Philmont - Days 7-8
Day 7 was going to be an easy day for us, it was a short 4.5-mile hike and a negative elevation of 700′. We started off in the late morning and we made it to the Head of Dean in under two hours. Head of Dean is a crossroad for much of the North Country, with routes passing through from north, south, east, and west. The Head of Dean was a staff camp and the two crews camped close to each other and they hung out all day and evening long. The crews did pool noodle jousting which was fun and other similar fun activities. Dinner was combined with both crews hanging out around the empty fire pit, telling stories and joking. The tempo of the crew was more relaxed, and more fun as if the stress was over and we were on the downhill side of the trek. It was a really fun evening with both crews hanging out late into the evening.
Day 8 – Both crews got up and had breakfast around the same time and it was off to the obstacle/challenge team-building course. The crews had to accomplish team-building tasks, such as getting the entire crew over a 10′ high wall. It was to watch as the adults were not part of the course, and the boys had to work as a team which proved more difficult for the boys than for our all-female sister crew. Once the crews had completed the course, it was time to put on our packs and head to the New Dean trail camp. It was a simple 4.5-mile hike with little to no elevation change. This hike was far different than our other hikes to this point. It was mostly flat and much of the hike took the crew through the burned-out remains of the 2002 Ponil Complex fire.
The Ponil Complex Fire started on June 2, 2002, and burned until June 17. The burn zone covered 92,000 acres total; 28,000 acres of Philmont. The fire was started by a lightning strike on the evening of the 2nd of June.
It was almost like something from another planet. When we arrived at New Dean, we met up with our sister crew that had left 30 minutes prior to our departure from Head of Dean. New Dean had two very distinct campsites, each surrounded by large rocks that had been moved to make seats. The two crews worked together now and hung their bear bags up together and we hung out again much of the evening as the adults hung out at one camp and the youth at the other campsite. It was a very relaxing evening of storytelling by the adults as we heard the laughter from the youth about 20 yards away. We had to carry all of our water into New Dean as it was a dry camp.