Philmont Trek 708-A-3
Watchung Area Council Contingent
July 7 - 21, 1979

Day 6 on the Trail : July 14, 1979

Porcupine Camp to Comanche Camp

We started out at around 7:00 a.m. and we were freezing. There was a thin layer of ice on the edges of the creek. The sun didn’t shine into the valley until almost noon, and the mist that filled the valley made it feel like winter.

Today we were heading to Comanche Camp. As we hiked, we warmed up. The sun’s rays started creeping over the mountain, its heat warming the valley and dissipating the mist.

Friz kept talking about the natural herbs and edible plants. He showed us how to pull the blossom off of a thistle plant and lick the sweet nectar under the blossom. It was surprisingly good. We learned more from Friz than we ever would have from Lester.

The trail was fairly level because it followed Rayado Creek the whole way to Comanche Camp. At noon we stopped near a stream on the east side of the mountain. I got out one package of trail lunch that consisted of chicken salad, saltines, candy bars and fruit drink mix. It tasted pretty good for dehydrated food.

We passed several crews coming from the other direction. We would call out “Where’re you from?” and we got a variety of answers. We passed crews from Connecticut, New York, Colorado and California.

We arrived at Comanche Camp at around two o’clock. We made a pack line, where one pack leans against a tree or rock, and the rest are lined up behind it, kind of like a line of dominoes leaning on each other. We looked for a suitable site and found one nearly one hundred yards from the creek. There was an open field between the site and the creek, and behind the site was a steep hill.

We set up our tents and the dining fly and found our sister crew, another crew from our contingent with the same itinerary. We challenged them to a Frisbee game before dinner. They were rough, but we quit while we were ahead.

Dinner was started at around five o’clock. This meal had something like chicken in a broth with vegetables and potatoes. It was good. Scott, Greg and I did the cleanup while the others put up the bear bag. After we finished cleaning up, we wandered down to the creek with our cameras. I had a 75 – 260mm zoom lens that I borrowed and hooked it up. We crossed the creek and Scott heard a rustling in the brush. We turned around and saw a young adult buck, coat rack and all, not twenty yards from us. We knew he was young because the antlers still covered with fur. I took a few pictures while we moved toward it. We got within ten yards and it took off up a steep incline.

We walked back to camp and sat down. Everybody else was playing Frisbee, so we played War. Then the mosquitoes started on us. It was unbearable, so I went to my pack and put on my rain chaps, which are just like pant legs. It helped. We didn’t dare put on insect repellent because bears love it.

Pretty soon it got dark and I crawled into bed. Just as I was falling asleep, there came a very loud racket. I poked my head out of the tent and Drew ran up and said that our sister crew was having bear problems. I went back inside and promptly fell asleep.