We just returned from trek 24. Yes it is the old trek 13 with a few changes. This was my 5th time on this trek and 6th philmont trek. You start off in Bent camp instead of Souix, an easy hike from Ponil turnaround. Take the trail if possible instead of the road. We had to take the road from souix as a bear was working the trail. The hike to Rich cabins is an easy hike and the program is good. Rich cabins is no-trace camping so finding trees for bear bags can be interesting.
Your next day to Pueblano Ruins is your firat tuff day as you have to hike back down for @ 2 miles to catch the trail up to Wilson mesa. First real elevation climb, but keep a steady pace and you should do fine. Not as hard as the trip up from Bent to wilson mesa. Be sure to keep a sharp lookout for the trail up as it is not well marked, a couple of red (i think) tapes on a fallen down tree. Look for an overturned water tank that is covered by rust and you are at the trail head.
The trip up to copper park is the same as it has been in the past, steady up to french henry...then the wall to copper park. we went up in 57 min. all the boys enjoyed the program at french henry. we arrived well before lunch and did all the program.
we left for baldy at 7 am and were up by 9 am. We had plenty of time to spend on top. We went back down the backside (the way we came up) ate lunch in copper park then went down to baldy town to pick up food and go to the gen. store, then back up aztec ridge to copper park. We thought this would be faster than going down the front side to baldy town. I have now done it both ways and think going up the back side and down the front to baldy town is the best way and faster way. Be sure to take a couple of empty packs to pick up your food.
The trail to head of dean is long, but follow the Baldy skyline trail. We left copper park at 7:30 and arrived in head of dean just before lunch. (we were slow as one advisor had a sprained ankle and the crew has to adjust there pace for him. they were wery good about taking care of him). We were hiking just ahead of a thunder storm and we chose to take the jeep trail to head of dean rather than the reg. trail as we needed to make up some time. The lighting was all around us. about 15 mins. after geeting into head of dean we got drilled by rain and a fearce thunder storm. Had to eat lunch in poring down rain...but that is part of the Philmont experience! We could not do the program becouse of the rain.
the next days hike to dean cow is long and all down hill, hot and in the open in the canyon. I dont like this hike as you are on the road and not trail. get an early start. The rock climbing program is great, the enviroment program was wery interesting to the boys as the staff member could really relate to the boys.
You head up right off the bat out of dean cow heading to Harlan then down turkey creek canyon ( down a jeep trail and out in the open) be sure to start early and pack a lot of water. tank up before you leave. After you cross under the highway the new trail is all 8% grade but extremely long and hot even in the a.m. I think it has added at least an extra hour compaired to the old trail.
you can be in ute springs and ute gulch in a couple of hours from harlan. Spend the afternoon resting. Ute springs is a very nice camp.
we hiked to clarks fork thru hidden valley. well worth the extra time. we took the trail to aspen springs that starts at ute gulch. best trail i have been on, like a super highway, then switchbacks up to aspen springs and the hike thru hidden valley and down to clarks fork. our sister crew took the lower route and arrived in clarks fork about an hour and a half earlier than us but they missed all the great views and sites.
the clarks fork program is good and we had the first fire cooked chuck wagon dinner of the year...boy was it good after eating all that trail food. we left clarks fork at 6:10 am and were in base camp at 2 p.m. we wanted to leave at 4:30 or 5 a.m. but becouse of a bear problem the asked all crews to not hike before 6 a.m. some crews left at 2:30 and 4 am. the hike up to shaefers pass took 1hr 20 min we took a pack break then on to the peak and the tooth. the new trail down from tooth ridge and into base camp was long, too long back and forth for ever, not my favorite hike but you are going home and that made it a little better. be sure to check about water in shaefers pass at clarks fork. the spring was running at the rate of 2 qts. per hour so we packed extra water up ans filled up water bottles at shaefers pass and the tooth. all in all it was a good trek and all the boys had a great time. If you want more info. you can email me or i can give you my phone number and we can talk on the phone.
NOTE: be sure you clean up your camp before you set up your tents, all the camps had trash in them left by others, especially staff camps. Adm. needs to do something about that.
we saw bears and had them all around us, but did things just like philmont said to the letter and had no problems. If one of your boys discovers that they have forgotten a smellable after the bags have gone up, dont make a big deal of it just bring the bags down and put it up. I would rather do that than have a bear problem and I want the boys to feel free to admit that they need to put up a late smellable than try to hide it and make the problem worse. we triple checked our packe and pockets every night. yes we had to put a pack up the bear rope every night becouse of gatoraid on the pack but that was a small incoveience compaired to hiding it and being the cause of a problem bear. remember if you can find it a bear will always find it.
Have a great trek, take good rain gear and some warm clothes,it got cols after a rain and at night, and let me know if I can be of any more help or answer any more questions.