Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Few Days Off

Well it's been a while since I've taken the time to update anything here. It's not just that I haven't had time, but also a lack of internet access and any actual new content. I haven't been able to take any pictures since my camera broke on Rayado. I've taken it apart several times to try and clean it out (I suspect that dust got into the gear mechanism that controls the zoom lens) but I don't think that I can do much more. My last attempt required a smaller screwdriver than I had. Having already mostly stripped the screw I gave up for the time being. While storing it, I dropped a component that was connected to the main board and ripped off two soldered connections. I may still be able to fix it, but chances are looking slim, and I'll definitely need a soldering iron, which I don't have out here. Anyway long story short, I don't have a camera and the one that my parents brought down here I left in the car. That means that since I'm only out here for less than two weeks, I probably won't get another camera before the summer's over.

Since there won't be any new pictures, I've been working on some of the other parts of the site. The map page has been updated with all of my travels and I'm working on getting up a few new panoramas. I'm still trying to work on a Rayado episode so we'll just have to see if that ever turns out. But enough with the site, on to the actual events of the summer...

The Texas crew turned out to be alright as my crews always seem to do. They were on a super strenuous itinerary and I know that one of the advisors had to be taken off the trail about halfway through. They hiked in off the Tooth today, so I'll probably see them around here.

The three days off with the family were fun. They were surprised to see me with facial hair. We went into Taos and saw Ratatouille which was pretty cool. The next day we went up and rode on the scenic railroad that goes along the New Mexico and Colorado border. That was a lot of fun, but I got an ember in my eye that has been bugging me for a few days. The last day we went up to the sand dunes and took a jeep tour of the backcountry. It was better than the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland! I should know all about driving on backcountry roads, but it seems that I don't do much riding on the roads out here, just hiking. The last night we spent at the St. James Hotel. Kyle and I got to sleep in the Jessie James room which was definitely an experience. It was a fun three days, but I would have liked to have remembered to get the camera and not have forgotten my old smellable nalgene at the Taos hotel.

I took out one more crew since my days off. They were from New York and we went from Lover's Leap up to Crater Lake. They were a great crew, my first one that didn't use turkey bags. Crater Lake was having their Phil-Fiesta which meant a lot of food and a really great campfire that night. On my hike in, I ventured up to the eye of Uracca Mesa, which is supposed to be haunted. I didn't have any supernatural experiences, although I did have to chase down my T.P. as it rolled within a foot of the cliff while I was taking a dump.

I had a day off today, so last night I went into Taos and saw the new Harry Potter film. It was ok, but not having read the book I can't really judge it. I just didn't feel like enough happened in the film. Afterwards, I went up to McCrystal campground in the Valle. This morning I visited Whiteman Vega, the last staff camp I hadn't visited. They have a great view up there and I played a round of obstacle course croquet with the staff before leaving. I got back to Philmont in time to drop off my car at the Zastrow turnaround and catch the 1:00 bus back to base. My plan is to do the ranger marathon on my next hike in, something I've never been able to work out logistically before. Hopefully that will go well. I pick up my next crew tomorrow and were doing the infamous Anazazi - Indian Writings run. The whole two days with the crew totals something less than four miles, so it's a pretty short hike. From there the plan is to go up to Dan Beard and then all the way down to Carson Meadows. Coming from I.W. adds a few miles but in this long of a day, I'm not sure if it will matter that much. We'll just have to see. All together it will total over 30 miles, but it's one of those things that all the great rangers just seem called to do.

Well that should have me pretty well caught up now. I think I'm going to go see the closing campfire tonight since I haven't seen that yet this year. I guess I'll write again once I get back off the trail. Until then...

- Drew