Philmont 2002 Trek Route 12

Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 23:07:52 -0400
From: Alan and/or Brenda Thomson <>
Subject: [Philmont]: Trek 12
Getting a little afield of my direct experience, but will give it a shot. Sorry it took me a while to get to it.

Day 2 - Old Abreu. Typical easy first day - short bus ride to Zastrow Turnaround and short hike to Old Abreu. Could hit the Cantina at Abreu in the evening, but you haven't spent the days on the trail to make you really appreciate a cold root beer.

Day 3 - Crags. A short day to a trail camp. Sleep in! If you didn't do the program (Mexican homestead cabin tour) at Abreu yesterday, head back and do it this morning before hitting the trail. A switchback climb to "the Notch" and then along (and high above) Rayado Creek. Truly gorgeous scenery. Crags is about a third of the way to Fish Camp and on the Creek, so you will drop all the way down to camp this night, and climb back up in the morning. Fishing is a possibility if you have poles.

Day 4 - Lost Cabin. As yesterday, spectacular scenery as you work your way along the Rayado to Fish Camp. Program there is fly tying, fishing, and another cabin tour - Waite Phillips Rayado Lodge. Lost Cabin is another two miles or so.

Days 5 and 6 - Beaubein. First need to get to Phillips Junction for a food pickup, and possibly your conservation project. Can either head back to Fish Camp and then take the four wheel drive road along the Rayado (conservation project the past year or two has been constructing a new hiking trail parallel to the four wheel drive) or can head toward Bear Canyon and Buck Creek camps - when given a choice, I usually opt for a different trail rather that repeating what I've already done but have no idea of the conditions of the latter choice, except that it clearly is more up and down that the former, and is the route shown in the TREKS booklet. Beubien is a short hike from Phillips Junction. A nice camp for a layover. Program is horse rides, western lore (boot branding - warn the crew not to hit any stitching with the branding iron), a campfire, and chuckwagon dinner one night. When you do these will largely be dictated by working around whenever you are scheduled for horse rides. The side hike to Trail Peak and the B-24 bomber crash site is worthwhile - if not everyone is interested, splitting the crew is a possibility. There are showers at both Phillips Junction and Beaubein.

Day 7 - Black Mountain. A short day. If necessary, you could easily schedule your horse ride at Beaubien this morning. Program is blacksmithing, black powder rifle, and mountain living.

Day 8 - Lamberts Mine. Hike to Lamberts Mine and set up camp, then continue on to Cyphers Mine for program - mine tour, gold panning, and blacksmithing again. Returning in the evening for the 'Stomp' in Charlie Cypher's cabin is a possibility - it is usually among the best of the backcountry campfires.

Day 9 - Cimarroncito. My usual advice is to do the rock climbing program at Cito in the morning, to avoid being chased indoors by afternoon thunderstorms. You can either get an early start and hope that there is an opening at 10 am, or plan on doing it the next morning. You also have to get up to Ute Gulch Commissary for a food pickup - definitely no need for everyone to go on that mission, so split the crew (crew leader, of course, must be one who goes). Those who stay behind can do laundry and get showers. Your next night is nearby at Cathedral Rock, a trail camp, so you can almost look at Cito as another layover when figuring out what programs to do and when. Environmental awareness is another program there, and the side hike through Hidden Valley to Window Rock is very nice. Program at Hunting Lodge is a tour of the other Waite Phillips cabin, and understand that the evening program there the past two years was very good - you can easily make that from either camp.

Day 10 - Cathedral Rock. Again, this is essentially a layover at Cito, except that you have to break and re-set up camp.

Day 11 - Schaefers Pass. Almost all uphill today. The water situation there may dictate what you do about meals. If the spring is flowing (even slowly), you have plenty of time and can plan on dinner there. If it is not flowing, you will either need to carry water up from Clarks Fork, or eat dinner for lunch there. Program at Clarks Fork is same as Beaubien, so it is just a chance to play a little more horseshoes or brand something else. If the spring is flowing, fill your water bottles for the next day. If it is not flowing, you will need to carry extra water from Clarks Fork to get you through the next day. To this point water has been readily available to you, but you need to really pay attention to it from now on - Schaefers Pass is the only source (and it does go dry on occasion) between Clark's Fork and Base Camp.

Day 12 - Camping Headquarters. Break camp before sunup and get to the top of Schaefers Peak for sunrise and breakfast. You will be crossing Tooth Ridge in the morning, so thunderstorms should not be an issue. Trail across the ridge is very exposed, with great views to each side, and is very rocky. Figure on an hour plus to climb the Tooth and take the 360 degree views. All downhill from here - first half is pretty gentle and in the trees, the second half seems endless and is exposed to the sun. You should be back in time for lunch.

See also:

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