July 9, 1977, Sat — Day 1 on the Trail, Ute Springs

Our tents at Ute Springs. Ed Snyder saw me sneak off for this shot and gave me a wave.
“Ate breakfast at the Philmont dining hall. Got to the camp at Ute Springs before lunch (3.5 miles). For lunch we had chicken salad on crackers, chocolate bar and fig bars. Went to Cimmaron Ceto for rock climbing and food. Had beef stroganoff, chocolate milkshake, banana pudding and peach cobbler for dinner. We hung a bear bag to protect against kamikaze bears. Our ranger was Mac Thigpen from Atlanta. We were talking about the bears, Monty Python and other movies. Lesko was doing his Bigfoot yells. Went to bed about 9:15 pm. “
Weighing packs before starting on the trek. It was the last chance to leave unnecessary weight at Base Camp and also evenly distribute the community items such as food, tents, and cooking gear.
Mark Rohrbach, Rick Daniels, and Scott Daniels weighing a pack
Bob Lesko, Mark Rohrbach, Ed Snyder, and Rick Daniels
First deer spotting on the trail. I had never seen a deer so exposed in the sunlight before. That’s because deer in Pennsylvania that aren’t stealthy don’t survive through hunting season.
Jeep Trail to Ute Springs
Two more deer on the way to Ute Springs. I soon stopped wasting film on deer pictures since they were a common sight.
Arrival at Ute Springs. Everyone’s pants hung more loosely nine days later at the end of the trek.
Bob Lesko rock climbing at Cimmaron Ceto.

2017 Commentary

My memory is that the Philmont Rangers nicknamed the Ute Springs campground ‘Bear Springs’ because of the propensity for bears to visit. None of us heard anything during the night but there were fresh bear tracks around our tents the next morning. Everything they wanted to eat was hung safely in the bear bags so the bears didn’t bother us. We became bear bag believers that morning and always hung them as soon as dinner was cleaned up.

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