Day One: Arriving at Philmont and Embarking on The Trek:
Location: Base Camp
We flew into Colorado Springs via Dallas Fort Worth, and then drove from Colorado Springs to the Philmont Scout Ranch. We registered as a family, checked in medical forms, and then I went off to a separate hall to check in my gear. I was sorted into an eight man crew with the addition of two rangers- guides from Philmont, who would accompany us on the entire trek. We received our crew gear that we would each carry, along with a couple meals. The food came in sealed plastic bags, with enough food for two people for one meal. Along the trek we would pick up more meals and restock.
After our crew had assembled, we met as a camp for an opening ceremonies program which consisted of three speakers, two from our church leadership and the program director over the mountain treks. After that we took a crew picture (see below minus one guy) and then boarded buses to be dropped off at our first destination, Zastrow Turnaround. Which we hiked from to the actual Zastrow Staff camp itself.
|Gear layed out to be checked, Crew gear in top right (tents) and bottom left, Meals on left|
|Boarding the Buses|
We arrived at the Zastrow Staff camp and set up camp in a nice area that we would stay in until Monday morning. Setting up camp consisted of the same routine each time:
- Identify the locations of the sump (drain for liquids), fire ring and bear bag lines, These formed our bear-muda triangle and we would keep our packs within that area and pitch our tents 50ft minimum from that area.
- Remove all smellables such as meals, toiletries, water bottles used for liquids other than water, and medical supplies. These were placed in bear bags, that would be hung 15-20 feet above ground, between two trees.
- Set up tents and dining fly
As a crew we were quite consistent with our performance of this routine. After we completed these tasks, we'd either start dinner depending on the time, or we would participate in that staff camp's program. Saturday night we arrived fairly late in the day and so we ate dinner and talked about the next day's activities. We went to bed around 11 that night,exhausted but ready for a week long of adventures ahead.
After being together for a couple short hours, I was surprised how well our group bonded and meshed almost instantly. With ages ranging from 14 to 18, and not knowing anyone previously, it was quite astounding. This was going to be an awesome week. And as one of my rangers put it "Out here (in the back country) its just us in the biggest playground out there," And it was quite a playground to explore and make memories on.