Sunday, July 5, 2009

Criminals Afoot at Philmont Ranch

On the way to Philmont Ranch the She-wolf and I had an interesting conversation:
"I hope I have some down time so that I can ride my bike."
"Have you read the Philmont Ranch packet that I downloaded for you to read?"
"Uh, was there anything important in the packet?"
"Depends on your definition of important." The She-wolf then emphatically read the following:

"Prohited Items:

1. Firearms

2. Bicycles

3. Pets

4. Drugs and Alcohol"
And with a tone of sarcasm added, "Don't worry it's only the second prohibited item on the list. If they really wanted you to adher to this rule, they probably would have listed 'bicycles' first...besides you're the Wolverine. No one tells you what to do, right?!"

Well, I was going to ride my bikes in Utah, so hauling them on the back of the Suburban was not a total waste. I did get the chance to ride downhill routes off the chair lifts at Deer Valley, which was utterly amazing. This is a must "to do" on all future Utah trips. After arriving at Philmont and discussing the rules related to cycling with several "in the know" and "authority figures" (the kid at the snack bar and young woman serving food in the dining hall--both of whom said, "No problemo" to riding bikes as long as you don't ride on the hiking trails and don't ride around camp.) I was in luck. I brought my road bike and enjoyed a couple of fun rides during the little down time that we had.

On Wednesday we had a 3 hour block of free (family) time. The She-wolf was gone for the day, driving with Glenna Grow and Gail Armstrong to pick up the Grow's car in Pagosa Springs, CO, where it had been in the repair shop. I thought I'd take advantage on this down time and hike the Tooth of Time trail. I didn't have a map and so I drove towards the Tooth of Time until I saw a trail heading in the general direction of the Tooth of Time.I parked my car in a small parking lot of a gravel pit. I spent the next 4 hours finding the trail and hiking to the Tooth of Time. It was a wonderful little hike. Upon returning to my car with sore feet and a few blisters I found my car had been "booted." Apparently, I was in a "No-Parking" Zone. How was I to know? I had asked the really intelligent looking kid at the snack bar and he said I would be fine parking there. He was wearing a very authoritarian red staff shirt--surely he must be in-the-know? Fortunately, I had my illegal bikes on the back of my illegally parked (and now quite disabled and booted) car. I continued my criminal behavior by riding my mountain bike the several miles back to camp to try to find the idiot that booted my car. I was in luck. After creating havoc in the camp by riding my bike all over camp (really just to make a point of civil disobedience), I found the "Director of Security" who fortunately was not authorized to bear a firearm, otherwise, I'm pretty certain, he would have taken me down on the spot. After receiving a stern lecture about "critters in them thar hills" he reluctantly agreed to "un-boot" my car. He made me sign a form that essentially placed me on Philmont Ranch probation forever, and in general was a confession of high crimes and misdemeanors against the BSA and Mother Nature.

This was a most unfortunate occurence because it gave President Armstrong a reason to start keeping track of my many Philmont Ranch violations.

On a more serious note, we had a great time and learned much. I was so impressed with the conference attendees and the Spirit of Philmont. I am recommitted to Scouting and have a number of pressing items that I want to make happen in our Stake.

Me on the Summit of the Tooth of Time. (Note the really cool T-shirt Shea gave me for Fathers Day--"I Am Wolverine."

A beautiful Sunrise from Lover's Leap.

Sunrise from Lover's Leap.

2 Romantic Hikers at the Lover's Leap Trailhead.

Lil D following her 30+mile Mountain Woman Trek.

Mountain Woman!

The Grows.