Philmont 2002 Trek Route 5

Date: Tue, 09 Apr 2002 20:57:46 -0400
From: Alan and/or Brenda Thomson <>
Subject: [Philmont]: Re: 2002 Trek 5
I did Trek 21 last summer with a troop other than my own that was in our Council Contingent. That troop had a second crew in the contingent that did Trek 5, so I know a little about it from their experience. Trek 5 is also very similar to Trek 4, which was Trek 9 when I did it in '99 - many of the trails are the same, though most nights those two routes have different camps scheduled. Anyway...

Day 2 - Lovers Leap. A nice starting camp, and hike to it. The bus dropoff is directly below the Tooth, where you will be the last day.

Day 3 - Crater Lake. Our Ranger in '99 suggested a predawn hike back to Lovers Leap (the outcropping, which is about 25 minutes or so from the camp) for sunrise and breakfast. You have a short hike this day, so lots of time for program - Continental Tie and Lumber Company (spar pole climbing and rail making).

Day 4 - Black Mountain. Your hike today is the infamous trail that crosses the North Fork Urraca Creek fifty plus times.

Days 5 and 6 - Beaubien. Your first layover. A lot of program, and might well have your conservation project here (or nearby at Phillips Junction). Also, since you left Base Camp with only three days of food, you need to get to PJ for a food pickups both Day 5 and Day 7 (as opposed to Trek 4, which leaves Base Camp with four days worth (through lunch Day 6), which combined with the chuckwagon dinner that night means the two scheduled pickups can be combined to be one the morning of Day 7).

Day 7 - Wild Horse. You will pass through Crooked Creek camp for program on your way to this trail camp.

Day 8 - Mount Phillips. Program at Clear Creek, and dinner for lunch there, will occupy most of the day. No need to get to Mount Phillips too early, as it is a trail camp with no nearby water. You will have been meeting people each night who have come down the trail you will be climbing, and will hear how tough it is. It is actually off the ranch and not well maintained, and is fairly steep, but our crew in '99 did not think it was as bad as described - I suspect it is harder coming down it than going up. Will have an opportunity for both a sunset and a sunrise from the summit, if you want.

Day 9 and 10 - Cimarroncito. A long hike, and you will make the day even longer if you decide to do program at Cypher's Mine. Again a lot of program, and you also need to side hike to Ute Gulch for a food pickup. Try to schedule your rock climbing for the morning, to miss the afternoon storms - those sessions often have to move inside, rather than on the ridge. Hidden Valley, Window Rock, and the Hunting Lodge are well worth the hike. You might be able to talk the Environmental Awareness staff to guide that hike for their program, letting you combine two programs into one time slot. As I noted in my Trek 21 comments, understand the evening program at Hunting Lodge is outstanding, and you may want to hike back there after dinner for it. There may be an opportunity for your conservation project, if you haven't done it previously, but that will probably cost you one or two of the program opportunities.

Day 11 - Tooth Ridge. Another long hike, and much tougher. A significant climb, though not steep, from Clark's Fork up to Schaefer's Pass and Peak. No water except if the spring at Schaefers Pass is flowing. Dinner for lunch there may be an option. The trail across Tooth Ridge is very rocky and very exposed and takes well over two hours - keep a weather eye out for a thunderstorm. You can climb the Tooth this afternoon, or tomorrow morning for sunrise - most crews at Tooth Ridge opt for sunrise. If you'd rather, there is a rock formation at the camp which also is very nice for sunrise.

Day 12 - Base Camp. A fairly easy last day. All downhill, but the trail never seems to end, and is largely in the sun. Still no sources of water, so getting an early start has the benefit of both beating the heat of the day and of getting into Base Camp early to take care of the check-in routine. You should have the afternoon free for a tour of the Villa Philmonte or to take a bus to town.

As has been noted previously, there are no bad treks. But this one is probably one of the better ones. A lot of program opportunities, several peaks, and some nice trails.

- Al Thomson, Troop 236, Schooley's Mountain, NJ
2001 703E11 Trek 21
2000 Autumn Adventure
1999 703K2 Trek 9 (now 4)

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