Day 1 - Sioux. Bussed to Ponil Turnaround. Hike the trail to Ponil via the new trail south of the stream. We stayed out of the canteena since it was occupied by guys who had finished their trek and we were only on Day 1. Hiked the road to Sioux. The water source is at the very bottom of the hill going into Sioux, so fill up first before you climb the hill.
Day 2 - Pueblano. Got up early so we could hike to Bent and then over Wilson Mesa (one of the most beautiful spots in Philmont). DO NOT TAKE BURROS (we don't need no stinking burros) because you will miss this walk. The crew enjoyed the spar pole climbing (you will need long pants) and the great campfire that night.
Day 3 - Ewell's Park. Follow the stream out of Pueblano and up to Ewell's, a beautiful high mountain meadow surrouned by aspens. We hiked down to Miranda for the mountain man program. The spring at Ewells is on the south side of the meadow and flowing very slowly.
Day 4 - Ewells Park. Up and hiking by 5:10 am. Into Baldy Camp by 6:15 am. Everyone carried a pack with rain gear, fleece top, poly pro top, food, two canteens of water. Ate breakfast while walking. Philmont now requires you to start your hike up Baldy no later than 8 am!!!!! Caterpillared up Baldy. Be sure to stop at the meadow right after you clear tree line. Too many crews are so focused on the top that they miss the meadow with its wonderful views of Wheeler Peak. Reached the top of Baldy around 8:15 am and spent almost two hours hunkered down behind the stone walls and taking pictures. Hiked down to Copper Park (no snow on the backside of Baldy) and had an early lunch. Unpurified water is available at Copper but it would take the same time to process as it did to hike back into Baldy Town. We did not go to French Henry since we would have an identical program at Cyphers Mine. Into Baldy for our second food pickup, first showers, and pogey bait (candy) at the trading post.
Day 5 - Santa Claus. Up early so we could be at Head of Dean by 7:30 am to do morning conservation. Ate lunch at Head of Dean and did their Challenge course that afternoon. Hiked into Santa Claus where there was water (check the water board). Woke the crew up at midnight to see the stars.
Day 6 - Deer Lake Mesa. Hiked down Bear Canyon (make sure you find the right trail out of Santa Claus), over I-64 and up to Visto Grande where we tanked up on water and ate supper for lunch. Into Dear Lake Mesa (take the first campsite on the right of the trail as you come in).
Day 7 - Up early and hiked into Ute Gulch commissary by 7:30 for our last food pickup. Since the commissary opened at 8 am, ate breakfast at a water source. Hiked the new trail (not shown on the latest maps) into Grouse Canyon and down to Cimmaroncito. Got another set of showers and had 10 am rockclimbing. Ate lunch at Cito and hiked via Hidden Valley (another don't miss) to Clark's Fork. Good chuck wagon dinner and funky campfire. Branded boots.
Day 8 - Cyphers Mine. Hiked up the Middle Fork to Cyphers in time for lunch. Assigned two adirondack shelter (12 person crew was too large for one). Did mine tour and blacksmithing in the afternoon (both excellent programs). Competed and won the strongest person contest and attend the "Stomp" which the kids loved.
Day 9 - Red Hills. Because of the bear situation, we were rerouted to Beaubien. However your crew will take the new trail out of Cyphers to Thunder Ridge and up to Commanche Peak (with its great views of Baldy). You have a choice of going up and over Phillips (another do not miss) and down to Clear Creek following the stream until it intersects with the one flowing from Red Hills or just going to Phillips and returning to Red Hills. There isn't much at Red Hills, not my favorite camp.
Day 10 - Shaffers. Again another choice. You can either do the Black Death and come up from Red Hills and follow the ridge line over Black and Bear to Shaffers or go the Black Mountain Camp and follow the stream to North Fork Urraca camp. If you do the Black Death, remember there is no water until you get to Shaffers and the trail is somewhat confusing. Dr. Bob Klein, a multi-year Philmont repeater, found out just how confusing it was. If you go to North Fork Urraca camp, eat supper for lunch before you go up to the pass.
Day 11 - Base camp. Our crew got up at 3:45 so we could be on Shaffer's Peak for sunrise. What an awesome experience. We sent the crew leader and another scout up the night before just to check out the route to the top. By getting up early also gives you some free time at the top of the Tooth for you last Roses and Thorns before everyone else arrives. We arrrived in Base Camp about 10:30 which gave us time to complete inprocessing, get our tents and showers, have lunch in the dining hall and catch the 1:30 bus for Cimarron and banana splits.
Hope this helps.
Advisor, Crew 1519
Co-author of the Philmont Advisor's Guide