July 4th, Day Fourteen – My First Real Independence
Brian on the ridge climbing up Black Mountain.
Today is the Fourth of July, my first one away from home. Though it does not
bother me as the magic and beauty of Philmont is better than fireworks. We woke
up and hiked to our last campsite: the Tooth of Time. This was a lengthy hike,
as we stopped at the Black Mountain Camp. While that does not seem difficult,
it was a testing hike. Getting to the Black Mountain Camp was easy, the trick
is getting out of it. The camp is located in a valley, where no roads lead to
it. While at the camp, we had a chance to shoot rifles.
To leave the camp and stay on course, we hiked up the Black Mountain trail,
also known as "the Mount Everest of Philmont." I figured out why
they called it that. The beginning of the hike was easy, but as you got towards
the top, your pack felt like it weighed no less than 300 pounds. You could only
take about 15 steps until you had to lean on a tree and take a five second break.
The trick was to make mental goals in your mind of going from one tree to another.
The climb was extremely intense and I went through most of my water on the very assent.
Brian with a sunset behind him while traveling to
the Tooth of Time ridge.
After what seemed like an eternity, we finally made it to the top and it wasn't
without reward. Here were could see where we hiked for the past few days, including
the camps we stayed at and Mount Phillips. We also saw a ski resort located
not too far away from Philmont Scout Ranch. We caught our breath and pressed
onward. We were falling behind schedule and had to get to the Tooth of Time
ridge before dark.
The sun started to set as we hiked. We had to keep going, the end wasn't
far from now. The sights were magnificent. We could see where we first started
on our trek five days ago. This hike was great to end the trek. Just after the
sunset, we hit the ridge of the Tooth of Time.
Panoramic view of the Tooth of Time ridge.
We climbed up to the ridge to look at the horizon. It was simply incredible.
Not only could we look down at base camp, but right over Cimarron, we saw actual
fireworks celebrating the forth of July. The thunderstorms we saw in the distance
from a ridge on the first night of this trek must have been foreshadowing. How
noble of a feeling it was to be on the ridge of the Tooth of Time with my tight
group of brothers to celebrate the fourth of July with fireworks in the horizon.
This was by far my favorite and most memorable Independence Day in my 19 years
of existence. It was my first real Independence Day, as I was free in God's
country enjoying life.
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