Day Three: 07/04/2016

Day Three: 07/04/2016

Location: Zastrow Staff Camp
Destination: Uracca Staff Camp by way of Abreu Staff Camp.

On this morning, I woke up earlier than the other guys on the crew, so I went and sat out by our fire ring and took in the surrounding scenery. I realized, that after two days of being in Philmont, I was still on Ohio, or Eastern Time. Once the others woke up, we began packing up camp. Our first day of really hiking, was going to be a very strenuous one. We were hiking from Zastrow, to Uracca. Uracca was on the opposite side of a mesa and so we would have to hike through Abreu (another staff camp that we would be going through) to the mesa, and then up and over and down the other side, to get to the staff camp. 

Once we got hiking, we would spend the time singing songs and talking back and forth on the trail. Our hike to Abreu was short, but involved two river crossings on bridges, that were fun. Once we arrived in Abreu, we filled up on water, talked with other treks and toured a restored cabin from the 1900s. They had a basic cantina where one could buy some snacks or fresh Root Beer. There was also a hot pickle challenge, where you bought a jalapeno pickle for $1.60 and if you could eat it and drink the juice with it in under 30 seconds, you would be reimbursed for your pickle. My crew pressured me into doing this challenge, as our rangers hoped at least one of us would. So I volunteered and said I'd try it. Now looking back at this, I'm completely surprised I took up this challenge. Usually i'm not one for anything spicy or hot, and definitely not one for food challenges. I think I accepted the challenge because I was starting to let down some personal barriers with this group and knew that it was a safe situation. Now about the Challenge. I failed. Terribly. I had about 80% of the pickle eaten and had the last couple bites left in about 25 seconds. Then one of my crew mates said something funny about my facial expression, and right at that moment, a bit of pickle went down my throat wrong. At that point, in the most ungraceful way ever, spit out the mouthful of pickle I had into a trash can in front of me. This, I'm told is the highlight of that day, according to the rest of my crew.  We left Abreu a little after that, given I had to chug a bunch of root beer to get the Jalapeno burn out of my mouth and throat. 

The hike up Uracca mesa was incredibly steep and it being the south face of the mesa, was rocky and scrubby and under the hot sun. The sun was abundant and made the upwards climb, grueling. We reached the top of the mesa, had lunch and made sure we were hydrating really well. After lunch, we continued on and over the backside of the Mesa, down towards Uracca Staff Camp. We arrived and quickly set up camp in a nice spot among pine trees. Once we had camp all set up, we made our way over to the staff cabin where we would go participate in their program- a COPE course. COPE stands for Challenging Outdoor Personal Experiences. Basically they were a course of team building trust activities. The first one that we did was a 15 foot wall that we had to work as a team to get over. The catch was we couldn't talk to each other while working on it. We cleared this challenge in lightning time, setting a crew record for that summer of just under three minutes  in getting all 8 of us over.

After cope we went back to our campsite and cooked dinner for the night, After dinner we attended a campfire program in which the staff entertained us with songs, skits and stories. This was pretty enjoyable and was a nice touch to a long hard day.

Campfire Program at Uracca 
This was probably our hardest hiking day of the entire trip, and with it being our first day of hiking, made it that much more exhausting. Spending time in Abreu was cool, but it was really rewarding when we made it to the top of the mesa and saw how far we had come. Also the group cope work was a good experience for our crew because we were able to grow and polish our skills and become more united.

No comments:

Post a Comment