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
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
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.