Jan 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm #1284025
@markrvpLocale: North Texas
It won't be long before it's time to choose our trek itinerary. I'm curious what camps and programs you enjoyed the most at Philmont? I know these questions are completely subjective, but it's nice to know what other people enjoyed and what you would skip if you had it to do over again.
Do you prefer the south country over the north country? Is it a "must" to climb Mt. Phillips or come in the last day over the Tooth of Time?
One of our people absolutely wants to go to Cypher's mine, but I hate to choose a whole trek based solely on this. Is the "stomp" worth making this a priority?
For those of you who have been to Fish Camp was it fun to tie flies and fly fish?
It seems to me that "search and rescue" and "re-dedication to scouting" days in a trek are not exciting. Also, for those of you that were on treks that had days that were just trail camp days without a program, was that okay? Was it nice to have a break?Jan 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm #1823458
I did two summer hiking treks @ Philmont (07 & 08). Both of them went thru Sawmill and the .308 rifle shooting range. On both treks, the boys liked that one the best. The loaded their own bullets. Shot targets. And then they were allowed to go down range and place their hiking hats as targets. The boys then shot their hiking hats and wore them proudly the rest of the hike.
Of course, the camps w/ chuck wagon meals were a hit as well.
Edit: Corrected 'there' to 'their.' Brain fart, I guess.Jan 11, 2012 at 5:35 pm #1823520
You are right, it's completely subjective, but here is what the boys liked on their 2008 trek:
Shotgun shell loading and shotgun shooting
Mine tour and gold panning (Cyphers Mine)
Black powder rifles ( CLear Creek)
Homesteading (1800's life and milking a cow) at Crooked Creek
Chuck wagon dinner and Mexican Cantina dinners
Rock climbing was rained out but no one minded after a long hike.
We did not see the 'stomp" at Cyphers, so can't comment on that.
We were almost forced to take a trek that included the Tooth of Time on the last day. I don't think anyone would have missed it if we hadn't done it. One thing on hiking in from the Tooth is that it's a long longer than it looks from there. You can see base camp and it looks close, but still several hours away and the boys are usually ready to call it a day. We had a 13 mile day that day and got up at 3:30 am, hiked from Miners Park so maybe that contributed to the attitude about the Tooth of Time.
Haven't been in the north country, so can't comment on that vs the south country.
Trail camps were nice, the boys enjoyed them. The fewer dry camps the better though.
We're going back this summer so I hope we see some of the north country to compare.
We went over Phillips and it was pretty cool. (We were supposed to camp there, but it still had several feet of snow so we were told to keep going and camp at Clear Creek. That was a long day too.)
I think almost all of the treks include either Phillips or Baldy. I was glad we hiked down from Phillips to Clear Creek instead of up Phillips from Clear Creek. That is a steep trail! Especially since Phillips is a dry camp so you are carrying extra water.
When is your trek?Jan 11, 2012 at 6:15 pm #1823535
@markrvpLocale: North Texas
We're crew 626-100B June 26-July 8
I am in Troop 360 in Granbury… Longhorn Council, Santa Fe District
We're going to go two days early to the NRA Whittington Center to get used to the altitude.Jan 11, 2012 at 8:21 pm #1823579
> .308 rifle shooting range
That's interesting. Only Venturers can shoot above .22 caliber according to G2SS. Philmont must get some special treatment – perhaps because all Scouts must be Venturing age.Jan 11, 2012 at 10:22 pm #1823623
Watching our scouts select a trek was interesting to watch. Desired activities and desired trek length were discussed back and forth for a long time.
I think they can't really go wrong. One thing to keep in mind is that you can visit activities that are not on your itinerary. Everything at Philmont is so close that you just add 2 or 3 miles to your day to do an extra activity that interests you. Our scouts did for example extra spar pole climbing and extra rock climbing & rappelling. Our scouts liked it all, but favorites were
– Shotgun (incl. reloading)
– Burro Racing
– Spar Pole Climbing
– Indoor Climbing (while waiting for their turn with rock climbing)
– Homesteading (melking goats was hilarious)
Our scouts put an extra 22 miles in for the extra activities. It started on their first day with 3 extra miles for spar pole climbing and then continued more or less day after day. To them it was really worth it. They all had packs under 20 lbs and could move fast. They got up early in the morning to hike when it was cool and also to have extra time for extra activities. They chose to do Mt. Baldy and the victory hike (going over Tooth of Time back into basecamp). I enjoyed both. Experiencing the sunrise from Shaeffer's Peak (on the ridge to Tooth of Time) on the last day was very inspirational to me. The boys came up with that idea on the 2nd to last day and got up at night to make it in time for sunrise. It was fun to watch them execute their plans.
Enjoy your time out there. Go with the flow (the boys' decisions) and you will have lots of fun.
ManfredJan 12, 2012 at 5:30 am #1823684
Manfred's comments reminded me that the side hike up Trail Peak to see the plane wreck remains was also one of the favorites. That's something they don't see very often.Jan 12, 2012 at 6:45 am #1823708
@sckuhnLocale: Mountainous Ohio
I strongly encourage all crews to use a selection tool like Capital Area Council offers –
They way every participate has an opportunity to contribute to the decision making process AND you get to do the most of what everyone wants to do.
We complete the survey forms enter them into the spreadsheet then review the top 5 and pick from there…. works great for us.
