September 2013
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Indian Head

After a fairly good night sleep it was time to get up. I have always enjoyed the mornings as there is a certain peace in the forest before others are up and around. After going to Philmont Scout Ranch a couple of years ago, Jacob and I learned to keep our backpacks away from where we slept. If we were visited by a large furry creature, I would rather have it sniffing at a distance that inside my vestibule of my tent.

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For cooking and playing games last night, we had a nice table. As I was up early, I heated water for the group. The fire ring was something that we could not use due to fire danger.

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After breakfast a couple of us did a little more fishing in the creek. The favorite place was a small pool formed as the water ran over a big rock with the addition of overhanging branches. While we were on our hike, one person from our party got a little too close to the edge trying to retrieve his fishing fly.

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Jacob and I decided to go for a hike to Indian Head five miles away. The trail was from our location on the Long Canyon Creek and up through Beer Keg Meadow to Redrock Meadows and then on up to Indian Head. We made fairly good time to Beer Keg Meadow as we were there the day before and knew the trail. From there on out we were in territory new to us.

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Of course Jacob was moving faster than me. He usually hikes ahead and then finds a place to wait. I was moving along and heard a big thud behind me. I turned around and there was Jacob setting on a log. I had walked past him. I went back and took a picture as the sun was east of him and we were headed north west.

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We came to a meadow area and I snapped a picture as Jacob began to put some distance between us. Things were a little dry. However, the also looked a little refreshed from the rain we had the day before.

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The landscape has the contrast of new growth and survivors against those that did not survive the fire. There was a mountainside that looked like it lost all its trees to the south of us.

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We continued on until we arrived at the Redrock Meadows area. There is a trail junction there and a sign.

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Jacob and I decided that it was best to put the sign back in its proper place. We broke out the bright orange trowel and dug a little in the center of the rock pile, moved a few things around and put the sign in its place. We checked the map to make sure all trail sign were headed the right directions. There was a small holding coral and what looked like an old ranch cabin in the same area. Soon enough it was time to move out of the Redrock meadows area and work our way up to Indian Head.

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We started up the trail and noticed a deer in the meadow through the trees. This was the second deer that we had seen this morning. Jacob tried to sneak up and take a picture. We were downwind of the deer so our scent would not be a problem. However, as Jacob got closer, the deer detected our movement through the trees. We got back on the trail, which used a little more thought than usual for the area. Most of the trails we had traveled on were also used by horses and cattle. The trail from Redrock Meadows to Indian Head showed no signs of either. With the recent rains the trail was covered with pine needles and other tree debris. Other than a slight contour in the earth, on the surface it looked the same as all the ground around it. As we got closer to Indian Head, we took a picture.

Indian Head from the North

Indian Head from the North

We made our way up over the rocks. The redness of the rocks were a contrast to the lighter granite rocks that we had seen for the past couple of days. Jacob was busy looking at the rocks, the colors as well as the bright green lichens on the red rocks.

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We relaxed and had lunch on Indian Head. We noted the cones that formed on just the upper or top branches of the fir trees. That was something that we had not really noticed before as we always seem to be on the forest floor or on a peak with only a few trees around. It also was amazing how the red rock contrasted with green tees in the valley below.

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Toward the north east Kern Peak can be seen as well as the Redrock Meadows below. Looking at the map, Kern Peak is not real easy to get to as the trail comes in from the north.

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We headed back towards Redrock Meadows for our return trip. It was nice to see the area from the reverse prospective as there are always things that you do not see when you are headed one direction. At Philmont Scout Ranch one of our Rangers parting comments was, “Stop and turn around to see what you would not see unless you were headed the other direction.”

Redrock Meadows and Indian Head

Redrock Meadows and Indian Head

We made good time on our way back. Jacob quickly got back to one of his favorite places, sitting in my camp chair on a rock above our eating area. I broke out the camera and mini tripod to take a picture.

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As it was late in the afternoon we began to get things together for dinner. Jacob collected water and I cooked. As we ended dinner the sun was beginning to settle in the west. Jacob and I decided to go upon the rock south west of our camp site to watch the sun go down. The clouds in the west added to the opportunity for some color in the sky. There are two shots that I like and I could not pick one, so I put both in this post. They were taken about 10 minutes apart. We were actually beginning to go back to camp when the sky started lighting up in orange. The day was a great day and the hike was fun. Soon it would be off to a early night to turn in as we were going to arise early to make our way back to the trailhead.

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