Philmont 2001 Trek 24
Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2002 10:10:26 -0800
From: Don Nugent <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: [Philmont]: trek 24 info
Some general and specific observations about trek 24 ....
by Troop 207 from Cedar Mill, Oregon: Crew 726-B.
- With regards to water filters, you shouldn't need one at all on this
trek. With good planning the water situation is not an issue at all.
Filter(s) would just be extra weight. Do get extra Polar Pure bottles.
Philmont will give you one for each two members of your crew. You need
more ... 1 or 2 should do. It makes it easier to keep up with the
waiting times than if only 1 or 2 people shared a bottle.
- Try to get started early each morning. The hiking is more pleasant in
the cooler temperatures and you are more likely to see wildlife. Also,
you are less likely to miss a program because of rain or thunderstorms,
which can occur mid to late afternoons most days. We got rained out rock
climbing at Dean Cow because of afternoon rain. Also, we missed the
Challenge Activities at Head of Dean because we ran out of time due to
arriving there late.
- Don't try to take the first campsite you come to. Send a couple of
boys to se if there isn't a better one a little further back. Most of
the time there will be!
- The Ranger will probably try to get you to cook everything for dinner
in one pot, believing it makes cleanup easier. Some of the meals cooked
this way can be pretty bad. We chose to cook separately where it made
sense. We ended up taking two 4 liter pots, one 3 liter pot, and a
frying pan type thing that doubled as a pot cover. This worked well for
us. Take some spices to liven up the meals. Also, many of the vegetables
are much better if you let them soak a little to re-hydrate before
- Day One (Base Camp): We arrived at roughly 10:30 AM. Try to get
checked in early through logistics. Work with your Ranger to make this
happen. This accomplishes a couple of things. One, you get an early bus
out the next day. Two, if you are too late you may not be able to get
your reservations for horseback riding at Clark's Fork. By the way,
nobody over 200 lbs. can ride. Our crew thought it was "stupid". Because
it's very restrictive and they just walked around on the horses in a
line through the woods. On the other hand, the guys in my crew that were
in the front of the parade DID get to see a family of bears while on the
Also, have all your rosters and medicals in order before you arrive.
Incomplete information will only slow you down.
- Day Two (Camping Headquarters to Bent): You will have either a
morning or early afternoon bus ride to Ponil Turnaround. It's about a
twenty minute ride. From here it's an easy hike to Bent, where you spend
the time with your Ranger, in training. You will pass the Ponil Cantina.
We stopped there for root beer, which was wonderful! Use your judgment
based on time.
- Day Three (Bent to Rich Cabins): Another easy hike up a dirt jeep
road, with almost no elevation gain. It's about 4 miles through a very
lush and peaceful valley. You will "leave" Philmont proper and enter the
Valle Vidal for a day. My guys loved the program there ... homesteading.
Take the tour of the buildings .. It's pretty good! Others may not any
of it. The evening "campfire" was fun for them too. It was on the porch
... mostly jokes and some songs. There are several good campsites there.
Leave No Trace is the theme here, finding trees can be interesting!. No
bear cables pre-established. No sumps either. Water is from Ponil River
only, and therefore needs to be treated. On the way to Rich Cabins keep
a lookout for the trail to Wilson Mesa you will take the next day. It
was not well marked, but not hard to discern either with a little
observation. You should have plenty of time for getting yourselves
situated. It's also a food pick-up location. No showers.
- Day Four ( Rich Cabins to Pueblano Ruins): Your Ranger will leave you
on this morning. This is your first tough hike. It will probably be as
tough later in the trek, but you'll be used to the altitude by then. Get
an early start. You will back track from Rich Cabins almost to Bent. The
trail to the top of Wilson Mesa is pretty tough. Try to eat lunch at the
lake at the top of Wilson Mesa .. It's a gorgeous spot! The view across
the lake to Baldy is wonderful! Try not to think how far away it looks!
Even if you have eaten lunch before here, take a break here anyway. As
you come back off the mesa, you will need to check into Pueblano, which
is just off the trail to the left as you reach the intersection. Do the
program and then hike on up to Pueblano Ruins (your campsite). Its is
well worth it to return to the campfire that evening ... it was great,
and reportedly one of the better ones at Philmont! Good water here out
of a spigot; no showers yet! Spar pole climbing is loved by all!
