Philmont Kanik Advice

Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2002 12:08:28 -0500
From: "Calvin H. Gray" <>
Subject: Re: [Philmont]: First time Kanik
I've taken part in two Spring Break Kanik treks (2000 & 2002) during the second week of March.

An account and photos of the 2000 trip may be reviewed at

The material that Philmont publishes is about all you will need in preparing for Kanik. If you have cold weather camping clothing, take it. Philmont will provide clothing too if crew members need it.

Make sure you DON'T take cotton jeans, cotton jackets, cotton socks, etc. as that type clothing will cause trouble in the cold if the wearer gets wet (as in a snowball fight).

As far as snow, there hasn't been much the last few years. Maybe that will change next year.

Here are some differences in Kanik vs. the summer backpacking program:

  1. If you arrange it in advance, Philmont will provide your evening meal on arrival day. This year, the cost was an extra $4 per person with the food served in one of the PTC dining halls. I recommend doing this.

  2. You will spend your first night at CHQ (in the dorm type buildings) and have a two hour cold weather camping training session. Follow the advice you'll receive and you shouldn't have any trouble with the "cold".

  3. You won't have to hang bear bags as the bears are in hibernation during Kanik.

  4. You won't be doing any backpacking but it is good to have a backpack to carry clothing in. Each two people will have an equipment sled which you will pull (if there is snow) or carry (in the case there is no snow).

  5. If there is no snow, you will probably do side hikes in the Cito area as the Hunting Lodge seems to be the usual HQ for Kanik.

  6. You won't use Polar Pure. Philmont will provide the crew with water containers and water from CHQ. They will probably bring a water buffalo out to use if there are a large number of campers the week you're there.

  7. Philmont will provide tents but you can provide your own if you want to. I recommend using Philmont's tents.

  8. Each person will receive a food pack for each day. MRE type meals are included but you will have regular trail food too. I've never been able to eat all the food in the food packs I've received. Some of the more "hollow" boys have.

In 2000, our crew spent two nights at the Hunting Lodge and two nights at Lovers Leap. Not much snow until the 3rd night in the back country. Then, 6"-8" fell during the night and we had a great time in the snow the next day.

In 2002, we had wanted to go to Miranda or Lovers Leap but Philmont was either over booked or understaffed so we didn't get to go to either of those destinations. We wound up spending four nights camped near the Hunting Lodge which was very crowded as there were four or five other crews there too. No snow while we were there, and we had to hike to Cyphers Mine to find snow. There was plenty there so the Scouts did get to experience snow.

Due to the crowded conditions at the Hunting Lodge, this trip wasn't as much fun as the 2000 trip but we still had a good time. The Wednesday night campfire program in the Hunting Lodge was especially enjoyable. Imagine 50+ people in the building listening to songs and hearing various skits and stories, then eating cobbler afterwards. :-)

[See <philmont-kanik2002.html> for a lengthier description.]

Calvin H. Gray
Scoutmaster, Troop 405
Georgetown, Texas

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