North Fork Cito trail. Hung out at hunting Lodge and then went on down to Clark’s. Next day we caught sunrise from Shaeffer’s and then hiked on down over the Tooth (footcare provided by Dr. Tim “Remove It!” throughout the trek).

The reunion was a great time! Dawn & Sioux did a great job organizing things for lots of folks, all smartly supervised by “Sheriff” Lori at RMSC (no bears). The meeting was wonderfully short & to the point; Mark had some fine comments about all the “Fire Modified” itineraries and staff from the summer, and about future conservation efforts. Dave Kenneke (who is getting married — really) served up some great stakes, and Laura Campbell (with right-hand man Tech-man) really got the bidding going on the silent auction–raising almost $3,000 (THANK YOU!) to help with our annual fund and service to Philmont. The PSA Board also voted to approve an earlier motion made by the membership to transfer the $6,000 or so left from the Dining Hall fund to Philmont to help pay the staff and buy the chainsaws that will be needed (like this week) to do Fire Restoration work throughout the fall. The campfire (kudos Sam Vivian) was incredible, with Voss, Pete Bingen and Alicia Jo Rabins sharing some great Muddy Waters & Springsteen blues, more than an hour of original gems (watch for Pete’s CD) and southern fiddle tunes. Oh, and we had patches (thanks Rice).

Service project was fun, but hot and dirty. About 30 of us stuck around (housed in PTC) and cleared/stabilized the trail from Ponil to the top of Hart’s Peak the first day, and then spent the next two re-building/stabilizing the switch-backs on the IW side, and then working to stabilize/clear trail up to the stock tank about a mile from the peak. It was a neat project, almost surreal to work up where no one had really hiked this summer, and we looked about as dirty as coal miners at the end of every day. In some areas up there everything looks really good; the ground cover was cleared but the trees are fine and scrub oak are coming back from the roots–in some cases showing almost two feet of growth. In other areas everything is standing dead, stark and black–skeleton trees (that was mostly the IW side). In other areas it is strange–a drainage or ridge burned, but not the hill downslope or the area right out of the drainage–or you might come upon a two foot crater with tunnels leading out where a tree just burned to ash, trunk, root-ball, roots and all, but the ponderosa two feet away was untouched. Overall there is a lot of work that needs to be done (check out Phil Roman’s latest pictures) before campers can see a good part of the North Country. Watch for your Annual Fund/Fire Relief Fund brochure in the mail–Philmont can use your help!

And hey, mark your calendars for next year–the PSA’s 30th Anniversary is gonna be BIG FUN and you don’t want to miss it!

Joe Leisz
PSA VP Development