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Day 4: Crater Lake to Schaefers Pass

Today is the day our ranger leaves us. Dylan bids us farewell this morning, and all excited about being on our own, the first thing we do is get lost.

Assistant Scoutmaster Ken Forkner starts what will become the crew’s Philmont mantra, “It NEVER rains in New Mexico!”

Not that Dylan would have directed us otherwise. He would’ve cheerfully followed us down the completely wrong trail. The rangers have this funny habit of letting you make your own decisions. They will warn you if you’re about to charge off a cliff, but otherwise they want the crew to do it on their own, which is pretty cool.

After a false start, some wandering around in the woods and some (slightly annoyed) discussion, the crew figures out the trail we should be taking outta there.

Figuring it out.

While we’re standing around scratching our heads, we have our first sighting of Philmont “minibears,” critters notorious for running off with your trail food when you’re not looking.

Awwww — The infamous Philmont minibear.

Lesson learned: Charlie is sure to keep hydrated on the trail.

Blake waits patiently in the background while Kevin, Travis and Charlie admire their surroundings.

Blake and Christian chow down on their trail lunch: crackers and canned ham — yum.

Some choice Philmont scenery.

After a warm and sunny morning with lots of pretty scenery, it starts raining again. No surprise there. Travis pretty much sums it up: “Philmont. The longest shower of my life.”

Here I am attempting a water crossing. I think photographer Ken Forkner was hoping to get an action shot of me falling in. (Fortunately, he didn’t.)

Finally, after many, many uphill switchbacks, we make it to our campsite at Schaefers Pass.

We shiver under our dining fly waiting for the cold, driving rain to pass. It finally does, and we fall asleep to the sounds from five different campsites echoing in the pass, under a stunning night sky. I never knew there were so many stars.

The guys try, try again to get our bear bags up. (Another crew already has theirs up on the cable.)

Trevor the Cook takes it easy.

4 Comments on Day 4: Crater Lake to Schaefers Pass

  1. I just returned from a Philmont Trek where we, too, got lost, or as we called it, “bewildered”. Not once in that day, but twice. So,if it comforts you at all, you aren’t the only ones who get lost on day 3.

  2. LostHiker42875 // April 20, 2009 at 5:59 pm // Reply

    It’s pretty unnerving when the crew becomes disoriented at Philmont. Thank goodness to any Philmont crew member who is quite adept at reading topographical maps to reorient the crew with the actual visual terrain and landscape to get the crew back on its hiking trail. I’ve been disoriented quite a few times on a visit to Philmont. Being disoriented is not a fun thing to have when the base camp is 8 miles in some direction beyond the horizon.

  3. This was a fun day. Even though we got a little lost and took about 30 minutes to get our bear bags up. This is where we met the New Jersey crew!

  4. Beautiful scenery, but not enough to compensate for the Red Roof Inn or the Pilot to Bombardier!

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