Philmont Trek 708-A-3
Watchung Area Council Contingent
July 7 - 21, 1979
Day 5 on the Trail : July 13, 1979
Black Mountain Camp to Porcupine Camp
Today we had to pick up food for the next few days at Phillips Junction. From there we were to go to Porcupine Camp, which was unstaffed. An unstaffed camp has no program and, obviously, no staff, and usually no facilities.
We left Black Mountain on the trail we came in on, and turned when we reached the trail to Phillips Junction. This new trail first followed Bonita Creek, up to Beaubien (bow-bee-en) Camp. We then went almost a mile when we came to Apache Creek. This creek would lead us to Phillips Junction.
Friz told us that Phillips Junction had a trading post and a commissary. We sped up our pace.
The trail was in a deep ravine, with steep rock walls on either side. I looked straight up and saw a clear, deep blue sky.
We arrived at Phillips Junction at around twelve o’clock. Sitting on the porch of the trading post was Drew Flohn, grinning. Since there was no program at Porcupine, it didn’t matter what time we got there, so we took our time. We ate lunch and picked up our food for the next three or four days. After all the food was packed, we went to the trading post.
As I stepped inside, I was taken aback by the amount of merchandise they had. There were glass cases with knives, matches, match cases and several other things needed for comfortable backpacking. I bought a Philmont t-shirt and some powdered Gatorade. Gatorade has practically no taste if you drink it without having done anything strenuous, but if you were sweating profusely, Gatorade is the best thirst-quencher there is.
I also purchased a fishing license, a hand line and some hooks. I was planning on doing some recreational fishing in a stream no wider than a yard. I also bought two rolls of film.
We were preparing to leave for Porcupine Camp when a dark cloud loomed overhead and it started to pour. We dashed for cover, but we all got soaked anyway. We had just reached the shelter when the rain stopped. We put on our packs and left for Porcupine Camp.
As we hiked, we steamed dry. The ground was already dry. We were dry. I was beginning to wonder if it really rained.
Along the trail to Porcupine Camp we followed Rayado Creek. For a long stretch of the trail there were signs of beaver activity, with trees chewed on and chewed down. We didn’t locate a dam, but we were sure beavers were around. (Looking back at this picture years later, it does not appear to be beaver damage, and due to the size of the stream, it is unlikely that there were any beavers there.)
We arrived at Porcupine Camp in about thirty minutes. We put our packs down and looked for a decent site. We found an almost perfect camping site. The Apache Creek went through on one side, and the trail was on the other. There were evergreen trees overhead and a soft bed of pine needles underfoot.
We set up camp and then dug for worms. Scott, Greg and I got a bucketful of worms. We went upstream a little way to get away from the others. We sat and fished and chewed the fat. There were Brook Trout in the creek and they were biting. We stopped fishing after nearly three hours, enjoying every minute of it. There was only one fish big enough to eat.
We went back to the site and went out to gather firewood. I took the backpacking saw that the Watchung Council had given me for designing our contingent’s neckerchief. We ambled up to the trail we came in on and started walking until we got to a clearing on a slope with branches and fallen trees. We cut up a lot of wood and lugged it back to the site. When we got back, I started my stove and boiled some water for dinner. I walked over the stream to get water and I saw Friz eating something. I asked him what he was munching on, and he said “black ants”. I made a funny face and he said “If you bite off the head they taste like lemon drops.” I can’t write what I thought, but you can probably guess. The other members of the crew were more adventurous than I, and they tried some. Regardless of their comments about how good the ants were, I refused to eat them.
Greg and Scott prepared the fish for dinner and cooked it. I don’t like fish, so I ate the dehydrated dinner.
We finished dinner and cleanup, hung the bear bag, and relaxed. Greg, Scott and I played War for about an hour and hit the sack when it got dark. It got dark pretty early because we were in the bottom of a narrow valley.