The descriptions on the survey form are great and alot easier to work through than looking at 30 different treks!!Jan 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm #1823882
I recall the Rangers saying that Philmont (at Sawmill) was the only place where Scouts could shoot .308s. I don't recall the reason why they could when others couldn't.Jan 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm #1823886
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
I didn't know that. Interesting.
All my council's camps had rifle ranges, but they were only equipped with .22 rifles, open sights, and I'm pretty sure they only used 22 shorts. Of course part of that is cost (guns, ammo), but I'm sure other factors are
size (the .22 ranges were, I think 50 yards or maybe just 100 feet, quite short compared to the 400-yard range in my town now
noise for the rest of camp and any neighbors,
safety (I'd rather be hit by a .22 than a .308!)
recoil – if you're trying to teach good shooting habits, you don't want boys flinching in anticipation of the recoil.
All of which seem less of a factor at Philmont with big spaces, no neighbors, older boys, longer-term staff (versus army reservists doing a week or two at a time), etc.Jan 12, 2012 at 2:07 pm #1823902
The black powder rifles are fun too.
Noisy, flames, smoke, recoil, big holes in the hats and bandannas they shoot at.
Teenage boys generally dig that kind of stuff. :)
The BSA does take safety seriously and they had excellent supervision at the programs we participated in.Jan 12, 2012 at 4:03 pm #1823956
@geistLocale: Smoky Mountains
When our crew went in 2009, the boys really enjoyed
Cyphers mine tour and gold panning, Fish camp, and
spar pole climbing. They had fun at all the staffed camps.
I point out the three activities above because they were
not on our itinerary. When planning the next day's activities
the boys would decide if they wanted to detour to camps
along our hike to the next nights campsite. They would decide
how long this would take and how early we had to break camp.
We ended up having fun activities even when the trek had us
in trail camps at night. We saw the plane crash, we shot
black powder, we climbed Phillips and Tooth.
The staff at the Philmont camps are very accommodating to
crews just passing through. So your options are much broader
than just what camps you sleep at each night.
enjoy Philmont!Jan 13, 2012 at 9:00 am #1824233
Mark, as a scout who went to Philmont and a past ranger anything that evolved shooting was always high on the list. But I'll list the ones scouts liked the most that I interacted with.
Whitman Vega – Mountain Biking
Cimmaroncito – Rock climbing
Harlan – Skeet shooting/Reloading
Ponil – The evening show is great; plus the scouts always enjoy the root beer
Sawmill – .308 shooting; one of the best sunrises at Philmont
Cyphers – The stomp is amazing; the mine itself is "ok"
Fish Camp – Fly tying; overall fun camp
Black Mtn – Probably the one I heard the most about; black powder shooting; blacksmithing (the hike up black from here is also probably the hardest at Philmont)
Miners Park – Rock climbing
Crater Lake – the show is great
Pueblano – Logger ball is hilarious, overall a fav
Miranda – Shooting; amazing views of Baldy
Clear Creek – Tamahawk throwing
Mtns wise – for me it's Baldy>Phillips>Black>Trail>the restJan 13, 2012 at 6:28 pm #1824490
Between the boys shooting their hats & bandanas, branding their hats & GoreTex boots (as well as other equipment), tying their boots together and tossing them onto the entrance gateway (& leaving them suspended 20' above the ground after they finished their trek), and other acts of intentional 'modification' to their gear, I'm sure there were a few upset parents when little Johnnie got home from Philmont.Feb 6, 2012 at 10:07 pm #1835594
@wunderLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
When planning, our guys wanted everything that involved shooting and every peak. We did one peak and two kinds of shooting and they had a great trek.
Personally, I was not that impressed with firing a black powder rifle twice. It was nice, but I've done that without hiking twenty miles. But the guys liked it.
Apache Springs is a lovely camp and where we had our a layover day and conservation. The sweat lodges were a big hit.
Never skip an activity. We skipped GPS navigation and spent time sitting around in camp. We did the mock Search and Rescue and had a blast, especially because half our crew was WFA-trained and aced the exercise, delighting the staff.
Camping on top of Mt. Phillips and starting out in the clouds the next day was really memorable.
The activities are Clarks Fork were really time-consuming. We got in a bit late and spent all our time at the chuck wagon. No horse rides that day (wouldn't have had time), barely time for branding. The chuck-wagon meal was not that big a deal, it would have been faster to cook in camp. There wasn't any fellowship with other trekkers, mostly a lot of standing in line.
Rock climbing was great, they like 3-D archery. Two guys asked if they could do another conservation project.
Fly-tying was fun, and our guys caught fish.
Trail camps are great. I think my favorite place was Wild Horse Meadow. Lovely spot, quiet evening, we found out that some refried beans mixed into the mac and cheese with some extra spices tasted great.
Both the Stomp and the campfire at Clark's Fork were impressive.
Really, every single activity is great, so don't worry too much. Make sure you hit some favorites and enjoy the trek.
One big question, are the Scouts there for program or for mountains? If they want to hike a lot, do that. We have the Sierras, so we went for a less-challenging itinerary (#4) and more program time. Either choice can work.
Going home over the Tooth is a long day, but special. We ran into our Ranger as we walked back into camp, that was a great reunion.
If you have to choose, go for things that you can't do at home.Feb 8, 2012 at 8:44 pm #1836650
We attended in 2011 and our favorite camp by far was Crater Lake. Spar climbing and the older staff was well experienced and they were true performers. The setting with the Tooth in the background was spectacular and the show was the highlight of our trip. Very well done. It was the abilities of the staff that made that camp special.
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