Originally published September 6, 2012
We woke up about 6am at our Carson Meadows camp and started our hike towards Fish Camp at about 7:30am. We signed out at the cabin and started our relatively flat hike along the Rayado River canyon. The views were spectacular through the canyon, with rock formations on both sides and deep green forests throughout.
We continued our streak of seeing deer, with Matthew (acting as our Wilderness Pledge Guia) diligently recording our findings in his animal inventory tracking system. Our hike into Fish Camp kept us along a mostly flat contour with a slight descent down into the canyon to meet up with the river.
Along the way we caught up with one of our other troop crews (Crew 3). We were pretty much tracking along the same path for the first few days, but today would be our last sighting of them until after our return to base camp.
Our camp site, Agua Fria, was about a mile beyond Fish Camp so by arriving at 10:30am we knew we had plenty of time for program activities that afternoon. Knowing that Crew 3 had more distance to cover for their camp we signed them up for fly tying and fishing and took later afternoon spots for ourselves.
Some more Philmont trivia: at staffed camps you will always find a “swap box” where you can toss out food items you don’t want and potentially find more attractive replacements or supplements. This was probably Matthew’s favorite activity of the trip. At Fish Camp Matthew found an unopened tub of chocolate frosting which nicely complemented our Oreos that night.
We took our time setting up camp, eating lunch, and treating water at Agua Fria before returning to Fish Camp for our afternoon programs.
We had a delightful lesson in fly tying, crafting our own wooly buggers in the rustic cabin. While our flies looked impressive, the fish were not enticed and all of the boys struck out in their hour or so of fishing.
While the boys had fun learning about the techniques of fly casting, I wish the instruction was more suited for small stream fishing with lots of obstruction. I spent some time with Matthew and coached him a bit on better techniques for dropping his line without entangling in the bushes and trees. Still the trout were not impressed.
Our camp site at Agua Fria was quite, peaceful, and beautiful. We were in the a meadow with long grass, two cold and clean streams, right at the base of the canyon. Tomorrow we head to Black Mountain camp and get ready for the back-to-back torture days of 16+ mile hiking.
This article is part of my Philmont 2012 series. You can find all articles here.