Philmont 2001 Trek 24


Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2002 10:10:26 -0800
From: Don Nugent <dnugent@sundial-marine.com>
Subject: Re: [Philmont]: trek 24 info

Trek 24

Some general and specific observations about trek 24 ....

by Troop 207 from Cedar Mill, Oregon: Crew 726-B.

General:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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 cooking them.

Specific:

  1. 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 horses. Also, have all your rosters and medicals in order before you arrive. Incomplete information will only slow you down.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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 tomorrow!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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 to Cimarroncito.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

See also:

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