We’re heading into summer, one of my favorite times of year. It’s the combination of warmer weather and longer days and potential adventures that make me so happy.
This was one of my favorite summers. I worked at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico before moving to Vermont for grad school, meaning I took troops backpacking ALL summer. Swoon! (Never mind that I had no idea what I was doing at first.)
It was a wee bit intense. We got really dirty. We also had bad blisters. And I think I had a touch of altitude sickness. Ah, fun.
And there was one troop who wanted to wake up to hike at nautical twilight. It is the time when the center of the sun is between 6° and 12° below the horizon, or rather, REALLY early. And there was no coffee maker out there…….
But so many backpacks, pretty horses, and stunning views.
Ahem, cowboys with guitars!
And the smell of Jeffrey Pines, which look very similar to Ponderosa Pines, but only live above 5,000 feet and give off a butterscotch or vanilla scent. It’s heavenly mixed with the scent of pine needles. There are times I’m hiking out East and would give anything to be walking in a vanilla-scented forest. Sigh.
More pretty views and hot springs.
When we had days off (from hiking), people planned more hikes. Piper, Kathy, and I hiked Mt. Baldy, which is the highest peak at Philmont.
My friend Blake and I hiked Wheeler Peak outside of Taos one weekend. Absolutely gorgeous views and we saw bighorn sheep.
Piper and I ended the summer with some hiking in the Valle Vidal, a large area of land that Philmont uses for some backcountry camps. It’s incredibly remote, as you can see in the bottom picture.
Needless to say, I got in great shape that summer. Too bad I lost it all once grad school started. And I think this is also why I covet The Pioneer Woman’s lifestyle….because I had a taste of it one summer and it’s magic.
Do people have any exciting summer plans?
I’m heading to London again for three weeks in July. Although I dress better than I do on a trail, I still carry a backpack, water, snacks, rain jacket, and camera most of the time in London. I call it my urban hiking. (And I can just see my sister Allison cringing now.) Regardless, excited for an urban adventure!