Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Philmont Scout Ranch Staff 2015, Update #3

Ladybugs really love the tops of peaks
A fellow I met in Base Camp
Not sure who built this
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The conservation department acted like they were really happy with their article, which made me glad. It's good to know that someone likes to read what I've been writing. I feel like a lot of the stuff we write is fluffy because there's not a lot going on and when anything major does happen, it's not going to be put in a weekly newspaper.

Sunday we hiked Shaeffer's Peak. It's not a very impressive peak, but it has a nice view, and it was a pleasant hike (especially starting from the Lover's Leap Turnaround instead of Base Camp). Monday we visited the Chase Ranch and Terra Java Books, which sells almost all of the books in the store for $2. At the Chase, we learned a few cool facts, like that the heart brand was bought from the Rich family (of Rich Cabins) for $1 and some valuables, and that only women did the branding. The plans for the Ranch are exciting-- that will be a really cool place in the future.

The upcoming PhilNews is focused on the Order of the Arrow. The issue I'm working on right now focuses on history, in this case, the Museums department. Next week, I will be the backcountry writer and visit PJ, Beaubien, Apache Springs, and Fish Camp. I'm ready to get into the backcountry a little more and actually visit some of the backcountry staffed camps, especially if I want to consider applying for backcountry staff next year.

Edit: Read PhilNews Issue 2 here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Climbing the Tooth

View of the Tooth from below
Any images, information, and opinions expressed on this site are neither approved nor authorized by Philmont Scout Ranch and/or the Boy Scouts of America.

Well, it's been a long, full week. 

Sunday was Taos Day for the department, which was pretty cool. Resisting the temptation to buy stuff is difficult.

For our days off, the writers get Sunday and Monday. We also get 4, maybe 5, floater days that we can take whenever we choose, as long as we plan ahead to get our work done.

It was pretty exciting to see our first issue in print on Friday. Issue 2 of the PhilNews focuses on conservation, so a lot of my articles printed in the second issue will focus on that.

Benchmark for the Tooth of Time
For our days off, we went to Taos the first day, and had a more individual experience than with a large group. We ate some excellent noodles from a vendor who advertised gluten-free options. We also found a cool bookstore called Moby Dickens with two cats.

The second day, we climbed the Tooth. That took all day.  We had a little trouble finding the correct trail, because it disappears into a 45 minute scramble over rocks, which we thought couldn't be it. Turns out that was it. The views from the top were pretty awesome, and now I can say I've done it. I don't have any particular desire to do it again any time soon. The final climb up is fun, but the Tooth Ridge trail or "Trail of Tears" is extremely long, and the Pasture trail, a staff-only trail, is painfully steep and rocky. Now my entire body is sore and my feet are just a large blister.

The issue I'm working on right now focuses on the Order of the Arrow 100th Anniversary and all the related things going on this year, so it's pretty interesting to write.

Edit: Read PhilNews Issue 3 here.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Philmont Staff 2015, Update #1

Any images, information, and opinions expressed on this site are neither approved nor authorized by Philmont Scout Ranch and/or the Boy Scouts of America.

The participants will arrive soon, June 8, to be specific. Mostly, we've been doing a lot of different staff trainings. The first day is mainly just checking in and completing all those tasks, then there is an all-staff day and lots of other trainings done as a department. June 8th is also when days off begin. I know I will have a 5-2 schedule, but I don't know which two days I will have off.

We will go to Taos tomorrow as a department. That seems like it will be fun, although I don't know what the plan is for that yet.

We have also begun working on the first issue of the PhilNews. The PhilNews should be posted online on Thursdays, beginning June 11, and paper copies are distributed on Fridays. We have to work almost a full week in advance to get everything done on time for the printer, which is a rather strange adjustment to have to make.

I feel like the writing style necessary is distinctly different from what I'm expected to do for a research paper or other formal writing. It doesn't seem too hard to get the hang of, and, so far, my interviews seem to have gone pretty well. Admittedly, the PhilNews is designed to be PR, and the people I've interviewed actually want to talk to me. I think this job will give me a lot of information about many of the different departments and jobs available on the Ranch.

Today, I got to scatter with French Henry. Scatter is when the backcountry staff head out to their camps. It takes three days for all the thirty-six staffed camps to scatter. It was pretty cool, and all the staff are excited to finally get to where they're going to be all summer. French Henry has two staff cabins, a main one and a smaller one, and they have a wood-burning oven. The cabins are not very tightly constructed, so a rat had gotten in over the summer and created a nest. For exactly this reason, all staffed camps have to be "de-hantaed" each year, to prevent any possibility of Hantavirus. The French Henry staff also brought Bruiser, their feline head exterminator, with them in an effort to cut down on the rodent population.

Overall, I'm just extremely ready for the normal schedule to begin. I'm ready to have a little more predictability for my routine.

Edit: Take a look at PhilNews Issue 1 here.