Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Philmont Scout Ranch Staff 2015, Update #5 - Visiting the Backcountry

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Well, last week was my first week to go into the backcountry on assignment, which was exciting.

We started out at Apache Springs, and then hiked to Fish Camp and spent the night there. Fish Camp has a beautiful valley and a lot of water, and the staff there have a cat, Bagheera, as well as lots of extremely nice cabins. I slept on either Waite or Genevieve Phillips' bed that night-- I just don't know which one. The mattress was nicer than a foamie in Base Camp, either way.

The next day we hiked up to Phillips Junction, which only took an hour, and we had perfect timing to switch photographers. It felt like not much was going on, and I wasn't sure how I was going to write an article about the camp.

Anyway, we continued to Beaubien that night and they have a very nice camp with a lot of activities and a beautiful meadow. Roping seems to be the participant's favorite, and we also got to see their campfire. It seems that sleeping on two foamies is standard in the backcountry.

The next day we hiked back to Phillips Junction and spent most of the day there waiting for a ride, but I got a lot of good material to write about this time. Several Scouts participated in a pickle challenge, a Rayado crew was conscripted into building a box fort, and crews came by to pick up food and supplies, as well as browse the trading post.

I've decided that PJ is currently top on my list of places I want to work next year, although I'm afraid my options may be limited because I won't be able to arrive until around June 12th or 13th next year. I'm really hoping to be able to drag more people I know into doing this with me next year.

I attended the 4th of July Rodeo for an article, so that was pretty neat. No one was able to stay on the bulls long enough to qualify (8 seconds). Two of the wild horses jumped out of their enclosures. Luckily, no humans or animals were seriously hurt.

This weekend, for days off, we went to spend the night at Crater Lake. The Crater Lake campfire was exceptionally good, and I got to go spar pole climbing at night with no belt. My arms are all scratched up now, but I think it was a pretty good experience for a first time. I'm very afraid of heights, and that spar pole was a lot taller once I was up on it, but at least I made it, even though it felt like an eternity.

This week I am making good progress on my articles. I think Issue #7, we will address the flooding. I'm not sure how much we will be able to put out there, but I'd like to address clean-up efforts and get some of the facts out there about how extreme the damage was, so I'm glad we're going to have the chance to do that.

Next weekend my parents will be visiting, so we will visit Taos and the four Philmont museums.

Edit: Read Issue 5 here.

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