:05 AM. Arrive at 79.48 at 4:25pm, just
short of 5 miles. 7548 ft elevation.
Easy hike through Grouse Canyon to Cimmaroncito, which is
an old Base Camp so it has electricity. They have a climbing gym
and real shoes and rock music, which we enjoyed while we waited for our 10:30
service project assignment. They have a major mini-bear problem
so we hung a bear bag with all our food, but
not have at least one pack gets raided.
Service project is filling burlap with wood chips and carrying these "logs" 1/4 mile to where they are needed. We are un-building an old trail through the middle of Cimarroncito meadow. (Later we hike out toward Clark's Fork on the newer trail that is tucked into the side of the hill.) I take a quick shower while folks try the outdoor climbing wall. Short easy hike to Clark's Fork just in time for Chuck Wagon Dinner. There is a pretty good campfire program with song, and TJ tells his scary story of evil water maidens. That night we sleep out without tents to save time in the morning. In spite of the reports of a juvinile mountain lion roaming camp, we are unmolested.
We do sleep all in one large group with adults on the ends. I sleep with a small pile of rocks and sticks nearby, and I'm pretty sure I heard the cry of the juvinile cat sometime during the night, but off in the distance. At one point the sound of my heartbeat in my ears in the sleeping bag sounds just like the pad of feet through the forest, but either I missed it (did I say I was a light sleeper?) or the cat was nowhere near us that night.
June 26 79.82 miles at 7546 ft to start. Up about 4:15 and ready
to leave by 5:20, but for a last minute visit to the Red Roof and
we leave by 5:40. By 8:00 we are at the top of Shaffer's Peak, and we
have breakfast on the peak. I set the pace at about 1.8 mph and we
saved the "pack off" break until we got to the top (about 3.5 miles).
After another 20 minutes to get off the peak and top off water,
we are ready to go at 8:50. I've carried about 2 extra gallons in the Polar Bear,
a 5 gal plastic jug that leaks.
It is in a gargage bag, but I've felt it
dripping on the hike up, where we
passed up 3 crews taking breaks. We empty
the polar bear into our hydration packs
and go 2+ miles along Tooth Ridge toward the
Tooth of Time.
It is a rough "trail" and slow going, especially when we catch up to another crew.
We finally hit the pack off spot and start up the Tooth at 11:00.
(2 hours to go the two-plus miles from Shafer's Peak to the base of Tooth of Time.)
All but Brandon go up to the Tooth.
It is a fun scramble up on mostly rock.
Mr Burns declares "This was a terrible mistake" upon his arrival, but we all enjoy the view and he finds
an easier way down.
(His knee has been bothering him since the Baldy desent.)
He has a dry sense of humor that made me laugh often.
We lunch at the packs and I have a scenic poop with a view,
then we leave about 12:45.
We have 6 miles and about 2,000 feet to descend to base camp. The rocks are still interesting at the top. Many views of base camp keep us going, but the last 3 miles are demanding as everone's feet hurt. The scouts want to go fast, while TJ and Mr Burns need to go slow. There is near mutiny as we go through the "We All Made It' sign and need to stop for a picture. We make it to the Welcome Center about 3:40 (10 hours from departure) and Brandon and I start final paeper work to check out: Registration to pick up security envelope and get precious ArrowHead patches, the locker to get personal gear, then Services to turn in group gear. Turns out we never got our second big pot for cleanup - no problem. Dan, Spencer, Davis, andrew and Eric help with group gear. At the Mail Room I find I have 15 minutes to mail my stove (I need to wash out the fuel bottle). Oh, and we turned in our locker key at Security. Many places to stamp/sign off on the packet.
Time for a shower before dinner, which is Ham. I get the Scouts Trek Shrits and do laundry, but after a visit to the Tooth of Time Traders where I buy a belt and a few T-shirts and Hats. Clean shirts by 8PM and we go to the closing campfilre. It was much better than the opening campfire program, but a bit too long as we are dead tired. Glad we make the Scouts come, however.
June 27. Camp is stirring by 5:15, and our wakeup is 6:00.
The wind has been flapping my tent all night and I'm a light sleeper.
Everyone is packed by 6:45 and
we have french toast and bacon at 7:00, then
catch the bus at 7:30.
On the bus there are two
adults that didn't make it and had to go home early.
The man said "I fainted, I'm old, and they told me to go home."
although he looked my age.
The woman had a hip problem and couldn't find a pack that would work.
I'm very proud of all the T-3 1 crew members. We All Made It.
On the bus we could see the fires that were threatening Los Alamos - we had seen the smoke yesterday after getting to base camp. A long, mellow wait at ABQ for the 2:45 to OAK.