From the Philmont Trail Guide:
Four-Mile Gate, so named because it is four miles from the Ponil Camp, is a new starting camp in 1966. Beautifully situated, it commands a magnificent view of the Ponil Canyon.
Route for the day
From my journal of 1967:
Woke up & ate in mess hall. Put suitcases in lockers. Saw Ernest Thompson Seton Museum in Philmont. Went on bus. Stopped 1 mile from 4-Mile Gate. Hiked in, set up gear. Fooled around. Had map & compass. At night had a campfire story "The Philmont Story". Went to bed.
Note: On Thur. & Fri. a photographer from Boy's Life has been taking pictures of us.
We began our trip into the back country by jumping on a school bus and heading north. They dropped us about a mile from our destination, Four-Mile Camp. It was an easy hike, by far the easiest one we would have. I guess they wanted to break us in gently.
Ponil Creek at Four-Mile Camp
Our first camp site was right on the bank of the creek, and the sound of running water was very peaceful. There was another less quieting sound at night - coyotes. We could hear them howling away but couldn't tell how close they were. To us city boys they sounded like they were ready to jump into the tents with us!
A picture-perfect camp
As mentioned above, a photographer from Boy's Life was with us for the first part of the trip. By coincidence it was Jerry Moran, who did quite a bit of photography for the Scouts and Nassau County Council (including the postcard photos of Onteora Scout Reservation and Camp Wauwepex). This meant that we had to do everything in Official Boy Scout Uniforms, and the campsites had to look like they were out of the Scout Handbook. When I asked Jerry about this years later he didn't remember if the pictures were ever used and thought they had been lost after he retired, which made the extra effort we had to go through somewhat pointless - especially as we then had to carry the uniforms around for the rest of the trip.
Ranger Jim Mokri
Jim went along with us for the start of the trip, explaining how to deal with the bears and other features of Philmont. In working to update this site I sadly came across a news story saying he passed away in a fall while rock climbing in 1973.
Trying to cook the first meal
Here we are trying to get a fire started for dinner. That's Spencer Bell, Jim Mokri, me, Charlie Berenson, Bob Barker,and Jim Cotter looking down as Cory Morganstern and Spencer Bell do their best to get the fire going.
All those Eagle Scouts and so little flame
Where there's smoke there's fire??
We eventually got the fire going, or at least it looks that way from all of the smoke. Take a good look at all of the uniforms - they would soon vanish into our backpacks for the rest of the trip.