It will all depend upon timing, but certainly worth the effort if you can make it happen.
My experiences for reference:
1999 - arrived at CHQ (one of a 13 crew Council Contingent) about 10:30 and did not finish processing through until 4:30. The next morning we had a 9:30 bus, so no time to tour anything. We got back off the trail just before lunch, checked in equipment after lunch. We could probably have scheduled a Villa tour, but didn't.
2001 - arrived at CHQ (again one of a 13 crew Council Continent, and a second 13 crew contingent arrived at the same time - the Welcome Center was a madhouse) at 9:30. Our Ranger took us immediately to the Health Lodge and we were the first crew through. With that bottleneck out of the way, we were finished processing by 2:00 (used our own tents and cooking gear, which eliminates a couple other time consuming steps), and had a 1:00 bus the next day. A lot of time to kill. Some went over to the Seton Museum that afternoon, and we scheduled a Villa tour for the next morning (have to be out of the tents by 8:30 so that day's arriving trailbound crews could take them).
Coming off the trail, we got to CHQ about 10:15 and were completed with check-in around lunch time. The Crew had been looking forward to lunch at the Burrito Banquet and we took the (free) 1:30 shuttle to Cimarron. Went immediately to the Burrito Banquet, but they had run out of food for the day, so settled for burgers at Hecks. Then went to the Old Mill Museum ($1.00 for scouts in uniform) which is a fascinating place and well worth a visit even if it was more than a buck to get in. Ice cream at the Cree Mee, explored the Blue Moon and the Cimarron Art Gallery, and got the bus back to CHQ in time for dinner before the dining hall closed.
- Al Thomson
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