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Day 6: Hunting Lodge to Visto Grande

It’s another glorious morning — the rain and the bear stayed away last night. Maybe we should have chili for dinner every night.

To earn the coveted Philmont patch, the crew has to hike at least 50 miles and perform a three-hour conservation project during their trek. On this trek, 50 miles ain’t no problem. Today we will complete our conservation requirement. I’m excited, because I reallllllly want that patch to show for my 11 days in the wilderness.

We head to the Cito conservation area and are put to work hauling off tree branches and throwing them on a big fire. Our work will help clear a mountain meadow of excess growth, which is good for the habitat.

Trevor and Christian head to the fire.

Trevor tosses one on.

Kevin hauls off a ponderosa pine branch.

Christian, Trevor and Charlie get my award for Most Enthusiastic Lumberjack-like Participation. They practically have to be restrained from carrying off entire trees by themselves.

Christian bites off almost more than he can chew.

VIDEO: See Trevor and Charlie in action.

An interesting creepy crawly greets me on my backpack after the conservation project.

Three hours of hard work has us itching to hit the trail, and when we do we’re in for a treat. The hike through Grouse Canyon is spectacular.

Charlie checks out Grouse Canyon rock formations.

Christian watches a wild turkey cross the trail near Ute Gulch.

We stop for lunch at the Ute Gulch Commissary, where we also pick up a few days’ worth of food. For lunch today, we enjoy the famous and wildly popular Philmont jalapeno squeeze cheese on crackers.

Before leaving our lunch site, the crew ponders our next move.

TODAY’S TRAIL TALK: Posing for photos: “Say ‘squeeze cheese’!” Plus, everybody’s starting to miss home cooking, so there’s endless discussion in extensive detail of non-trail food. Blake: “Bacon is the best thing ever.” Kendall: “I love those tiny sausages, you know, Lil Smokies in barbecue sauce.”

Most of the afternoon’s hike is uphill, but it’s well worth the effort. We stop for a long rest in a spot that gives us a breath-taking view of Baldy Mountain in the distance.

This is proof that Philmont is enjoyed in moments. One moment you’re struggling—you feel that your feet can’t possibly hurt more, that you can’t take another drop of rain—but then the next moment you’re laughing and swept up in the gorgeous scenery, crew togetherness and your sense of accomplishment.

Everybody’s happy with the view.

Kevin and Travis use their backpacks as recliners as they take in the view.

Baldy looms.

8 Comments on Day 6: Hunting Lodge to Visto Grande


  2. Our crew did conservation project at beaubien.

  3. Did anyone drink cito water at cimarron cito?

  4. I took some very similar pictures on the same trail. We did our cons. project at cito but we were sawing tree stumps so they were flush with the ground.

  5. hi this day was my day to lead

  6. very beautiful scenery

  7. I went to Philmont this summer also, and our conservation project at Cito was digging those holes that you burned the branches in. Okay, well maybe not the exact holes, but still it’s good to see that work going to good use. Hope you had a great trek.

  8. That scenery is amazing!

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