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Timothy "Clockwise" Akin
Begins: Jun 15, 2010
Date: Sun, Jun 20th, 2010
Start: Aspen Springs Camp
End: Lamberts Mine Camp
Daily Distance: 6
Trip Distance: 23.5
Min Elevation: 7800
Max Elevation: 9347
Entry Visits: 960
Journal Visits: 2,509
Guestbook Views: 129
Guestbook Entrys: 0
Last PLB Location
A mile or so out of Aspen Springs, we arrived at the upper meadow of Cimarroncito.
(Click image for full size)
Hunting Lodge tour
As is normal, we checked in on The Porch for a briefing. The theme at Cimarroncito is Climbing and Rappelling. One look at the porch wind chime reminded us of this fact as it was constructed from a climbing hard hat strung with various jingly climbing hardware. One of the outbuildings here is a dedicated indoor climbing/bouldering facility. The staff was not very busy at this early hour, so we were offered a short bouldering program.
We put on special climbing shoes and spent close to an hour at this unofficial program. Our scheduled climbing program is to be at a place called Miners Park, which is still many days away. The boys, and I think the Advisors too, had a fine time in the climbing area hanging off the walls and ceiling.
It was a nice downhill walk to the south end of Cimarroncito's meadow and on the way we passed the conservation area where our '08 crew worked doing meadow encroachment abatement.
At the end of the meadow our trail took a hard right turn and headed upstream along Cimarroncito Creek. Before continuing though, we had an opportunity to tour one of the three most historic structures at Philmont, Wait Phillip's Hunting Lodge. The other two being the Villa and Fishcamp.
The Hunting Lodge was partialy restored in 1993, but the building still contains all the character of its' past. This was the destination for many dignitaries after being outfitted at the Villa for a backcountry hunting experience. Hanging on the walls here, are many game trophies. Bear, antelope, mountain lion, fox, deer and coyote among them. The wood fired stove was being employed to bake biscuits for visiters and I must say, they were very tasty. The tour was quite enjoyable, and I am very glad our youth took my advice to stop here.
We continued hiking up the Middle Fork drainage toward our trail camp at Lambert Mine. We crossed Cimarroncito Creek many times by rock-hopping as we followed it upstream. The boys spotted many small brook trout as we hiked along.
Lamberts Mine is a Trail Camp, so there are no services here. The stream is our water source and the pilot to bombardier latrine is not too far down a small path.
Our official program today was located over the hill at Cypher's Mine. After a quick lunch, we hung our food, set up our tents and prepared for a dayhike over to Cypher's for blacksmithing and gold panning.
After a 35 minute, we arrived at Cypher's Mine. The Blacksmithing program was booked up, so we signed up for a 5PM tour of the mine. We had some time to pan for gold in the stream while waiting for our tour. As we panned for our riches, two things became very clear to me. Panning is backbreaking work and, since I didn't see any staff members in the creek, the easy gold is gone. After about an hour and a half of this foolishness, we returned our empty pans and headed for the Contention Mine.
We met our guide at the mine entrance, a horizontal shaft complete with rail track and ore cars. Our guide stumped us with what should have been an easy question for us Californian's. "Where and when was the first gold discovered in America"? We all thought this to be some sort of trick question and were tempted to shout out, "Sutter's mill, January 1848"! But in all of America? Cortez maybe? No one spoke. We froze. We were given hints, "a San Francisco football team?" Silence. Finally, one of our brave crew spoke tentatively, "Sutter's mill?" We all had a good laugh as we shared the history of our home town with our staff guide.
The mine tour was a great success as our guide regaled us of the history here, and a little bit creepy too after being primed with ghost stories on the way in. Arriving at the end of mine, deep inside the mountain, our guide told us another creepy story about how, if you listen carefully, you can sometimes hear the whispers of long dead miners who were trapped after cave-ins. We dowsed our lights for the 400 foot walk out in total blackness. Neat tour.
Dinner back at our campsite included an apple cobbler mix. As the hour was getting late, we thought it would be fun to save our cobbler for the top of Mt. Phillips tomorrow. Should be tasty!
typoed on my iPhone at Philmont
Philmont Scout Ranch is located near Cimarron, NM. 137,000 acres of land owned/operated by the Boy Scouts of America. We will be hiking Itinerary 19, about 66 miles during a 12-day trek. Crew #616-E-2010