Philmont Itinerary 24-NFM-2

Date: Thu, 01 Aug 2002 13:18:54 -0400
From: Michael Anderson <>
Subject: [Philmont]: Trek 24-NFM-2 report

As a substitute for trek 24, we were given trek 24-NFM-2 (strenuous - 68 miles). The new trek contained many of the activities which attracted us to trek 24, but none of the hikes were the same, and we only stayed in one camp (Harlan) which was on the old itinerary. Our route was -

Ponil Turnaround to Flume Canyon (horse rides at Ponil)

Flume Canyon to Pueblano (spar pole climbing, rail tie making, and a long campfire program)

Pueblano to Baldy Camp (French Henry gold panning, blacksmithing, and Aztec mine tour along route)

Layover in Baldy Camp to hike Baldy - food pickup at Baldy Camp

Baldy Camp to Santa Claus (Challenge events and conservation project at Head of Dean along route) Nasty hike from Head of Dean on 4wd road in a mixture of mud and ash following 2 hour rain - this area was heavily burned.

Santa Claus to Visto Grande (trail camp - my favorite camp, try to get campsite 1, 2, or 4) When we crossed 64 en route to camp we ordered pizza from Simple Simon to be delivered at 5 pm. After setting up camp, we hiked back to 64 to eat it. The delivery guy was great - not only did he take a big bag of trash from us, he waited around until we finished eating and took the empty pizza boxes away as well. A welcome break from trail food!

Visto Grande to Harlan (12 gauge shooting and burro racing)

Harlan to Lower Sawmill (rifle shooting at Sawmill) Lower Sawmill is primitive and dry . We took our supper with us to Sawmill, which has plenty of water, and the staff there let us cook in the fire ring in front of their cabin. Wonderful people - they kept giving us treats to eat.

Lower Sawmill to Aspen Springs (rock climbing at Cimarroncito, food pickup at Ute Gulch) Definitely pick up your food en route to Aspen Springs. Aspen Springs is beautiful, but potentially dangerous. There are many high boulders to climb on. You should caution scouts to climb carefully. When we were there, scouts from various crews were leaping from rock to rock on top of the boulders. One of our young inexperienced crew members tried to copy them, fell and landed hard with minor injuries. She (yes, we were a Venturing crew) could have been killed if the fall had been just a few feet in the other direction.

Aspen Springs to Clarks Fork (western lore, horse rides, chuck wagon dinner) Although the stew and canned peaches were another welcome relief from trail food, the fire ban meant no biscuits and no cobbler, a real disappointment.

Clarks Fork to Base Camp - the world's longest switchbacks on the world's most crowded trail!

This was my first trip to Philmont and it was wonderful. My main advice for a rookie - TAKE TREKKING POLES. Many trails are steep and covered with rocks. The poles make the hiking much easier, especially in balancing when hiking downhill. However, be careful if you decide to use your poles to support the dining fly. One of our advisors had a pole broken on the first night when it was overextended to use for the fly.

If anyone has further questions about the trek, I'll be glad to try to answer them. When I get more time, I'll do a full trek report and send it to Selden.

Mike Anderson
Severna Park, MD
Trek 24-NFM-2

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