B A L T I M O R E    A R E A    C O U N C I L


I T I N E R A R Y    S E L E C T I O N   G U I D E

J a n u a r y    1 2,    1 9 9 9


A. Objective:

Find a trek that the crew will not be Overtreking or Undertreking so that the crew has a real feeling of accomplishment at trail's end.

1. Overtreking occurs when one or more hikers feel that the trek is really a "Death March".

a. For advisors, overtreking occurs because they are out of shape.

1) When will the lead advisor realize that an advisor is out of shape? At the first shakedown (April/May).

2) Is that enough time for an advisor to get into shape? Probably not.

3) Shouldn't the advisor have been in shape for the shakedown? This is a serious health concern!!

4) When does trek selection occur? mid-March. Consequently, a decision needs to be made based on an assumption that the advisors are going to be in shape.

a) Ask each advisor if they have been doing 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular work three to five days a week since we first discussed the subject in October. Usually, advisors will make the following excuses:

-Work has been busy

-I've been travelling

-I have not had a chance

b) Ask each advisor to keep a log of their workouts over the next three weeks. If an advisor can not find the time to exercise and use the same excuses, the advisor probably needs to be replaced if you were planning to do a Strenuous or Super Strenuous trek and seriously counselled if they still plan on attending.

b. For scouts, overtreking occurs because of maturity.

1) Generally, crews 13 - 15 years of age are capable of going on 50 - 60 mile treks because they are slow getting out of camp (2 1/2 to 3 hours).

2) Generally, crews 14 - 16 years of age are capable of going on 60 - 75 mile treks because they can take 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours getting out of camp.

3) Generally, crews 15 - 17 years of age are capable of going on 80+ mile treks

2. Undertreking for the scouts occur when the advisors are out of shape and the scouts are capable of doing a Strenuous or Super Strenuous Trek. Advisors we are almost always the slowest hikers and the scouts need to deal with that. However, the scouts know which advisors have been working out and which ones suffer from "excuse-itus".

3. Get in shape benchmark.

As a full fledged couch potato, in 1989, I began exercising in mid-January doing 9 minutes on a stationary bike and 10 situps and 5 pushups. It took two months to get to 15 minutes on the bike and 30 situps and 20 pushups. By Philmont, I was doing 21 minutes on the bike plus exercises in addition to strength training of squats, calf raises, military presses and curls. I did this four to five times a week religiously. At the end of trek 15, I realized that I could have done any trek from trek 1 to trek 23.

B. Programs

In 1997, the program directors at the back country camps stressed what the program at Philmont is. It is about scenery and all too often, crews just hike to the next program stop and ignore the scenery. Program can be memorable but the scenery is still spectacular!!

1. Common Programs

a. Rock Climbing - Dean Cow, Cimarroncito, Miner's Park

b. Horse riding - Ponil, Clark's Fork, and Beaubien

c. Spar Pole Climbing - Crater Lake and Pueblano

d. Black Powder Rifle Shooting - Miranda, Clear Creak, and Black Mountain

e. Challenge Courses - Head of Dean, Dan Beard and Uracca Mesa

f. Skeet Shooting - Harlan

g. 30-06 Rifle Shooting - Sawmill

h. Mine Tours - Cypher's Mine and French Henry

2. Interpretive programs - It seems that the scouts remember the interpretive programs more that the Common Programs. While they say that they seem fluky, they really do not want to leave!!

a. Homesteading - milking cows, getting eggs from chickens, etc - City boys really love this program, but when I was with a country crew, they loved this as well. Crooked Creek and Rich Cabins.

b. Adobe Casa - aka playing in the mud!! Abreu.

c. Sweat Lodge - Fantastic!! Apache Springs.

d. Burro Races- Fabulous!! Harlan and Abreu.

e. Fly tying - mixed reviews. Fish Camp.

f. Petroglyphs - mixed reviews. Indian Writing.

C. Pre-qualify treks for the crew.

Let the crew review treks 7/11/15 to determine the kind of trek they want. After the crew selects their first choice, four other alternative treks are also required.

1. Trek 15 is the most popular trek at Philmont. It hikes Baldy and returns to base camp via the tooth of time. Trek 13 is a similar trek. If they like 15 or 13, alternative treks would be 21, 28, 8, 17, and 18. If the crew wants a strenuous version of trek 15, trek 21 and 28 are the choices with treks 17, 18, 23, 24, and 26 as the alternative treks. A super strenuous version of 15 is trek 26 that also hikes over Mt Phillips. Alternatives would be treks 25, 24, 23, 21, 28.

2. Trek 7 is a great Southern Trek. Trek 12 and 22 are strenuous versions of 7. If the crew likes 7, then treks 12, 22, and 5 would be great other choices. Trek 11 is known as the "death and destruction" trek because it has black powder rifle shooting, 30-06 rifle shooting and shotgun shooting (if you can kill someone with it at Philmont, you get to play with it on this trek). Treks 20, 10, 9, and 14 are similar to trek 11 and would be great other choices. Treks 5 and 6 are great low mileage treks that have much time for programs.

3. Why Southern trek 7 and 22 are better than Trek 15.

a. Philmont campfire programs are really great or are a waste of time depending upon camp staff. Most of Philmont staff prefer to work in the Southern region because it is more scenic. Trek 15 has one campfire while trek 7 and 22 have three.

b. After eating dehydrated food for 11 days, it is really nice to eat real food. Trek 7 and 22 have a chuck wagon dinner and a Mexican dinner scheduled while trek 15 has no specialty dinners.

c. Boot branding is a tradition (in my brief case, I keep the brands of my 1989 trip (trek 15)). If you get rained out, you miss the opportunity. Trek 7 and 22 spend two nights at a Western Lore camp while trek 15 spends no nights.

d. Both trek 7 (22) and trek 15 have burro racing which is a blast. However, there is a cantina where you can enjoy junk food and drink root beer before and after the burro races on trek 7 and 22.

e. Trek 7 and 22 offer twice the number of opportunities to take showers than trek 15.

f. The best hike at Philmont is from Fish Camp to Abreu on trek 7 and 22.

g. There are many more interesting rock formations on Trek 7 and 22 than on trek 15.

h. Trek 15 provides a view of the back of the "tooth of Time". Trek 7 and 22 provides hiking opportunities to see the back and front of the " tooth".

i. Trek 7 and 22 provide on opportunity to see the "Grizzly Tooth", Trek 15 does not.

j. Above 11,000 feet the views are unbelievable. Trek 7 and 22 provide more time in the high country than trek 15.

4. Non High Country treks. Treks 1, 2, 4, 6, 16, 19, and 27 do not visit the high country (above 11,000'), however, some crews taking 27 side hike Comanche Peak to get the great view. Trek 6 has incredible program opportunities but a side hike would be required from Cypher's Mine to Comanche Peak to get the grand view. The reasons for taking these treks are for the increased program time and if there is anyone in the crew that may be susceptible to altitude sickness. Please do not think that the treks do not have great views, they do, but the Baldy, Comanche Peak, Mt. Phillips views are worth remembering.

W. C. Feurtado
Philmont Training Coordinator,
Baltimore Area Council

See also: