Day 9: Baldy Mountain

Today is the day that we tackle Baldy Mountain, which will have us climbing 4,000 feet up from Miranda to the summit. It’s a day hike, so we don’t have to break camp and pack up. We just shoulder our day packs and take off.

We take off into a CLOUD. The entire mountain is shrouded as we begin our ascent. It has a weird effect: Everyone’s voices are muffled as we spread apart on the trail.

Charlie’s view — a CLOUD.

After a while, it starts to get very rocky and steep.

Kevin puts his trekking pole to good use.

Tonie looks waaaay up the slope at her crewmates.

Baldy Mountain vet Blake tells everyone, “It’s pretty much like this to the summit, so crawl at your leisure.”

Like a ghost in the fog, Trevor approaches the summit.

And we do take our time trudging up the mountain. Some of the crewmembers feel like they’re running out of air.

“It’s going to be hard,” Blake acknowledges. “After all, we’re hiking at the altitude where planes fly.” Wow. I hadn’t thought about it that way.

Like Blake warned, it IS hard. But we all make it to the summit. And when we get there, everybody wants to celebrate—even if we’re doing so in a CLOUD:

Now that we’re on the summit, it’s getting colder so everyone puts on their jackets to eat their lunch.

Christian’s not so sure about the powerbar in today’s lunch.

“I’m disappointed that there’s no payoff for our hard work getting to the top,” Tonie says. “I mean, there’s no pretty view or anything.” Oh, well, it was still a big accomplishment that we all made it.

There’s a bit of excitement on our way back down the mountain when we’re attacked by the Crazy Moss-Haired Mountain Man.

Watch Christian barely escape alive:

At the base of the mountain, we stop at Baldy Town camp, which at the height of Baldy Mountain’s gold-mining operation had a population of about 2,000.

We’re here for another food pick-up. Uh-oh. Kevin forgot to bring his “Life.” And he’s really worried: “The staff is gonna kill me! What if they won’t give us our food?”

We all reassure Kevin that the crew won’t be left to starve. Now, as for the staff killing him? Well…

Wow! For the first time on the trek, showers are available for our use here in Baldy Town. But we’re still in the cloud, so it’s damp and chilly. Meh — what’s another few days without a shower? We decide to just stick it out.

Heading back to Miranda, we meet up again with our long lost pal: sunshine.

Back at camp, some of the crew takes in a little tomahawk throwing. Watch Christian score:

and Charlie:

Fun and games around the campsite.

We’re so tired after our mountaineering adventure, we have Thorns and Roses while lying in our tents. Kevin’s Rose: “The Baldy Town food pickup guy didn’t eat me alive for not having my Life. He just kicked boxes around and acted like he was mad. Then he was really cool and gave us some extra food. Good stuff, too, like tortillas!”

Comments about “Day 9: Baldy Mountain”

  1. Mr. C says:

    Even though it was cloudy at the summit, you will always remember everything else about the climb. And you can say you climbed 12,441! I still challenge my Scouts, 40 years later, to beat my climb. Few have done so.

  2. Anonymous says:

    slacker farce fittingly astounds containers?hilarious – Tons of interesdting stuff!!!

  3. Mama K says:

    Are you crazy! I took advantage of every shower opportunity! At Cypers we even had to build a fire in a water heater to get hot water, it was great! In some camps we girls got to use the staff showers, also very nice. I think I took four showers on the trail all together.

  4. Tomare! says:

    Some mystery mountain man

  5. Da Boss says:

    The mountain man was funny

  6. NurseS says:

    I think the creation of the Moss Mountain Man was the direct result of passing on the opportunity of the showers…..and Kevin found forgiveness for his Life, or lack of it, with the gruff quartermaster at Baldy Town. It was a good day.

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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.)