1 CHQ Opening Campfire
2 Rimrock Park (Ranger Training)
Rimrock is a change from Trek 11. Looking at the map, we must have hiked right past it going to Old Abreau but I can't form a mental image of Rimrock at all, and I've passed that way three times now (the 3rd time on another trek heading to Hidden Meadow) Anyway, Rimrock is right in the back yard of New Abreau, so you can do program there your first night. As far as the hike to Urraca, do_not_be_tempted to take the jeep road. Choose the trail. We did jeep trail the first crew & it is a killer - straight up - believe what they tell you about not hiking jeep trails! Next crew we took trail, even took an out of the way turn by Aguilla Springs (I think that was the name) and we still had a nicer hike & made better overall time to Urraca.
3 Urraca (Challenge Events, Philmont Story Campfire)
4 Miners Park (Rock Climbing, Environmental Awareness)
Get up & get going if you want to get to Miner's for the rock climbing. (This is true of any program event since they fill up first-come first served at the camps. Remember that afternoon storms may interfere with climbing opportunities, so don't delay. When you leave Miner's for Black Mountain, you will have the infamous stream crossings all the way - although with the drought you may not get the full benefit of having wet feet all day long. We counted something like 48 stream crossings in this stretch. It is not generally a difficult day, but very interesting. Some of the biggest cottonwood trees I've seen in my life are along here and I *know* I smelled cheeseburgers here on one of my treks <gr>. If you are lucky at Black Mountain, you will get a piece of flat ground to sleep on, we did one time. The other time was very steep ground and did the down-hill shuffle all night long.
5 Black Mountain (Mountain Livin', Blacksmithing, Black Powder Rifle)
Leaving Black Mountain is an initial steep climb until you hit the road above & then on across to nice trail on your way towards Phillips Junction. You can choose to swing by Beubien or take another trail straight towards PJ where you likely will have a food pickup. And then on to Comanche Camp, along side the river. This is a long hike day & will be best to get your PJ pick-up before noon when they close for their hour lunch. Comanche camp is a trail camp & there are some very nice sites & some very cruddy ones. First come gets their choice, so another perk to getting up & moving early in the morning.
6 Comanche Camp Trail Camp (Homesteading at Crooked Creek)
Another big day as you go over Mt. Philips. Get up very early, especially if you want to do program at Clear Creek and avoid afternoon thunderstorms on top of Philips. After passing thru Clear Creek, it gets very steep headed up to Philips, and you will want to fill up on water at Clear Creek since Comanche Peak is a dry camp & you have a long way to hike as well as food to prepare before you get to Sawmill. Not only do you get a steep climb to higher altitude, you get to do it with extra water weight.
7 Comanche Peak (Rocky Mountain Fur Co. @ Clear Creek, Hike over Mt. Phillips, Dry Camp, Water @ Clear Creek)
Nice hike to Sawmill now thanks to recent year's OA Trail work. Used to be mostly jeep road, but now a very nice trail that gives you some terrific views as you wrap around the mountain. Our crew in 97 was the first one to hike the new trail!
8 Sawmill (.30/06 Rifle & Reloading, Metallic Silhouette Shooting)
You will need to pass by Ute Gulch Commissary for food, and then on up thru Cimmaroncito camp on the way to Hunting Lodge. I suggest taking the trail thru Aspen Springs on the way to Cito - IMHO some of the most beautiful scenery at Philmont around Aspen Springs. Hunting Lodge is not far at all from Cito - about a 30 minute walk. It is also not far from Hunting Lodge on to Clarks Fork the next day.
9 Hunting Lodge (Tour Lodge)
I highly recommend taking the longer route thru Hidden Valley from Hunting Lodge to Clark's Fork. The views are awesome. Just be sure if your guys want to ride horses that you make your appointment time for that & judge your hiking route accordingly.
10 Clarks Fork (Western Lore, Horse Rides, Chuck Wagon Dinner)
It is a very steep climb up Shafer's Pass & a long way across tooth ridge to the camp. Another time when you do not want to delay getting out of camp early. Certainly don't want to be on the ridge during afternoon thunderstorms. Nothing but totally exposed up there with no refuge from lightening. Nothing but dry all the way into base camp too, so take a good water supply from Clark's Fork. Tooth Ridge camp is very near the spot to climb the tooth too, so get to camp, choose your spot (because it is a crowded last camp spot) and then go climb the tooth. Hint - there is a campsite on tooth ridge where you can overlook basecamp. Beautiful view, but if it gets stormy & windy, the wind is awful & it gets cold - voice of experience speaking here. Much better off in another campsite with more wind shelter....
11 Tooth Ridge (Trail Camp, Dry Camp)
It is a deceivingly long way still into base camp from Tooth Ridge Camp. You will be teased by sights of base camp & then the trail wrapping back the "wrong way" again over & over. It will likely take you 3-4 hours to hike into base camp.
As for the strenuous rating.... back when we hiked it as "11" is was rated typical & we always questioned that. I can fully appreciate that it is now listed as "26" and given a strenuous rating. Although, without Harlan included, I would consider it easier than 11 was.
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