aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

The Children of Jedediah Smith Ride Again, part III

With the second morning on the trail, routines begin to assert themselves. I was up at 5:00, and shortly had coffee made. Philmont gives you the opportunity to snag some coffee bags before you leave base camp, but they make really nasty coffee. I brought a 2-quart French press and a pound of ground coffee, and we had the only Real Stuff in the backcountry (other than what you get at Advisors Coffees in the evening at staffed camps).

Philmont feeds you 3,000+ calories a day, but the food isn't much to write home about. Sarah agreed with me that it's gone downhill since she was a youth participant twelve years ago. The main entree of the day is now freeze-dried rather than dehydrated, and most of the food is in the form of bars, crackers, nuts, trail mix, and candies. And, of course, we were plagued with three picky eaters: one who was making a career of it, one who was basically doing it for attention, and one who just liked to complain. The rest of us ate as much of our kibble as we could. Our evaluation at the end was filled with notes on how to improve the trail food.

Anyway, by 7:45 a.m., we had broken camp and were moving out toward Urraca Mesa.

Off on the road to adventure

Our packs felt good and we made great progress. The rain the night before had made everything fresh and lovely. I thought we were going to make great progress; however, we were still new to the trail and not toughened up much. Halfway up Urraca Mesa, Dakota went down with tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing. Luckily, our sister crew -- a bunch of boys from Tennessee -- came up to us at that point, and we learned that one of their advisors was a medical doctor, a professor at Vanderbilt. He examined Dakota and pronounced her fine. She was just unused to the demands of Philmont yet. After a prolonged rest, she was ready to go again. And then Cheyanne started having issues. And then it started to rain again. And the trail kept going up and up. Yep, we were really going to be in for it.

Water from the rock

Sarah exercising her awesomeness

Ranger Kevin looking studly

We finally reached Urraca Mesa Camp after six and a half hours of hiking. We still had time to do some challenge events. We attended the Urraca campfire, which is famous for its ghost stories. Urraca Mesa is named after the urraca, or magpie, an evil-omened bird to the local Indians.

Atop Urraca Mesa

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