Bonus Day: Tooth of Time
The Tooth of Time is the iconic symbol of Philmont. Pictures of the Tooth are on everything. Since the Brumbys had an extra day before heading home, they asked for and received permission to take a day hike up the Tooth since it wasn’t included on their trek.
Nick and Matt stayed in base camp since they’d done the Tooth on previous Philmont treks. The rest of the crew hit the trail early in the morning, thoroughly enjoying hiking with light packs, especially when they met an endless line of crews heading down with heavy packs.
Upon reaching Tooth Ridge the trail leveled out, with occasional views of the Tooth itself through the trees.
The final climb to the top was steep and rocky, but the view from the top was amazing in all directions.
There was Baldy way off to the northwest, the rocky Tooth Ridge itself nearby, and the broad plains to the east.
We lingered on the summit for quite a while, basking in the sunshine and enjoying the view. Many of the rocks on the summit were covered with hoardes of ladybugs. We weren’t sure why they were there or what they were eating. We certainly didn’t share any of our lunch with them.
Just as interesting as the summit were some of the rock formations along Tooth Ridge, including these near Tooth Ridge camp. It was impossible to resist the temptation to climb on the rocks.
Ever observant, the crew found a Western Smooth Green Snake hiding among the branches of a trailside shrub. A small non-poisonous species, it was much less intimidating than the rattler they’d found on the rocks coming down from the summit.
Base camp appeared closer and closer as the Brumbys hiked down the long, seemingly endless, trail back down. It was just down below, but still seemed so far away.
Back in camp, we found that Nick and Matt had sunburned their necks while sitting in front of their tents playing Game Boy all day. We caught a bus into Cimmaron for pizza for dinner instead of another dining hall meal. After taking care of all the checkout procedures we could, we caught a little sleep before loading up our bus at 2:00 a.m. for the ride to the Albuquerque airport.
The 2001 Brumby Philmont Trek was officially over. The crew had learned and grown a lot over their days together on the trail. For some, it was just the beginning of long backpacking trips. Zach and Marcus took off on a 4-day 50-miler by themselves in the Glacier Peak Wilderness in the summer of 2002. All the boys have shared the skills they learned with the other scouts at home.
The crew met author, photographer, and publisher David Carter on top of the Tooth. He was gathering material for a picture book on Philmont, and Mark exchanged business cards, eventually contributing four pages of photos of the Brumby expedition to Philmont: A Timeless Experience, published in November, 2002. Look for us on pages 34-37 if you’ve got the book.