Boy Scout Troop 68, Melrose, MN

About Us Advancement Campfire Favorites Games High Adventure Newsletters Order of the Arrow Rosters
Site Map Tests Yearly Highlights Yearly Programs Wallpaper
Message Board E-mail Us Links

Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68:
1986 Philmont Journal
Page 5
August 9
    This morning we went back to the campfire ring. The staff had the branding irons heated red hot and were branding boots, shoes, and packs. One kid even tried having his hat branded. The Scouts were allowed to try branding their own equipment. Meanwhile, while the brands were in the fire being reheated between brands, the staff told stories of the history of branding and what the different markings meant.
    Several of us tried our hand at lassoing a steer. Of course, we did not try to lasso real cattle. We tried to rope us some metal practice steers which were pivoted on a post in the ground.
    We left Clark’s Fork after lunch. Today’s hike would take us to Window Rock, down into Hidden Valley, and end at Ute Springs Camp. The journey would take us by one lowland area and by the Cimarroncito Reservoir. At least, that is what our map told us.
    I do not recall any lowland area that day.
    I do recall the reservoir quite clearly though. The trail did not go through the clearing as the map had shown. It wound its way just inside the tree line that surrounded the clearing.

    The Scouts looked over the grassy meadow that lay between us and the reservoir. Suddenly, the trail which lay ahead us us was forgotten as the water to our right seemed to cast a spell upon the crew. They seemed to have forgotten about the camp’s rule (always use the trails) as they took off running across the meadow with forty pound packs on their backs. I tried to tell them that the trail would take us to the water, that we did not have to cut across the meadow, but it all fell on deaf ears.
    The sight of a body of water larger then a cooking pot seemed to be too much for the five boys from the land of 10,000 lakes,  who have not seen so much as a pond for the picture of my over joyous crew before I joined them in their mad race toward the water.
    The reservoir water level was quite a bit lower then it had been two years ago.  I had passed this very spot on my way to the hunting lodge when I was in Philmont for training in 1984.
    By the time I caught up with the crew most of the packs were paying on the ground.  One scout wanted to know if he could go swimming but I vetoed that idea.  We rested for a while before we began the climb up Cathedral Rock, which sat on the other side of the reservoir.
    Window Rock is just around the bend from Cathedral Rock.  Window Rock received its name after Waite Phillips built the Villa Philmonte.  This lofty peak could be seen from the circular window of the Villa library, thus giving it its name.  The view from Window Rock was another surprisingly beautiful one.  Before us lay the plains of the House Ridge, upon which the Philmont HQ and tent city were built.  Our crew joined the PA crew in a break to rest and explore the nooks and crannies of the rocks.  Then it was a couple miles through Hidden Valley until we reached our next camp, Ute Springs.

    Ute Springs Camp was the smallest of the various camps at which we stayed.  The site we chose was quite small.  A little trickle of a stream bordered the east side.  The south and west sides were rimmed by steep hills.  The sloped gradually upward toward larger site which the PA group was using.  The stream had to be crossed to get back to the trail from the site.
    Ute Springs was so small that we decided to leave the tents packed and sleep under the dining fly.  By adding a tent fly to each end of the dining fly we increased the sheltered area enough for everyone to sleep under and have enough room left to store out packs.  It was pretty nice little idea.
    A commissary and trading post was located a half mile down the main trail from the camp.  We collected our next four day s worth of trail food there.  Most everyone also stocked up on batteries and junk food.
    The scouts had a surprise for me when we got to camp.  The commissary had a “swap box,” placed outside the door.  Crews could swap food they did not care for for foods that other crews had left behind. When I was not watching the Scouts traded some of the food we didn’t like. In the trade they picked up a couple of boxes of tomato flavored cup-a-soup since they knew there were some meals coming up that I did not care to eat. I thought to myself that this act of consideration was quite thoughtful of the guys. It also restored my confidence in them regarding thinking about others.
    The campfire program we held at Ute Springs was quite unique from others we had held. We set the stage for a reunion of our crew members which was to be held in twenty years at this very campsite. Each person would give an account of the last twenty years of his life. All life accounts had to be fairly believable.

