Where in the wild is Troop 102?
Days 11 and 12
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[June 29, 2016]
- 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
The Philmont handbook describes this activity:
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
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.