My Philmont Adventures 1995

Philmont Shakedown 9/2-9/4/1995

The first night we spent at Hickory Run State Park. We were very late getting there due to Dick being one hour late to the High School (meeting area) and a six car pile up on the NE extension.

Sat. morning we drove to the Black Forest Trail and started hiking from RT 44 (North of the Fire Tower) to the Black Forest Trail via the gas line Baldwin Trail. Once meeting the BFT there were many fantastic overviews! I never knew such views existed in PA! We did register then started going down hill to Navel Run were we stayed the night. Great camp, even with a dive bombing bat! The scouts did great hiking so far and Dave did the job as crew chief as if he was already at Philmont.

The next day we had to hike up and up and up from Navel Run. We bumped into the other crew (Ian and Tom’s) on the ridge between Naval and Callahan Runs. At this point Tom warned me that the hike along Callahan Run stunk! We also had to sew Jeff Albrecht’s hip belt (because no weight was on his hips) an operation I preformed on Pat’s pack before we started hiking.

After lunch (with the other crew) we kept on hiking. I found that Pat is a BIG Trek Fan and that kept us talking for a long time.

We then reached the intersection with the “old cut off trail”. I then told the crew what tome told me about the trail near Callahan Run. Because of this info and Dave having problems going up hill, the crew decided to take the short cut.

We took the cut off trail to Big Trail Road to 44 then met back up with the BFT. We ended up camping by a run that was a branch of Baldwin Branch Run. Nice sight except for the rocks.

Here is when a crew was born, not to mention a few crew jokes. On the way to Camp, Dave made one of his classic quotes “Do we go this way, or that way and my pants are falling down”.

Also at camp, Pat, after writing his name in charcoal and Dave sitting on it (and Pat eating some jerky) said “My Beef is Hard” then Dave Stood up and Pat said “Dave I want to see your Butt”. Pat wanted to if his name was on Dave’s pants but you can imagine what the other scouts thought he meant. To say the least he took quite a bit of ribbing over it!

That night everyone joked around the campfire for a bit then went to bed.

The next day we hiked back to the road thinking that we would have to wait for the other crew for a few hours….WRONG! We were there for a few minutes when they showed up. Boy they hiked fast as well as waking up 2 hours before we did.

On the drive home a number of things happened. 1st Pat and Jarad started making “How much did it cost” and “Can I get it at I. Goldberg” jokes. They did NOT know the on-going Troop 2 Jokes which made it even funnier!

Also the search for a Denney’s took place. We told the scouts we would stop at a Denney’s that someone saw on the way home, but we kept driving and driving and no Denny’s. Finally at about 1:30 we stopped at a Perkins. Good thing too because I just about had a revolt in my car!

After eating and driving about 5 minutes, wouldn’t you know a Denny’s! The scouts loved it!

Overall the trip was great! The Trail FANTAST and best of all a crew started to form.

We hiked approximately 11 miles and the scouts learned a lot about backpacking the Philmont way!

Chester County Council Philmont Shakedown 5/6-5/7/1995

The weekend went as the previous year’s did. I again, did the stoves and water purification demo. I think by now I can do it in my sleep.

The crew looks good and can hike! Overall we did a little under 5 miles on the weekend.

Philmont Shakedown Hike 5/27-5/29/1995

Hiked on the Appalachian Trail (PA Section 8) from 325 to Clark’s Ferry Shelter to 225. Since there was limited participation I logged it in my personal trail log. Total of 17.8 miles for myself, Jon and Dick Weaver, and Jules and Ed Popchok (from the 2nd crew).

Philmont Log Entry 7/10 7am

This is the first time I have had time to write. Now we are on the road to Philmont, but first lets go back a few days.

The airport was the typical chaos. I was surprised that most scouts arrived early. Keith got confused because I told him how Bo and Jamie were getting to Colorado Springs (via an American Eagle Flight) so he went to Terminal A instead of Terminal D (for United). Luckily he figured out he was in the wrong place and got checked in ok. The only other problem was when the ticket agent dropped a boarding pass, but they found it after a while.

The flight went without any problems and we even got an in flight moved (Don Wan Demarko) which was enjoyable (even though I spent $4 for the cheap airline earphones and found out latter I could have used my walkman’s for free).

The layover at Denver WASN’T. I got to the gate and asked when we were boarding and they answered 4 minutes.

