How far is it?

Under the Dining Fly

It was our third night on the trail at Philmont.  We had hiked into Harlan Camp from Dean Cow that afternoon.  It was a monster hike taking us out of Dean canyon, under the highway, over the Cimarron river and then back up through Vaca Camp and then into Harlan.  We got into camp with enough time for the crew to reload shot-gun shells and then shoot some.  After camp was set up and dinner cooked, it was time for the Burro racing event and then settling into our nightly in camp routine.  Part of that routine was our nightly round of Roses, Thorns, and Buds.  A great time of reflection and a nice time to get something off your chest.  By day three on the trail we were all dealing with what they call “Day Three syndrome” at Philmont.  In reality it didn’t really hit our crew that hard, but the back to back long days and lots of miles were taking its toll on the crew this evening.
After the Burro racing, the crew made its way back to camp and got the “oops bag” hung.  As was the common trend the rain was heading in for the evening.  We dodged it on the hike that day, but the clouds rolled in quick and it began to thunder.  The crew thought it may be a good idea to do Roses and Thorns under the dinning fly.  Now if you have never been to Philmont you may be thinking pop up or big tarp.  Nay Nay.. at Philmont the dining fly is about 3 feet off the ground.  It is a 12 X 12 tarp with grommets all around.  It is pitched low using trekking poles.  It is the first thing to be set up in camp and is the host of the crews toilet paper for those trips to the Red Roof Inn in the middle of the night.
Needless to say it is a tight fit when you get a whole crew under the fly… but we did it.  We got under right as the rain started.
And it rained, hard.  And the thunder boomed, and then the lightning started.  A spectacular show of light in the sky.  The crashing of the thunder kept the Scouts of the crew oohing and awhing why we shared our Roses and Thorns.  The show really picked up as we wrapped up our nightly discussion, but the rain was telling us to stay put.  So, as darkness fell on our camp, the jokes added to the symphony in the sky.  All the while one member of our crew took the time to count the flash to boom.  Announcing each lightning strike with the distance.  It started to get funny as the distance announcement seemed to always follow the punch line of a joke.  Then, just when we thought the laughter could not get more loud, here came the gas.  Yep, whatever we had for dinner started to revisit us in the form of an aroma that would gag a skunk.
And the rain kept coming down, harder still and the lightning became more frequent.  And then it was a flash of light, a boom of thunder, a fart, and .. “Wow!  That one was 1 mile away”.    Then again, a flash, a boom, a fart… “Wow that one was 6 miles away!”.. and then a Flash, a boom, a fart.. and another voice chimed in.. “Wow! That one was three feet away!”  An eruption of laughter!  It was laughter that I had not heard in years.  The crew laughed so hard most of us were in tears.
Then silence.  Just the sound of rain on the tarp, the crash of thunder, and the sighs of a group of backpackers that were having the time of their lives.
We laid there under that tarp for another hour or so and finally it was time to get to our tents.  The rain never let up that night and as we climbed into our sleeping bags the only sound we heard besides the rain was voices from inside the tents looking forward to another great day on the trail at Philmont.
It started to sprinkle here today, for just a minute.  And just for a minute I thought of that night at Harlan camp.  A flash, a boom, and a fart.. How far was that?
          Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Categories: Backpacking, Camping, Just fun, Philmont, stories | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “How far is it?

  1. Phil Pec

    It’s times like these that keep us going. If we were only in it for the weekly Troop meetings, we’d never survive. My wife and I have had many a times, just like this, sharing in the adventure with these young men. Reading your story brought a smile to my face as I know how you must have felt as I’ve been in that spot before too. Well done sir. Keep up the great work.

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