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