10 August 2010

Potty talk

For those who were curious about life on the trail, I just wanted to enlighten everyone as to some of the logistics when hiking the trails & back woods at Philmont.  

Bear bags - yes there are bears at Philmont.  Actually, there are a lot of wildlife you may encounter out on the trail - deer, raccoon, bobcat, skunk, bear, but the most prevalent are "mini-bears" (aka Chipmunks).  Sneaky little critters who have been at Philmont for decades, so they know how things run.  They know that young scouts tend to carry tasty treats in their packs and, if you are patient enough, someone will leave there gear lying around for you to explore.  Mini-bears are notorious for chewing through a backpack in search of food. 

Because of occasional bear are always trying to forage for food, everyone is trained to hang all "smellables" up at night.  Bears are attracted to certain sweet smells like food, powdered drink mix, deodorant, bug spray, sunscreen, toothpaste, soap, etc.  Even things like film, medicine, batteries & duct tape have a certain smell that seems to attract bears.  Anything that falls in to the "smellable" category, goes up in the bear bag at night.  Surprisingly, a bunch of smelly, dirty scouts don't attract much attention.  When in doubt, put it in the bear bag at night.  The one thing you don't want to deal with at night is having a bear think your tent is a pinata.   


Now, let's discuss facilities.  Some asked the question what we do on the trail without running water.  Philmont is not a bunch of scouts running around digging cat holes all over the ranch (although, sometimes you have to answer the call of nature if you are on the trail between camps).   

Red Roof Inn @ Lover's Leap camp

A lot of the "finer establishments" are the Red Roof Inns.  These permanent outhouses come in either single or double occupancy.  Most are located adjacent to camps and are build out of cedar and red tile shingles.  Definitely first class accommodations on the trail. 
Older Red Roof Inn @ Clear Creek camp

One thing you might notice is the preponderance of sticks around the outside of the inn. Those are there for a purpose. The trick we are taught that sometimes, out in the back country, small critters (aka spiders) love to find places to hide out and you need to take a stick to kinda, clear the landing zone before your approach. 
Pilot to Bombardier @ Crooked Creek camp

When you get away from the main camp and deep into the back woods, then you find some of the more basic models available.  They typically come in three versions: 
  1. Pilot (single seater) - typically a simple box with seat/lid
  2. Pilot to Co-Pilot (double seater) - typically a larger box with two seats side-by-side
  3. Pilot to Bombardier (double seater) - typically a larger box with two seats back to back. 

Another Pilot to Bombardier @ Cypher's Mine camp
And, yes, that is perched on the side of a hill 30 feet up

One might note that a few of these "facilities" do lack for a bit of privacy.  While they are not right out alongside the trail, some are located in areas that might afford you a grand view of things.  I do recall one or two that had a spectacular view of the mountains.  Sorta gives new meaning to "front row seating". 
PTB @ Cimaroncito camp

PTB @ Tooth of Time camp


meleah rebeccah said...

I dont think I could EVER use one of those!

terri said...

I could NOT ... err.... do my business.... in one of those things. No way. No how. Guess I'm not an outdoors-woman.