Day 5: Schaefers Pass to Hunting Lodge

It’s a gloriously sunny morning. We take advantage of it and let our clothes and gear finally dry.

Trevor ponders his dry toes while everything else dries out in the glorious sun.

We take off on what proves to be a scenic hike.

Ah, there’s nothing like a Philmont morning: a cool breeze whispering through the Ponderosa pines, the fluttering aspens, the scent of your hiking mates wafting toward you…. It’s day four since anybody was able to take a shower, and it’s starting to show (and smell).

Schaefers Pass was a dry campsite, one without a water source, so we’re running low. Along the trail, we fill up from a clear-running stream.

VIDEO: Watch the crew’s water-filtering shenanigans at Upper Clark’s Fork.

We break out our lunch at Clark’s Fork, a staffed camp with a blacksmith shop where we can have our hats and boots branded (no shirts, Nalgene bottles or human flesh allowed).

Trevor looks on as his cap gets the famous Bar P Crazy S brand.

Philmont’s two brands are the Bar P Crazy S and Slash Crazy S. You can also get a Scouting fleur de lis brand.

Today’s a miracle day because it doesn’t rain. At all. No kidding.

When we first arrive at our campsite at Hunting Lodge, the staff tells us about their regular visitor, Steve. A regular visitor? Big deal. Except that Steve is a BEAR.


What we don’t miss about home. Nobody misses TV one bit. Trevor: “I miss my mom and dad, but not my little brother so much.”

“He’s here almost every night, so be sure you tighten up your bear procedures,” they tell us.

“I want to see a bear,” Christian declares.

“You need to be a little more specific,” Blake tells him. “You want to see a bear in daylight, at least 100 yards away from us. Not in our campsite tonight.”

“Oh, yeah. Right.”

We’re at Hunting Lodge early enough for some leisure time. I’d forgotten what that was, exactly. I’m excited because I have some time to wash clothes, something I’d never be excited about at home. Hey, gotta cut down on the stink when you can.

The Hunting Lodge once belonged to Waite Phillips, who donated most of the land that is now Philmont Scout Ranch.

Serious Scout: Blake orients his map during leisure time.

Travis and Christian treat aching feet with ice from the Hunting Lodge.

After a dinner of vegetarian chili, we head to the Hunting Lodge for staff-made cobbler. But there’s a hitch: Before getting a bowl of the mouth-watering dessert, each crew member has to tell a joke the staff has never heard before or then it’s three different jokes you have to tell. And there aren’t too many jokes the staff hasn’t heard before. After all, we’re one of the last treks of the summer. It’s well after dark before all of us get our cobbler.

Sad, pitiful faces don’t bring the cobbler any faster.

Back at our tents, I think, What is the Philmont staff thinking, putting chili in the trail dinners? The sound effects from everybody are pretty astounding. If the gaseous explosions don’t keep Steve away tonight, I don’t know what will.

Comments about “Day 5: Schaefers Pass to Hunting Lodge”

  1. US ARMY says:

    i went with the us army we did a 108 mile trek

  2. Will tell jokes for food. says:

    Aww man I hope our troop can go to philmont.

  3. NurseS says:

    I thought all the smellies were hauled up into the triangle every night??? It sounds like Steve and all the minibears are not safe from the Philmont troopers.

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  • A bright and fresh Crew 807-G before the storms, bear scares and horrors of dehydrated trail food.

    Front row, left to right: Charlie Jordan, Christian Gouldy, Blake Kincaid. Back row, left to right: Editor Paula Murphey, Tonie Sanchez, Kendall Brush, Trevor Baggett, Assistant Scoutmaster Ken Forkner, Travis Forkner, Crew Leader Kevin Manning, Scoutmaster Ivy Brush.
  • The oldest of the BSA’s national high-adventure bases, Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, N.M., covers about 214 square miles of Rocky Mountain wilderness.

    Scouts, Venturers and adult advisors go to Philmont to backpack through its rugged terrain and enjoy its numerous program activities. Most action takes place in the summer, but several programs are offered in the off-season.

    Since 1939, more than 860,000 trekkers have experienced Philmont adventure.

    >> Click here to visit Philmont's website

  • Crew reviews of Philmont trail food:


    Jalapeño squeeze cheese and apple cinnamon oatmeal — Kevin

    Canned ham — Blake

    Almond butter with honey spread — Travis

    Oatmeal chewy bars — “It was the one trail food that I already knew!” — Kendall


    “The worst was the aftermath of the vegetarian chili.” — Blake

    “The macaroni and cheese was more like spaghetti in watery cheese soup.” — Tonie

    “The black beans and rice gave me heartburn. Mostly the trail meals were pretty good.” — Christian

  • Words and phrases you'll hear at Philmont:

    Bearmuda Triangle: The basic plan of bear safety procedures in each campsite. Three points of the triangle: dining fly—sump—bear bags.

    Minibears: Chipmunks and squirrels very skilled at running off with your trail food when you’re not looking (and even sometimes when you are).

    Oops Bag: The very last bear bag to go up before bedtime. It gives everybody a chance to check their pockets and the campsite one last time and be able to say, “Oops! I found another smellable!”

    Pilot to Bombardier: Like a Red Roof Inn, but without the roof—or any walls.

    Red Roof Inn: “Fancy” outhouses that have—you guessed it—red roofs.

    Squeeze Cheese: Very popular trail food, especially in jalapeño flavor.

    Staffed Camps: 34 camps where staff deliver program activities, such as horseback riding, mountain biking, rifle shooting, challenge events and panning for gold.

    Swap Box: A big box at each staffed camp where crews can trade uneaten (and gross) foods for better stuff. Most dumped: Gorp and beef jerky.

    Thorns, Roses and Buds: A nightly ritual in which each crew member tells about his or her “thorn” (worst thing) and “rose” (best thing) of the day and “bud” (goal for the rest of the trek).

    Trail Camps: 55 camps that do not include a staff or program activity. Your crew is on its own in the Great Outdoors.

    Yum-Yum Bag: The large Ziplock bag in which a crew stores all food waste, which is hauled up in the bear bags at night. Ideally, there’s not much to go into a yum-yum bag. If you open a package of food, you’re expected to eat it all. (Or get somebody else to finish it off for you. Usually every crew has a human garbage disposal or two.)