Troop 102

Where in the wild is Troop 102?
Days 11 and 12

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[July 01, 2016]  LINCOLN - Today is Saturday, June 25th and the days are winding down for the hikers of Troop 102. On their itinerary, it is day nine, which means only three more days in the mountains. They will come back to the Philmont Ranch Headquarters on Tuesday, and on Wednesday will board an Amtrak and head home.

But, for today, and tomorrow there is still plenty to do in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Today the guys will hike Mount Ute. They will stop at Ute Gulch and pick up their food supply for the balance of the trip.

The boys will camp on the trail tonight and in the morning (Sunday) they will head out for Clarks Fork. Their hike will take them through the Window Rock area.

While Saturday will be mostly about the hike and experiencing the natural beauty of the mountains, Sunday will be an activity day jam-packed with interesting things.

Among the learning opportunities at Philmont is a program called “Demonstration Forest.” On Sunday the hikers will visit a demonstration forest.

The Philmont handbook describes this activity:

Demonstration Forest between Hunting Lodge and Clarks Fork, near Cito Reservoir, a Demonstration Forest has been developed with the support of the American Tree Farm Organization. Be sure your crew takes time to learn about the forests and various forest practices taking place at Philmont. A visiting Forester will be available to visit with crews.

For the two Zach’s on the trip, this is a big day because it will take them back in time to the days of the wild west, cowboys, and cattle drives.

Zach Smith noted this was the day he was most looking forward to, “At, Philmont, I’m looking forward to Day 10 when we go to Clarks Fork because I’m looking forward to a chuck wagon dinner and relaxing in a staffed camp in a rather beautiful nature area.”

Zachary Craig is anxious to experience the same things and also mentions the branding and horseback riding, “Day 10 on the daily schedule is what I’m most looking forward to. During this day we are scheduled to hike six miles and experience branding and horseback riding. We will also enjoy a Chuckwagon dinner and campfire.”

According to the website, Philmont is a working cattle ranch with cowboys on horseback. The boys may have seen them on multiple occasions throughout their ten days thus far.

From the website: Philmont is an operating western cattle ranch. Cowboys still watch over cattle on horseback and drive them from their winter pasture on the plains to high mountain meadows for summer grazing. While you hike the trails, look for the white-face Hereford cattle. Though not wild, they are best observed from a distance. A cow with a calf may become dangerous if she feels her calf is threatened. To chase or attempt to rope these animals is foolish and can result in serious injury. Watch and photograph them if you wish.

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And, being a cattle ranch with cowboys on horseback, there are plenty of horses. At the Clarks Fork staffed camp, boys will be instructed on horseback riding then they will take a trail ride.

To assure the safety of the guys as well as the animals, there are strict rules that will be applied when on the trail:

Philmont wranglers are courteous but strict. They make certain everyone stays in line and maintains the pace to avoid endangering members of your crew. Even skilled riders cannot be permitted to ride at a different pace or away from the group. Please cooperate with the Wranglers by following instructions for a safe and enjoyable ride. For your personal safety, you will wear a helmet, which will be provided. Ponchos and maps should not be taken since they may frighten the horses. Wear long trousers on your horse ride to protect your legs. Persons weighing over 200 pounds will not be permitted to ride.

The boys will also enjoy a chuckwagon dinner like that enjoyed in the old west days when cattle drives were commonplace, and cowboys were on the trail driving livestock from ranch to stockyards.

Sunday night will also be an official “campfire” night. At the staffed camp campfires, the boys may enjoy some humorous entertainment that could be storytelling as well as music.

At Sawmill on day eight, the boys descended in altitude to 9,280 feet. On Saturday they descended to 7,800 feet and on Sunday 7,600 feet. On Monday they will hike upward again, as they conquer the Tooth of Time, their last mountain.

[Nila Smith]

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