|The Tooth of Time.|
|Like my second canvas backpack|
Philmont was difficult, beautiful, and fantastic, and it rained all day for the final 3 days. At some point, a few days before this, we had descended into a high mountain valley surrounded with purple peaks. A stream gurgled through the grass, the pinion pines were swaying with the breeze and the old log cabin sitting just inside the trees waited for me to stop! I sat down in the grass by the trail, pack, pack frame and all, and watched the patrol march away. They were only gone a couple of minutes but I swear I could hear my own heartbeats in the peace. I laid back against my pack and watched the clouds swirl by overhead, listened to dragon flies beat closer and then further away, inhaled the grass and the pine scent and found myself lost there in that singular moment of now. I wanted to live there in the old cabin, cutting and splitting wood daily for fire and heat, farming the land for food and help teaching new skills to the scouts who hiked by. I needed nothing else, and wanted nothing else.
|My third bacpack|
That canvas pack was replaced a few years after college by my first orange nylon "Skyline" type-pack with a frame (and a waist belt) and it carried me and my gear all over Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina. The next pack was blue and it carried me to Colorado also, but was way too top-heavy for the on-the-edge-of-the-cliff-face trails like Phantom Terrace in the Sangre de Cristos and the Chinese Wall in the Flat Tops Wilderness.
|My fourth backpack|
|I earned this!|
I pulled out my Philmont map a few years ago and traced our hike across the 214 square miles of the oldest still-in-almost-one-piece Mexican land grant. I remembered climbing the huge boulders up to the Tooth of Time rock outcropping, overlooking tent city and the rest of Philmont far below while watching the lightning and the storms come close. We watched virga, where the rain never reached the valley floor below. It reached us though and never let up until we were somewhere in Texas returning on the bus four days later. If you can't tell, I had the time of my life!
Several of these hikes are burned into my mind clearer than most of my last winter's hikes and some trails are long forgotten. We'll discuss more of the past another time. I'll follow my own advice and make some new hikes now. Only lighter.