Troop 102

Where in the wild is Troop 102?
Days five and six

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[June 23, 2016]  LINCOLN - Today is Monday, June 20th. It is the sixth calendar day since Troop 102 left Lincoln for New Mexico. It is also the day four on their Philmont hiking schedule. On Sunday, the scouts hiked five miles to Urraca. Today, the boys will hike 6.2 miles to Carson Meadows.

Blake Hermes was anticipating that day three would be one of his favorites. He noted he was looking forward to the challenge events that will be held when they reach Urraca. Those challenges are game-like tests that will demonstrate the scouts’ abilities as individuals and also as a team. Some of the challenges they participate in may include trust games. These games are fun, but it also helps instill in the scouts that they are a group, working together and relying on each other as they make this trip.

Urraca, pronounced You-Rock-Ah, means Magpie, which is significant to the history of the mountain. It peaks at 7,900 feet and is home to several forms of wildlife including mountain lions and bears. Scout Zach Smith, when asked how he felt about spending 12 days in the wilderness, noted the presence of the bears as “annoying.” Zach said, “I’ll be okay spending all that time in the wilderness, but the only downside is having to deal with those annoying bears!”

Another annoyance particular to Urraca may be the presence of all the ghosts! View this YouTube video to get a history of the spirits that exist at Urraca. 

One of the best activities after the challenges on day three will be the evening campfire assembly. This night will include various entertaining and fun aspects. With staff on hand at Urraca, the campfire may have included this entertaining song, written in honor of the Urraca Mesa. 

Today, day four, the boys will hike downhill slightly to Carson Meadows. This will be another staffed campsite with extra activities. Among the things that will happen at camp will be demonstrations and learning the practice of wilderness medicine and they will learn about search and rescue in the mountains.

They will also have the opportunity visit a Mexican Homestead and a Cantina at Abreu. The Philmont Scout Camp was created in 1939 by Waite Phillips.

Here is the history of the Abreu site, taken from the Philwiki website:

Jesus G. Abreu and his wife Petra, a daughter of Carlos Beaubien, established the Abreu settlement shortly after Lucien Maxwell's departure from the area in 1857. In addition to a successful ranch, the family operated a store and cantina at which travelers on their way to Santa Fe could stop for refreshment and materials.

Beaubien died in 1864, leaving the Abreus one-twelfth of the Beaubien-Miranda land grant, which in 1867 they sold to Maxwell for $3,500. Jesus died in 1900 and was buried in the Abreu Cemetery, which is located near the Kit Carson Museum at Rayado. The Abreu family still has burial rights to the plot, though they sold the remainder of their ranch in 1911.

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Gertrude and Ramon Abreu built a house in the same year on the site that is currently Abreu. The house no longer remains, but its foundations serve as the base of the cantina. Their neighbors were the Websters, and the Zastrow family, after which a camp and a turnaround are named. They lived at the site with their four children until 1921, when Waite Phillips bought the property. The relatives that are portrayed by staffers, did formerly visit the house on occasion after its acquisition by the BSA.

Waite Phillips largely abandoned the house, but built what is now called Old Abreu Camp to serve as a logging and sheep-raising center. Under BSA ownership, this became a staffed base in the 1960s, until it burned down twice and flooded three times, the last time being a part of the extensive 1965 floods. The BSA program was shifted back to the old homestead site, known counter-intuitively as "New Abreu" and later simply as "Abreu," where it was initially a camp for western lore and horse rides, and later for burro packing, hunter safety, and fishing; in its early days it also served as a commissary.

One early program which is still active (as of 2005) is the Mexican dinner, though it was moved to Harlan from 1975 to 1990. The cantina program began in 1978 in the old cabin. The next year, with the advent of the Adobe program, Scouts constructed the current cantina itself as part of the program. It shifted to its present interpretive format in 1989.

The new cabin, meant to be an example of a typical house of the period, was built as a conservation project by the cabin restoration crew during the summer and fall of 1998.

Also from that website, a description of what Troop 102 may experience today:

The staff at Abreu interpret the daily life of the family of Petra and Jesus Abreu and work on an example of a small homestead. They interpret characters to explain the history of the area and the family, while leading participants in daily activities, such as goat-milking, Adobe brick-making, animal care and other aspects of homestead life. Also, there is always an opportunity to play with the animals, fish in the creek, or relax in the Cantina.

Trekkers usually regard the Cantina as their favorite of the camps. An adobe building with an attached courtyard and grape arbor, it serves as a place for exhausted crews to sit down on chairs, the chairs being a significant and highly uncommon luxury. A staffer sells root beer, peanuts, other foods, and critical supplies like maps, while also offering games for participants.

[Nila Smith]

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