July 1st, Day Eleven – Beautiful Sun, Newfound Spirit
The sun rising over the Philmont from Camp Saw Mill.
Today I awoke at the early time of 4:45am to catch the sunrise. I woke the
others up, where among other things, they showed me their appreciation. Steve,
Gram, Evan and Brad came with me and we walked down in the campsite to this east
facing look out, directly in from of the Saw Mill staff cabin. It was a
fantastic view, as we saw pink lights sheer over the horizon with the mountains
of Philmont glowing the background. There was a Saw Mill staff member sleeping
on the porch of the cabin over looking the sunrise. He must have the best
sleeping spot of all of Philmont. Every morning, he can see the sunrise, then
turn over and go back to sleep.
Saw Mill staff member sleeping while the sunrises.
We all went back to the campsite. The others went back to sleep while I caught
up with this journal. At around 7:00, everyone else started to wake up and we made oatmeal,
hot chocolate and coffee for breakfast. Apparently, it was on this day where
people suspected me of having an accent from how I say coffee, though I beg
We then went to the program elements offered at the camp. We made our own ammunition
for 30-06 rifles. Everyone put the whole bullet together. I still find this
whole process to be fascinating. We went to the range and shot our creation.
The rifle is extremely powerful and very loud with a noticeable kick. Our crew
shot up some bandanas to see the massive damage of the rifle. When hitting the
bandana, it flew up about 15 feet from the sheer power of the rifle.
OATC622 shooting 30-06 rifles.
We finished shooting and packed up our campsite. We ate lunch before we left
and then took to Cyphers Mine, a small hike of only four miles. We arrived there
in the later afternoon and checked in with the staff. The staff at Cyphers mine
cared deeply for the OATC program and let us stay the night in the Stomp Cabin.
The Stomp Cabin is where the staff of Cyphers Mine staff performed a concert
each night, complete with music, skits and stories. After the concert was over,
we were to stay there for the night.
Before night took, we found a clearing in the campsite and cooked a delicious
spaghetti dinner. Ryan Hawk gave us another visit to say hi, though he didn't
come empty handed.
Concert in the Stomp Cabin.
Ryan brought us cookies and donuts, a welcomed gift. We ate dinner and cleaned
Around 8:00pm, the program of the campsite started. There was an "Iron
Man" contest, where one member from each crew explains why he or she is the
toughest person in the camp. People demonstrated their strength and did all
sorts of "interesting" things, including lifting
up heavy weights, performing body tricks and telling jokes. After each participant
performed their "skill," the crowd clapped and cheered. The person with the
loudest cheer from the crowd won. With no surprise, Gram from our crew won.
The crew in the mine.
Right after the contest, everyone went to the Stomp Cabin where the staff performed the
show. Great music, song, stories and joke filled the cabin. I had a newfound
spirit of the western culture while there. I was in the west; heart, mind, body
and soul. After the concert, all the other crews left the cabin except ours.
The staff performed a private small concert for us while we helped them clean
up. Though, the night was not over. The staff also gave us a private tour of
the mine as the full moon was out. The mine had no light whatsoever. It was
great to learn about the mining history of Philmont and go a couple of hundred
feet inside a mountain.
We went back and brought our packs up to Stomp Cabin and got ready for bed.
It felt relaxing not having to set up the tents and hoist up bear bags. We ate
cookies over thorns and roses and went to sleep after a long fun day.
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