    Scott volunteered to be the first Scout to arrive for the reunion. According to the scenario, he had already made camp by the time the rest of us had arrived, one by one.
    The guys were a bit confused as to how they should enter camp as if twenty years had past so I set the stage by entering the campsite “first”. Brian came in next. Jeff and Robert came in together having met along the way. Gerry was the last to arrive. When he walked into camp we all busted out laughing. He looked and walked exactly the way his father does. It was uncanny. We exchanged greetings and handshakes as each person arrived. Each of us found a place to sit around the campfire. Then the stories began.
    Gerry was the first to tell about his life “since he left the troop.” When his wife received the invitation in the mail regarding the reunion she had had to contact him at his archeological dig in Africa. He left the dig site, and the 500 workers, in the care of his assistants. Gerry’s wife had already written two lusty novels and was currently working on a third. Her first novel, Sex Under The Eucalyptus Tree, was a bestseller. They have son, who they have named Gerry.
    Brian is a staff sergeant in the army. He is currently stationed in West Germany. He has fifteen years of military experience and plans to retire from the army in other five years. He hopes to receive a government job after his stay with the army. Brian has remained unmarried and has no children.
    I live in California with my wife and four children, three boys and one girl. My sons, ages 15, 13, and 9, are all involved with Scouting. I hold the committee chairperson position of their troop. Several years ago, I sold my shares in the three lumber years I had a partnership in, and started producing movies. My first films, Rocks Of The Piedmont and The Red Bandana, broke even at the box office. The next project I will work on involves the adventures of a troop of Boy Scouts.
    Robert has chosen Montana as his home. He and his wife are raising two children, and boy and a girl. Robert has always been interested in cars. His automobile collection includes fifteen cars, one of which is a Lambourgine(?). His three auto body shops keep him quite busy.
    Jeff is still unmarried. Ann, his girlfriend while he was a Scout, dropped him in his senior year for a basketball player. Florida is were Jeff calls home. He works at a school for handicapped children where he receives a lot of pleasure from working with the kids. He has adopted two children, one boy and one girl. Both kids are handicapped. Jeff spends as much time with them as he can. They often go to amusement parks, museums, or other fun places in his 1986 black Jaguar.
    Scott, his wife, son, and daughter have made a home in Texas. He owns his own architectural firm which is doing quite well.

    It will be interesting to look each other up in twenty years and see how close these predictions came to real life.
    Tonight it was Jeff’s turn for the first bear watch. Robert agreed to stand watch with Jeff if Jeff would do the same for him. They woke me up at 11:00 for my turn. I was tired, and did not want to get up, so I traded watches with Robert as long as he was already up anyway. 
    Thirty minutes later our camp was hit by a downpour. Jeff and Robert scrambled for shelter under the fly. Within minutes small streams were flowing down the hills, and we were in their paths. Everyone was moving gear and sleeping bags to drier spots. The plastic ground clothes were repositioned to to keep the water from flowing over them.
    Gerry missed it all. Once again he was un-wake-able. He never saw the rivers of water as they past below our plastic sheets on their way to the stream on our east side. 
    Fifteen minutes later I too was asleep. Needless to say, bear watches were canceled for the rest of the night.

August 10

    As we expected, Our gear was drenched in the morning.Within a few minutes over two hundred feet of rope was stretched between the trees. Sleeping bags, foam pads, clothes and ground clothes were hung on every available foot of line. We waited as long as we could before repacking it, but it was not long enough to dry everything completely. There was a good chance that we would be sleeping in damp bags tonight.
    The itinerary for today will take us from Ute Springs, to the Ute Park Pass, by the Devil’s Wash Basin, and into Upper Bench Camp.
    Near the Devil’s Wash Basin the trail split into two directions, one going north, the other east. A short distance down the east trail was a camp called Deer Lake Mesa. Near this camp was a spring, according to the map. Since we were in need of water, Jeff and Robert volunteered to run to this spring to fill our nearly empty canteens.
    While they were gone, the rest of us decided to eat lunch. The crew from Pennsylvania joined us when they arrived. By the time our two water boys returned we were nearly finished with our meal.
During this time we had noticed that the sky was becoming darker with storm clouds. After a brief discussion, we decided that Scott, Gerry, Brian, and I would would head out, try to arrive at Upper Bench Camp before the storm, and get camp set up. Jeff and Robert would catch up with us when they had finished eating.

    We marched as fast as we could along the rough trails, but it was not fast enough. Within thirty minutes of leaving Jeff and Robert behind the downpour began. By the time we reached camp we were soaked to the skin. At one point when the rain let up a bit we quickly pitched the dining fly so we would at least have someplace to stand and sit out of the cold rainfall. Jeff and Robert joined us just as we finished setting up the fly.
    So there we were, sitting on our packs and gear, cold and shivering, waiting for the rain to subside. I had to admit that we looked pretty pathetic at the moment.
No one wasted any time setting up the tents when the shower became a sprinkle. Within minutes we were all in our sleeping bags which, of course, were still slightly damp. After a few more minutes we were all sleeping peacefully.
    At six o’clock we got up to make supper. The rain had stopped but the sky still threatened to drench us again. We hung some clothes line once again in an attempt to dry some more gear. We went to bed at 9:00.
    The first bear watch shift for the evening was mine. Brian shared the watch with me. Scott was next in line but when we woke him up at 10:30 he decided to exchange shifts with Brian. Brian and I stayed on shift until midnight.
    While we stood around the campfire I put on my damp jeans and stood next to the fire in hope that they would dry. The sky cleared up around 11:00 and the cold air moved in. This night was the coldest night we spend on the trail. Most of us shivered in our sleeping bags as we slept in the damp things.

End of Page 5.

This journal was written by Steve Borgerding and is his property. 
No part of this journal may be used without his written consent.
He can be reached through the web master of this site.

1986 Philmont Journal:

Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8

1986 Philmont gallery

Go back to top of page.