We got to Colorado Springs. Then ate at McDonalds. Then the Air Force Academy (which I say on the previous two trips to Philmont so I found it boring). We then went to something new. We drove to the Garden of the God’s, a wonderful group of interesting rock formations that are sacred to the Indians of the area. It was great! Then we went to the ALL YOU CAN EAT place (after one false start – went to the wrong location the first time). Then it was off to the Abbey and a good night of sleep (after the end of the basketball game and in between trains).

Next day (July 9) was white water rafting. God the river was high. They said the flow was 4000 cfm. I asked what it was last year at this time and they answered 1700 cfm (gives you some idea of how great the trip was).

With some (little) convincing I convinced the contingent director, Mike Donnelly, to go to the Royal Gorged instead of driving off to LaHunta and Old Bent’s Fort…Thank God! We spent 2 hours there (while we watched these poor cyclists going though the park). I did get on the Incline again and enjoyed it. This year everyone got back to the bus on time.

Well back to today…we drove (or should I say slept) to LaHunta and just got there in time for dinner. Then we watched the Koshare Dancers. Good show as usual. Then of course the trip to the Loaf and Jug for a snack.

Didn’t sleep to good because the other groups were a little rowdy.

This morning we ate, got on the bus and that’s where we are now. Listening to more Red Neck jokes and thinking about base camp!

Philmont Log Entry 7/12 6:30pm)

Well a lot has happened since my last entry before reaching Philmont.

This year base camp felt much different. Almost boring somehow. We checked in the crew with little problems other than some medical form blank spots and people having to go get there medicines.

The leaders meeting was a little fun since Bo was listening going “Did Barney here this last year” (sorry private joke). They also changed the schedule to let leaders eat with the crews.

The evening campfire that night was the same, but since we got 4th row seats we could hear what was going on.

The next day, we were supposed to get a 10:30 bus BUT…. We sort of missed it due to the fact that our crew lockers did not fit so we needed another. Well of course we had some time to kill so we did get to the Villa which was almost worth staying in base camp for.

Well after the tour we had to eat a trail lunch in base camp…spreadables when you are not starving YUCK!!

Well by the graces of the bus God we got a 1:30 bus (which we found out latter was added just for us) so we did get out with just a small delay.

The first day on the trail was typical. “I have to fix my pack”, “I have to take a piss” etc, etc. but we got to camp in good time and all went well with the dinner of spaghetti. For once the Ranger Cobble that I heard so much about lived up to it’s reputation. It was FANTASTIC!

We did a “Thorns and Roses” session which I do like and it did bring a few little things out, but all still workable.

The next morning we woke up at a reasonable time and got the tents and all down in a reasonable time… then the crew decided to kill time, so we got out a little late (but still better than the last 2 years). The hike to Dan Beard was ok but sunny and hot (some members got light sunburn including me).

The program once we got there (and after lunch) was Challenge Events. The crew did great and completed 3 events and almost got everyone over the wall except the last one who made a valiant effort but the person who was trying to catch him was 1 inch too short. Then the next program was the “low impact camping” program.

It is now after dinner (almost 8pm) and almost time for leaders coffee. Time to go…..

Philmont Log Entry 7/15 8am)

The next morning the ranger (Bruce Williams) wanted to get out of camp early to catch a bus back to basecamp. Since the crew missed the alarm, the ranger woke us up… how embarrassing. Well after the last training and the usual good byes (except the ranger was given a T-shirt because his neckerchief was left at base camp)

Then we were off to Iris Park. Without the ranger, and with some bushwhacking, I though the crew might doubt themselves but there was no such problem. We did 2 bushwhacks and always came out just where we wanted to.

Iris Park was just in time since it started raining when we got there. We got a program time of 4pm and after the rain stopped we hiked to our camp site (what seemed to be a mile).

When 4pm came around everyone, except Dave, said they were too tired to do program. Dave said OK (much to my surprise) and Jarad went to tell the staff and get water for dinner.

A note about water.. at this site water is pumped by a windmill, no wind and you have to take it out of a water basin which MUST be FILTERED!!

Upon his return Jarad said we could do program at 7pm if we liked. After a good hot dinner of beef stew, we were ready.

After program it was a quick “Thorns and Roses” session and BED!

The next morning we woke up in good time, packed up in good time, but then we had to purify water and that took forever!

Once we got hiking we did do some bushwhacking, and got to Ring Place in good time (with Great Julie Andrew’s views… you know of the “Sound of Music Land”)

We ate lunch and then had a thunderstorm, which we and our sister crew were allowed into the staff cabin for. We traded stories during the storm and learned they had two close encounters of the buffalo kind.

Also, because of the thunderstorm we were signed off on conservation.

We then set up camp and napped. The other crew came and we had dinner together (well sort of, there was little interaction).

