Friday, June 23, 2023

Who wants to be a 'mountain man'?

Two Scouts working with a staff member in period attire in a blacksmith shop.
Jake (left) and Rhett (background) blacksmithing in French Henry.

The crew was delayed at Baldytown on Wednesday, so they skipped the hike over to French Henry in favor of going Thursday morning. French Henry is a mining camp with numerous activities. The crew started in the blacksmith shop, where they made an S-hook they can use as a lid-lifter for the troop’s Dutch ovens.

Scout holding a hand-made S-hook
Jackson and his new S-hook addition
to the troop's equipment inventory.
Next, the Scouts received a history lesson on placer mining and hard-rock mining around Baldy that occurred from the late 19th century through the 1940s. This led to a chance for the crew to pan for gold in the spring-fed creek that runs through the center of the camp. According to the staff, they find flakes of gold fairly regularly, however, the crew struck out today despite their best efforts.

The crew then took a short hike up to the former Aztec mine, where they donned hard hats with headlamps and traveled about 100 yards into the mine. The name is attributed to 1776 when friars settling the area finding large, ancient ruins that were believed to have been built by the Aztec Indians of Mexico. The staff member explained the process of drilling out the rock in preparation for blasting. In addition to the history lesson, a few ghost stories were told as well. The Scouts didn’t seem fazed at all.

Group of Boy Scouts standing outside of an entrance to a mine with a sign reading Aztec Ponil 1
The crew outside the Aztec Ponil 1 Mine

Lunch outside the mine followed before the group began an approximately seven-mile trip over to Miranda. The theme at Miranda is mountain man life that includes tomahawk-throwing, trapping and black-powder rifles. The crew is scheduled to shoot in Friday morning. Tonight, the crew will attend the mountain man rendezvous, where music and tale-telling are promised.

Continue to follow the troop's 2023 Philmont adventures on the troop blog and check out photos of the trip in the troop's online photo album.