22 July 2009

Philmont - Thursday

Mark orientating the crew for safe trail blazing. (a couple of pictures of the trail further down)

A new kiosk had been built, perfect for displaying geologic maps of the area.

How to eat chicken out of a can: take your pocket pliers and lid of can, bend lid to form sides, bend end of lid up to form scoop. Done, a perfect spoon.

Two crews came in, each with a burro. They're not tied up but free to eat/mow the grass.

The weather turned nasty for a few minutes, each animal carries its own raincoat.

Even the boys took shelter where they could.

It even hailed. See that little white spot in the middle? Hail.

These guys never tire of looking at rocks, who knew there's more than what meets the eye.

Looking at some of today's pictures.

It's been a long day for David.

This afternoon I made three pies for the staff. Ed is enjoying the blueberry pie.

Gene made sure he had some before he headed back to base camp. Did you know every night before Chuck Norris goes to bed he checks under his bed for Gene?

See the blue sky? See the dark heavy cloud sitting over us?

Craig and I headed down the new trail which cut through the old Baldy Town "dump." We found a few artifacts including an old tin can from the turn of the century or before. Some of the white pottery pieces had gold designs on the edge.

The new trail. This will go to the lower campsites.

Part of the trail goes along the creek and it is just beautiful, the trail and the scenery.

No, it's not the spider out of Harry Potter. They're bear bags. Baldy Town has to be very strict about smellables or bears become a big problem.

Hiking sticks...


and campers.

Wild turkeys and their young.

Each group we saw had 3 adults and a dozen young. At first I thought we were seeing one group all over the place but there's really a bunch of them out there.
I put the turkey in the middle of the picture so he would be easy to find.

Craig's video of one group of turkeys.
Craig in the meadow below Baldy Town.

Siberian iris, Craig took this one.

I took this one.

You'll see signs like this all over to make sure you're headed in the right direction.

Craig was at the main cabin, I had gone up to the tent. When I came out there were three deer in the meadow above the tents. Then a few more joined them.
The three smallest started chasing each other around one of the trees.

Craig's picture from earlier in the day, across the creek.

The buck had been watching the smaller ones run around then he took off into the woods. A minute later he came bounding back, he was playing, too. It was amazing to see how fast he could go through the woods.

The buck watching the other deer arrive.

The other buck was keeping an eye on me.

This was our last full day at Baldy Town. Despite the lack of oxygen we will really miss this place.

The scenery was awesome, the staff was wonderful and helped us feel right at home.

21 July 2009

Philmont - We Did It (again)

12,441 feet above sea level. That's 12, 369 feet higher than what we've been living at the last 21 years. Since this was the third time to accomplish the feat, we celebrated and bought hat pins.

Philmont - Wednesday

Today's the day we climbed Mount Baldy. We left Baldy Town 15 minutes later than planned, 7:15 a.m. Most of the beginning hike is in the woods. To Craig's right is a wild turkey, the largest brown blob.

We're on the nice part of the trail. A large portion of the trail is more like boulder jumping than hiking.

We're getting closer to the top, out of the woods, to see our first good view of the valley.

Looking back, or rather down, you can see more hikers, a mountain meadow and the timberline.

Looking up you see the hardest part of the trail, almost straight up and NO air.
To the side you see the most beautiful field of alpine flowers.

Which deserves more than one photo.
A mini-bear flying across the rocks.

David teaching geology.

Ed teaching geology.

A grand view for all the scouts that made it to the top.

This scout was twirling his hiking stick like a samuri sword!

Craig, David, Ed - geologists. Ed works with the scout staff enabling the many geologists to come and volunteer to teach the scouts about some of the incredible geology on Philmont Ranch.

Panoramic view from Baldy.

The best looking geologist at camp.

Ed holding a stingerless bee.

Taking a break between groups of scouts.

Our third trip to Baldy and the first time we stayed longer than 15 minutes on top. Usually, the weather gets bad with winds and lightning.

Hikers in the meadow, used my 300mm lens.

If you're going to bring the big lens, you gotta use the big lens.

Group picture with David and Ed. The only picture of Craig and I together on Baldy.

A staff member and her sister made a "quick" hike to the top of Baldy and while resting were privilaged to have three top geologists to answer their questions.

Waiting for the last round of hikers to make it to the top.

Yes, it really is that steep.

Trying not to roll down over Craig.

An old cabin.

We love this part of the trail, we think of it as walking on carpet, and yes, it's that steep.

More steepness.

It's amazing how the roots of this tree are hanging on to the side of the mountain.

We met Mark, who was hiking up to get some cell phone connection. It was a good spot for geology. Click on the picture to better see the turquoise ground.

They are sitting on copper minerals, all over the ground.

Evidence of some mining.

It was the best day all week, weatherwise, and we were fortunate to have climbed Baldy. The other days did not offer such wonderful weather.