Because of another storm, the wilderness safari was canned, but some of us got the tour of Ring Place.

When I returned I found out the crew did not have the bear bags hung (after two hours of trying). Surprisingly they were in good spirits and with some help from our sister crew, we got them up.

Right now it is after breakfast (pancakes and real bacon…my favorite) and we are getting ready to go.

This of course was after “Woody” and “Wiley” incident between the two crews. (sorry private joke)

Philmont Log Entry 7/18 4:45pm)

Leaving Ring Place (after a very long breakfast) we did hike around the bog that we hiked to get to Ring Place. Around the other side of the fence we did run into a buffalo heard (about 25-30 head). We almost missed them in the trees if it wasn’t for Dick.

After the photo op and fixing a camera harness we were off. Not too much happened until latter in the hike when we had to do an emergency fly pitch in a hail storm. The crew’s spirits were high though the whole experience, what a great group!

We got into camp late, as always. Some of the crew wanted to hike “The Wall” but we did not have time for it. Program was also canceled due to the rain.

The next day we once again got a fairly late start. We bushwhacked over to Rich Cabins where we got a very shitty campsite. It was buggy, a mile from the first latrine we have seen since Dan Beard, no level ground and not bear bag trees. Our sister crew started a rumor that we got that sight because we were so noisy on the cliff above the camp, but I do not know.

Here things got a little touchy. Nerves were a little on edge but they did get everything done to go to the Homesteading program that night.

After program, Luke unfortunately drank un-purified water and I had to tell him, I do not know if it was that or the fresh milk from the cow, but he got sick to his stomach shortly after. Everyone was so tired no-one slept, everyone went into a coma.

The next day was our long hike we created by skipping Pueblano Camp and supposedly going to Ute Meadows for a layover to hike Baldy….BUT we never got there.

We started out of camp (late as always) and headed off down the road. We crossed into the wildlife area ok but afterwards we found 2 roads off to the right, there must have been a third (the map said one) because we took the second one and ended up traveling to the NW end of Wilson Mesa. Unfortunately we wanted to be on the SE side to meet up with the trail back onto Philmont by Peublano Camp. While crossing the mesa we ate lunch. Afterwards it was threatening to rain. We kept on hiking and hiking, then it started to rain, then it got cold. Jon started complaining then he was exhausted then he got cold (all the while it was raining). It became even more of a problem when he said he couldn’t go on. He had no will to make camp or to live, he just wanted to stop. Bo, Kevin and Keith kept him moving and talking, then because of the push to get to camp and out of the rain we missed the turn to Ute. At this time I decided to run ahead so our sister crew could get some hot water on, because another (Jarad) started to become cold, I then discovered we were almost to Miranda so I left one of the scouts with me (Pat) to tell them to go there while I went on with Jarad to tell the staff we needed assistance.

Not only did they take care of Jon and Jarad, they invited us all in for dinner, heat, and dry cloths and totally saved our asses. They even let use stay both that night and tonight, even though base camp wanted us to go to Ute the next night.

Camp set up was hard, especailly since it was well after dark and my flashlight went out. We did double up on tents, so Keith slept with me.

Today, most everyone wanted to hike Baldy, but we were not ready, so we decided to kick back, go to Baldy town, get our FIRST SHOWERS and come back to do Mountain Man Rendezvous with Black Powder Shooting which is where the scouts are now.

Philmont Log Entry 7/21 9:30am)

The scouts had a great time at the program and got my hat a few times (I gave it to them to shoot up).

The evening everyone went to bed early so we could to be out of camp by 5am (or it was said “No Baldy”).

The next day we woke up at 4am and were all packed up by 5:15. The big question was whether they could do Baldy because they were 15 minutes late.

Well they did try their best and packed up the fasted they ever did, so I said ok.

The hike up to Baldy was hard, and I even lost the tip of my yuppie stick. It took forever to get up there and Jon almost stopped 300 yards from the top. Bo (and to a lesser extent me) almost had to drag him up to the top but he (and everyone else) made it!

The top was windy and the “BARNEY” doll that was lost from Bo’s pack was found on top of Baldy with a new belly button and butt hole! I took about 6 slide shots and all but 2 shots from the panoramic camera. The Troop Flag, from last year, was on top of Baldy on my yuppie stick.

Well after a few crew members pissed on Baldy (one almost into the wind – Dave) we had to be off because it took a lot longer to get on top than we thought.

Philmont Log Entry 7/22 8:10am)

The hike down was uneventful and I did NOT find my yuppie stick tip. We got into Baldy Town, ate the pineapple from breakfast and started off down the road to our packs.

