August 2014
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Philmont – Day 6 – Comanche Peak Camp

There was some rain last night and a lot of gear is wet. Some of us attempted to get from our camp to the staff cabin to watch the sunrise. I was a little late getting up to the see the sunrise as the previous mornings had just been cloudy. There was better color in the sky as I started down the trail to the staff cabin. However, I did get a picture of the sun behind the clouds.

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With a little sun, it was a chance to try to charge up some batteries. We had a little time this morning to so out came the solar panels.

The sun was also a welcome participant in the morning to hopefully dry up the tent a little before packing it for the days travel.

As today was the day we were going to travel to a dry camp, one with water anywhere close, we chose to cook our dehydrated dinner for breakfast. As we waited for the water to boil, we broke down camp. As we broke down camp, more things ended up in the sun.

That process continued and things moves to anywhere the sun would shine. The less water on the gear makes the backpack lighter. I would rather carry the water needed at the dry camp in a water container rather than in all my gear.

We got on the trail later than we wanted. However we made good time.

We also stopped at a picture spot where we stopped in 2011.

Looking at the picture from 2011 you can see Baldy Mountain in the distance as well as two of the young men that went in 2011 that are on this trek.

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On many of the trails we need to cross bridges. This is one good example of a simple bridge on our way to Comanche Camp.

As we hiked the sun was being threatened by the clouds. Knowing that the moisture was coming from Mexico in the south and the clouds were moving in a northern direction, we knew we may be in for some bad weather.

The clouds were getting closer to us. Fairly soon, we would lose the sun for the day.

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We made it to Thunder Ridge for lunch. Thunder Ridge is called that because it is one of the places at Philmont that sees a lot of lightning. As we ate lunch it started to sprinkle and we put on our raingear as well as made sure our packs were covered.

A couple of days ago, I really did not get the moss. Now that we were hiking through a damp cloud in drizzly weather with high humidity, I get the moss. It is just hanging our looking for a little sun or some moist cloud to keep it doing what it does best, hanging out.

As we continued to climb the switchbacks up to Comanche Camp we were not happy about getting all laden with moisture as we had dried out much of our gear earlier in the morning. When we arrived, the first thing we did was set up the dining fly. That would give us a place to keep dry.

We started to look for dry wood to get a fire started. That was a difficult task as everything was so damp. It was about four and we saw a spot of sunshine in the camp. Out from under the dining fly we emerged to stand in the sun. The problem was that when it stopped raining, the trees kept dripping and they never really stopped by the time it rained again. There is nothing better than a spot of sun in the afternoon.

I decided I was going to set up my tent. It was lightly raining again and I felt it was best to just get it done. Some thought that we should wait until later in the evening as the rain typically slows down. As for the thunderstorms, the pretty much fade away by six or seven at worst. I just did not get the feeling that this was the typical thunderstorm. I thought it was just a bunch of heavy clouds that wanted to dump on us.

We had all set up our tents and we were back under the dining fly. We collected some wood. We had whittled what damp wood we could from the sticks we found to get to dry wood. However, now it was now raining fairly hard and no one wanted to get out in the rain to try to start a fire. In fact it kept raining moderately to heavy now and then. It was much better to sit under the dining fly.

We prepared for the night, brushing our teeth and pulling any smellables in our packs out and putting them in the bear bag. We also had our usual roses, buds and thorns as well as a spiritual message from our Chaplin’s Aid and a presentation on invasive species from out Wilderness Gila. Soon enough it was a dash to the tents through the rain to try and get a good night’s sleep.

As for the flora today, we have Fireweed and Scarlet Paintbrush to lead off the flowers. Of course the flowers are followed by the Saprophytic Wildflower section and then the fungus section.

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Saprophytic Section – For this section we have Pinesap, a waxy while, flushy herb. Pinesap lacks chlorophyll so it is not the green plants in the picture. Pinesap obtains its nutrients from decaying organic material in the soil.

And of course the Fungus Section.


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