- Day Five (Pueblano Ruins to Copper Park): This hike, while not all
that long, is all uphill. The section from Pueblano Ruins to French
Henry is not all that bad, but your mettle will be well tested on "The
Wall" (from French Henry to Copper Park). Take a break at French Henry
for the program ... we ate our lunch there ... before hiking on to
Copper Park. Check in at French Henry to make sure when you can tour the
mine. The mine was a big hit with my guys! It is located a ways up the
trail toward Copper Park.
- Day Six (Copper Park): Good water here from a spigot; no showers.
Side hike Baldy. Get up early ... you hike Baldy and then do a food
pickup at Baldy Town. First showers at Baldy Town too! You have to
decide how you want to do them both. We went up the north side,
"summitted" late in the morning, and returned the same way. Was back at
our campsite a little after lunch. Bring warm clothes and water up
Baldy. It can get windy and cold. After lunch we hiked into Baldy. It's
a food pickup, so you need lots of empty packs, clean clothes, etc. You
can also wash clothes at the outdoor basin there. Hot showers if I
recall right! Bushes are the clothes dryers. Small trading post here
too. We had to buy fuel here. WE got choice of an apple or orange
apiece! What a luxury! The hike to Baldy is about three miles each way,
with some fairly steep hills. Above Baldy Town, on the ridge, look for
the trail you'll take tomorrow to Head of Dean. It's a long, long hike
- Day Seven (Copper Park to Head of Dean): This is a fairly long but
relatively easy hike. Do be careful to locate the Baldy Skyline trail.
Otherwise you wind up walking down a dirt road with a pretty good hill
to climb before getting into Head of Dean. You have a decision to make
here. Last year, this is where we did our service project. It took
almost three hours total time, including the long (1+ mile walk to the
area where we cleared trees). As a result, we missed the program there.
We had arrived there just after lunch. It was too late after we got
back, and the boys didn't want to come back the next day. Plan ahead is
the lesson learned here. Good water available at Head of Dean, from a
spigot. You stay at Upper Dean Cow, which is about a mile down the
trail. It's a dry trail camp, relatively small. It was very crowded when
we were there. Not a great site.
- Day Eight (Upper Dean Cow to Dean Cow): Another long but relatively
easy hike, almost all downhill. Get an early start, as the trail is
mostly all a dirt road, and can get very hot later in the day. Rock
climbing at Dean Cow is good. Hot showers. Good treated water from a
spigot. Wash basin for clothes. Do the evening nature program ... it was
about edible plants and was very well done and informative. Get to bed
early ... rough day tomorrow.
- Day Nine (Dean Cow to Harlan): Pack lots of water. Right away it's a
tough, steep climb out of Dean Cow into Turkey Creek Canyon. Lots of
rocks. The downhill coming off the ridge into the canyon is pretty
tough. Then a long, hot, jeep road through the canyon. Look for an
underpass under the highway off to your right of the dirt road. The
trail beginning on the south side of the highway and going on to Harlan
seems to go on forever. It's all uphill, but the grade isn't too bad.
Harlan has good water from a spigot, great campsites, and a terrific
program. Shotgun shooting and burro racing.
- Day Ten (Harlan to Ute Springs): Easy hike, mostly downhill. Ute
springs is a nice campsite. Good water, needs purification though. Set
up camp and send some boys to Ute Gulch to get food. I think it's about
a half hour walk. We didn't do it, but it might be feasible to side hike
- Day Eleven (Ute Springs to Clark's Fork): Pretty easy hike. Don not
miss going through Hidden Valley. The trail is on the south end of Aspen
Springs. It's very pretty and the view from Window Rock is not to be
missed. You will also hike by cathedral Rock. You would not believe how
good canned beef stew, biscuit, and cobbler can be after so many days of
dehydrated food! Good water from a spigot here; showers too. You will be
camping about a mile up the trail, at Upper Clark's Fork. Lots of good
sites. Long day tomorrow! Get a good night's sleep.
- Day Twelve (Clarks Fork to Camping Headquarters): Perhaps the
toughest day yet! Get an early early start! We were hiking at 6:30 and
reached headquarters around 2:00 PM. Make sure you have plenty of water,
there isn't any after Clark's Fork usually. We had breakfast at
Schaffer's Pass. It's all uphill from Clark's Fork. From Schaffer's Pass
the trail is long switchbacks leading to a very rocky section on the
Tooth Ridge. Be careful of your footing. Assuming you will be climbing
the Tooth, be sure to hang your bear bags before getting started. The
hike from the Tooth into base camp is very easy, but seems to take forever!
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