July 2011
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Philmont - Day 3 - Indian Writings

Day Three of our trek started fairly early. We did not have to travel far so we were not up at the break of dawn. It always seemed that the sky was a lot clearer than the evening before. There was no way of telling what type of weather was going to show up in the afternoon.

After breakfast we began picking up camp. We were ready to leave, had out packs on and were doing a sweep for trash when we had some visitors. Four dear came lumbering through our camp.

As we left camp we headed south to the well to get more water. It was a solar powered pump that put the water in a big tank with a hose bib on the front. We each filled up a liter bottle and put a water treatment tablet in the bottle with the water.

We then headed north, leaving Anasazi and heading towards Indian Writings. We did not travel very far before we started seeing campsites for Indian Writings. It was about a half mile further to the staff cabin. Once we got to the staff cabin we had to wait our turn for our porch talk.

Once on the porch, we learned what things there were to do in the area. We also learned that there were mountain lions that were active as well. If you needed to go to the bathroom or use a rock as we called it, because you peed on a rock, you needed to take not only a buddy, but two more people between dusk and dawn for a total of four people.

We got our campsite assigned to us and decided to stay in the staff cabin area for lunch. As we returned to our pack line, another crew member was shooing away a chipmunk, or more affectionately known as a mini-bear. He told us that the mini-bear had his cheeks full as he ran off. He had found the trail mix that one of the boys had brought along. Mini-bears as well as real bears do not use zippers; they use the tools that they have. In the case of the mini-bear, it chewed a hole in the pack to get to the trail mix.

After throwing away the trail mix we all got out the lunch for the afternoon. Because we were staying in the area, we ate at the picnic table behind the staff cabin. It was a nice change from eating while sitting on the ground.

After lunch we were off to our first activity, Archeology. The dig area was an old dumpsite for trash. The site was actually over 50 years old so what is found is considered to be historic artifacts. The person giving the talk to the boys showed them some of the things that have been found.

After digging in the dig zone, the dirt is then screened in case there is something small that was missed. The boys found pieces of plant material and burnt remains of wood.

Next up was the Indian writings. We grabbed our packs as the tour if you will was going south towards our campsite. There was thunder and lightning and some rain as we walked. It was actually nice because it cooled the air. As we hiked up and looked at the walls of the canyon there were several writings that we saw. The same canyon walls our friend the mountain lion lurked on looking for its midnight snack.

There was even a ceremonial structure that was found as well as evidence of old Indian dwellings.

Even rarer on the trip at this time was a smile from Jacob that was caught on a recording device. He would smile and laugh now and then, but pull out the camera and it was the stoic look. As I looked at the picture below, it almost appears that he may have the slightest smile.

Soon enough camp was set up and it was time to prepare dinner. It seemed that things did not move as fast as they needed to. For one, boiling water takes time. So camp really got set up as the water came to a boil.

Cleanup also required hot water and the time to clean the dishes. But it was also a time to relax.

After everything was cleaned up and the bear bags were hung we made our way back north to the staff cabin area. There was a “coffee” for the leaders where coffee, hot coco or hot cider was served with cookies and sometimes doughnuts. We sat on the porch and watched the boys chuck spears using an atlatl. There was a foam mountain lion and a paper target off in the distance. Some boys had good form and could chuck the spear using the atlatl and other would have gone hungry.

We made our way back to camp to have our closing. Every night we did thorn, roses and bud. We told of a torn or something that we did not like for the day, roses, things that we liked and bud, something we were looking forward to tomorrow. For one boy his thorn was the same for the second day, it was the rain. For some, the rain was a rose. Soon enough it was time to turn in and dream about things other than bears and mountain lions. But first, as it was after dark, there was a large contingent looking for a rock.

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