We just returned from an all-night bus ride from Philmont. We came off the trail Saturday.
It was pretty dry out there up until our last couple of days. Trails were pretty dusty, and many streams were completely dry or down to a trickle.
I haven't reviewed the messages from the list yet, and probably won't for a couple of days, but you probably all know the fire was 100% contained several days ago. Inspection teams looked at the camps north of 64, and if the fire management team gives the go- ahead, there may be some north country camps opened before the end of the summer.
The last couple of days on the trail we had pretty heavy rains. Unfortunately, they were also accompanied by a lot of lightning. Hopefully nothing else will get started. The rain is badly needed!
Meal packaging has changed. All meals are coming in 2-person packs, so there are a lot more bags. Calorie content of the meals has been increased (some days had calorie totals as low as 2,000); now the average day has 3,500. Every meal is changed, so all the online menus are out of date.
We saw no bears, but saw plenty of bear signs. Several crews we encountered saw bears on Mt. Phillips and Shaefers Pass. Ute Gulch commissary has an electric fence surrounding the commissary building to deter bears.
Crew loads are (as expected) much higher in the central and south stafed camps. The staff is handling it well, but be prepared to have a little more patience. There just aren't enough hours in the day (or in the case of Cypher's Mine, enough oxygen in the mine!) to handle all the crews. Big time kudos to the Cyphers Mine staff for really working hard to make sure all crews were able to participate in program. The day before we arrived, the staff conducted mine tours continuously until 7:30 p.m., and on the day we were there, they conducted continuous tours until the oxygen level in the mine dropped too low.
Zastro is now a staffed camp with the mountain biking program from Whiteman Vega. Other north country staff has been moved to a similar south country program (for example, French Henry staff at Cyphers Mine), others have been re-assigned to work crews or other duties.
Apache Springs now has a commissary (housed in a shipping container) for food pick-up for some itineraries.
Clark's Fork has a new chuck wagon building. Very nice facility, with food prep and wash-up areas.
Cypher's Mine has a new staff cabin under construction, and it should be finished within the next couple of weeks. The interior is designed to be interpretive, and will add another program there (cabin tour).
I'll post more later. Off to shower and work!
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