Along the way we passed a staff member carrying a bear bag, a second one stopped us and asked if we left our packs at a trail intersection. After saying “yes we did” he told us he was the “Bear Ranger” and that we would have been in big trouble if a bear would have gotten into the food in our packs and that we should have hung the bear bags. He was nice about it, and we got our food back. I must admit we were stupid not to have hung them but hind sight is 20/20.

Shortly after that it started to rain. We got to our packs, set up the fly and ate lunch. Then, when the rain let up, it was off to Elkhorn.

The trip was long and we did get talked to again (this time for hiking on a closed road). We got into camp at sundown and finally saw our sister crew for the first time since Rich Cabins. The typical exchange of war stories commenced, but because of our 15 hour day was short lived.

The next morning we got up a little later (7am) but things did not go perfect. Jon was being a total PAIN because he felt it was unfair that he would have to do cleanup for the chuckwagon dinner. Well the crew chief said he was. Bo said he was. I yelled at him and told him he was. After that Jon tackled Pat. We broke it up then his father, Dick, went off and I had to face off with him to shut him up. The crew then got quiet for a minute or two then it almost started again. I demanded a 10 minute quiet time than I talked about what had happened and why (mostly people not saying their true feelings at “Thorns and Roses” sessions). Then we sort of had one and from that point on things got better.

The crew got out of camp after the water finally boiled for breakfast. The day was sunny and hot which caused Jarad to become dehydrated and almost got him to the point of passing out about 15 minutes from Ponile. We gave him 2 qts of water and he was ok, but what was more incredible was the fact that the crew was told to get to the next camp and declair a medical emergency (so they could check in without Jarad, Bo and Myself) and get to horseback riding. The crew rejected this and stayed to make sure he was ok and missed the ride (without complaining about it I might add)! What a difference a year makes!

Ponil was a little metropolis compared to what we were used to. There were 11 crews in camp, commissary, trading post, showers, overly chlorinated water, cantina and a chuck wagon. Talk about culture shock.

The scouts did branding and did a great job on both my hat and “Barney”. Nevil (from our sister crew) even branded the bottom of his artificial leg (a first for the staff I would venture to say).

Then REAL FOOD from the chuckwagon. Beef Stew and Cobble. It was GREAT even if I had to sit on the latrine after. I guess my stomach wasn’t use to real food.

After all was said and done, Jon did the cleanup without complaint.

Then came the Cantina. Between us and our sister crew, the place was loud but add another crew from PA and boy the songs kept coming. All the Camp Horseshoe favorites plus the “Party Song” from the other crew actually was too much for one crew who left.

In the middle of it all Tom (Scout Master and advisor of our sister crew) presented Keith with his EAGLE. It was GREAT!!!!! I think even though he wanted it on top of Baldy, he was flabbergasted to get it there. I am sure he will never, ever forget that moment (and neither will I).

The walk back to the campsite was like a bunch of drunks going home and trying not to wake up the wife. On top of that it was clear and ALL the stars were out, what a great way to end a trek!

The next day we got up, hiked to Ponil Turnaround, played with the horses there (or did they play with us) got the bus back, got checked in (after getting security to let us into our crew lockers because our sister crew put the keys in their security envelope) then the crew went into town. I stayed back with Bo to wash, shower, go to the trading post etc….

Tom’s crew came in and boy was he PISSED! He heard that his whole crew had to switch flights because Johny (who came out for OA Trail Crew) could not fly back alone. After all was said and done only Tom had to go back with him, but still he wasn’t happy about it.

That night the campfire was great, even though Andy was in the health lodge because he ate too much junk food too fast.

Ooops, forgot: after dinner I went to services again and it was very good (and the Sabbath) . The Rabbi, not the same one as before, his wife and one other staff member acted as a choir and were divine.

After campfire we went to the snack bar (with Andy who was feeling so much better he had nachos). We also took up a collection for pizza for the Miranda staff as a thank you which the Chaplin said he would be glad to do for us since he goes up that way often.

Then, after about an hour of gear packing it was off to bed.

We woke up for the continental breakfast and checked out, got our plaque and then, with some sadness, left Philmont.

I am now on the bus, before writing this, I wrote a post card to last year’s randger, Don Codding, and had the four from that crew sign it. I hope he likes it.

Reflecting back on this trek I find that it was the best of the three I had been on. I do not know if it was because I knew the majority of the scouts, me not being nervous, or what, but it was the BEST CREW! It by FAR made up for the problems of last year and I look forward to coming back once more. Yes “I want to come back to Philmont!”