Friday, August 24, 2012

Philmont Journal: Day 12

Day 12: June 21, 2012

            We left Miranda early in the morning today. Actually, I should say that we packed and left our campsite early, but from there were headed down to the burrow pen (or “donkey” pen as I called it just to annoy Steven. He claims that there is a difference between burrows and donkeys but hasn’t actually said what those differences might be) We arrived at the pens before 8 to receive our instructional talk on how to pack and handle our burrows. It seemed easy enough when the wrangler was doing it; of course, she was using the nice one. First she showed us how to gear up and saddle the burrows. The process was rather time consuming and took four people to complete and after all that the stupid animals didn’t even take the majority of our pack weights. After demonstrating the packing and unpacking of the donkeys, the wrangler gave us a few tips on handling them on the trail. Apparently they can be a bit stubborn (go figure. It’s not like they’re donkeys or anything) so the wrangler gave us three methods of getting them to move should they decide to stop. 1) Stand behind (though not in the kick zone) the donkey and wiggle your fingers. Looked more like spirit fingers to me and incidentally never worked with our donkeys, 2) Give them a slap on the rump, 3) Take a stick no bigger around than your thumb and give them a jab in the butt (The first two methods gave us constant results if you count the donkeys ignoring us as “results.” Needless to say, we began to use the third method exclusively)
            So, you know the saying that goes, “There are no stupid questions, just stupid people”? Well, what happened next is a perfect example of this idea in action. After explaining the third method of getting the burrows to move, one of the scout leaders from a different crew asked, “Do we poke them in the butt or the butt hole?” Paul (remember, he’s too smart for his own good) rolled his eyes and said “The butt hole isn’t called the butt. It would be the rectum or anus.” I laughed so hard. To myself of course.
            After the wrangler’s talk, we attempted to pack our burrows. I say “attempted” because, well, it should be fairly obvious. We had two burrows, Eddy and Murphy. Eddy was easy to get along with and was packed in short order; Murphy on the other hand would have none of it. He kept moving around and trying to dash away from his packs making it a nightmare to try to get anything onto him. Between the 11 people in our crew we managed to manhandle him into his gear but it took about an hour to do it, putting us on the trail at 10. It wasn’t the earliest start that we’d ever had, but we knew that we would have plenty of time to get to the next camp before dark.
            The sky was overcast as we pulled our burrows out of the pen and onto the trail. They seemed determined to give us as difficult of a time as they could. Once we started moving, the roles of the burrows reversed with Murphy being the easy one to handle and Eddy being, well, a pain in the ass. Or perhaps just a jackass; I now know why that word means what it does. Stupid donkeys are stubborn as anything I’ve ever seen. We also almost had an issue when Eddy (who is massive for a donkey) got spooked by a truck that passed us on one of the service roads and danced sideways onto Nash’s foot. Now Nash, being the smart man that he is, was wearing steel toed boots which can cause problems when dealing with horses and such since if one of the things stomps hard enough on the steel, it can break and cut off your toes. Luckily Nash was alright with just some bruising.
Despite the difficulty with the burrows, we made good time. We stopped briefly at a campsite with a corral to eat lunch before continuing and finishing the hike at 2 PM. The last descent to the camp, Pueblano, was great fun. It was very steep and Eddy decided that it would be a good idea to run down the trail. The only problem with this idea was that most of our crew as well as the other burrow was in front of him, so Steven and I (combined weight of around 400 lbs) had to keep him from tearing off at breakneck speed. As I said before, Eddy is an uncommonly large burrow, so the task wasn’t easy, especially since he kept wanting to step all over our feet. Luckily we managed to get to Pueblano without any serious problems and went through the whole camp process yet again. We got a porch talk which was probably the funniest one of the trip; sadly it was mostly physical humor that doesn’t translate well into writing.
We set up camp, ate dinner, and headed back to the main camp for a game of “logger ball” which we had been promised was the best game ever, even better than mountain ball. When we got there, it ended up just being a 3 inning baseball game where people were supposed to run the bases backwards in the second inning. I say “were supposed to” because the first three batters on our team ran the wrong direction and all got out. So much for paying attention. Over all, the game was sort of fun though not overly so; it was baseball after all. After the game there was another program but I was too tired out to attend. Instead I went back to the camp and talked magic with two other members of my crew.

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