Jan 3, 2019 at 2:42 pm #3571185
Just wondering what some of your crews’ strategies may have been for selecting their top 6 itineraries.
The Philmont Guidebook says to have each crew member (youth) choose their six favorite programs, then tally up the results and pick itineraries based on that.
Any other ideas?Jan 3, 2019 at 2:57 pm #3571187TAG in AZBPL Member
We went through the itineraries with the crew on one of our shakedown hikes. We talked to them about things they might not consider: # of dry camps, days between showers, days between resupply, which peaks we would see, days without program, north vs south, etc. When we got back, we gave the Scouts about a week to submit a force ranked list of their choices. We put the results in a spreadsheet and tallied them up. Only the Scouts voted.
We talked about it on a shakedown hike because this gave the crew plenty of time to talk through details. And, gave us plenty of time to answer questions. I think we would have gotten much different results if we just gave the Scouts the list of itineraries and had them pick without any discussion.
Oddly enough, we ended up with a much longer itinerary that I expected and had the joy of 11 days without a shower. But, the Scouts got what they wanted. They wanted to see both North and South. They wanted to do 2 of the big 3 (Baldy, Tooth, Philips) and they wanted to shoot as many things as they could. They didn’t care about multiple day food carries or big mile days transiting South to North.Jan 3, 2019 at 2:58 pm #3571188KEVIN WBPL Member
This is the best way to go. Focus on the Programs and the hike difficulty. Don’t pin the entire Trek on going to the top of Baldy or another location as weather may impact this and then the Crew will be very dissappointed.
I found this spreadsheet online and can’t imagine trying to decide without it: http://www.sccovington.com/philmont/trek_info/itinerarySelection/itinerary_selection.htm
Each Crew member ranked their program preferences on the Word document and as the Advisor I plugged them into the spreadsheet. Then we agreed to the overall preferences on the Preferences tab and looked at what we found on the Results tab. This really helped us get to a more manageable discussion and also helped avoid petty arguments on specific activities or some Scouts feeling like no one listened to their feedback.
Before using this format the Scouts were overwhelmed with all the options. After plugging all the data in we reviewed the top 6 in detail and could filter out the others.Jan 3, 2019 at 6:40 pm #3571245Brad PBPL Member
I printed out the list of activities and asked our crew to mark the ones that interest them. I’m going to look through the treks that seem to hit the most of those and go back to the crew with those treks. I’ll ask them to prioritize and factor in the difficulty of the hikes.
I do not want to deal with the mules. I’m sure many times they’re great, but I’ve talked to scouters who strongly discouraged taking a mule trek. Also, the ATVs could be fun, but the 1 trek with them is the low mileage one that I don’t think our crew would want based on talking with them.Jan 3, 2019 at 8:10 pm #3571279Jeffrey PetersBPL Member
Our scouts decided on the activities that they wanted to do and they researched which treks met as many of those requirements. Our scouts wanted to do a lot of shooting sports. Each scout recommended three options. It was also recommended to them by Philmont Alumni that they choose a trek that goes over Baldy, Tooth or Philips. They then took the top three recommendations and vote and ranked the top three. It ended up being Trek 14.Jan 3, 2019 at 9:45 pm #3571309Bob ShuffBPL Member
I published the trek list link and printed out the comparison charts. I doubt anyone spent more than 5 minutes before our meeting. We had 2 crews that quickly divided themselves into medium and hard. The hard crew only considered treks that included Baldy and other peaks. They got their second choice, #20 if I recall. The more moderate crew discussed the programs more and all voted for their top 5 or 6. The top 3 were obvious. Although I could have walked them through the logical tradeoffs, few would have listened. I’m proud they made their own choices. They got their first choice, #10.
I’m looking forward to trying this again in 2020.Jan 4, 2019 at 2:14 pm #3571432
Thanks all for the ideas! I like the spreadsheet that Kevin linked to, however it hasn’t been updated for 2019. Itinerary selection is much earlier this year, January 28th, than in past years.
I decided to print out a list of programs and have each Scout rank their top 10, with “10” being their favorite. Then we’ll add up scores for all the programs to determine the top 6 scores. With that information they can look at the program matrix that Philmont provides and narrow things down.
We’ll see how it goes!Jan 4, 2019 at 5:43 pm #3571464KEVIN WBPL Member
I emailed the creator of the spreadsheet I linked to and he responsed already (below). Sounds like you may be able to use it for 2019 pretty soon. What a great person to take such and interest in helping others to get the most out of thier Treks.
I’ve been working on the updated version of the survey form and the spreadsheet. Due to some of the structural changes for this summer, I’ve been waiting for some data from Philmont. I’ll probably upload a version without it so people can get started — it doesn’t impact the selection process. What’s taking time now is verifying the “Programs Included in Itineraries” cross reference. The one in the TREKS book is has a lot of errors — when I was writing the TREKS book this page was the most difficult to create — it has to be done manually by someone who understands the itineraries and knows the ranch. I’m going to add a worksheet to the spreadsheet so you can print the updated one and I’ll send it to Fran when I have it done.
There are significant changes this summer due to the 27,000 acres burned in the Ute Park fire which basically followed US-64 through the middle of Philmont. There are north itineraries and south itineraries but none that traverse the burn area — no itineraries hike Baldy & the Tooth of Time (you can do a side-hike up the Tooth on your return to base camp if you do a north itinerary — let me know if you want information about this). There are also new camps on neighbor’s properties—they have allowed Philmont to use their land so we can accommodate a full load of campers.
As soon as I get the survey form & spreadsheet ready, I’ll upload them. I’ll send you an email when I’ve done it. Hopefully this will be in the next day or so. If there is anything I can do to help you prepare for your trek please don’t hesitate to contact me.Jan 4, 2019 at 6:00 pm #3571468
Awesome, thank you Kevin!Jan 4, 2019 at 7:16 pm #3571486
I suppose ranking trek selection by which program features (activities) are most popular is a good way to do it. Though most trek have similar program features, some just have more. The more program features (and staffed camps) a trek has the less strenuous and solitude camps the trek will have. Likewise, the more strenuous the trek the less program features and more solitude it will have.
So the other side of picking treks with lots of program features is picking treks with lots of challenge, solitude camps and bagging peaks. Some crews may want more challenge and solitude and less crowded staffed camps with program features.Jan 5, 2019 at 1:13 am #3571541Brad PBPL Member
Knowing our crew, they would prefer more staffed camps and less solitude. That’s the opposite of me, but of course it’s for them, not me.
I will ask them to not just go for what’s easy, but in the end, it’s what they choose and what will make it the best experience for them.Jan 5, 2019 at 6:34 am #3571570Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
in addition to David’s comments
Other criteria include:
–number of hot showers (for the adults especially)
–number of chuck wagon dinners (hot food cooked by someone else) at the staffed camps
For our crew, the Crew chief and I developed a list of all the possible criteria, then the Scouts voted (Chicago rules) to create a list of the top criteria. Then the Scouts down selected a short list itineraries based on the Scout-created list of criteria. If I remember correctly, one key filter was that they wanted as many opportunities to shoot firearms as possible. There were some surprises: the crew was not interested in ending at the Tooth of Time, the crew wanted to pass some high points (aka peaks), and the crew wanted showers.Feb 12, 2019 at 1:24 am #3577984
I’m in the boat that wanted solitude, peaks and distance, however our crew picked every shooting and weapons event it could meaning we could end up with a ~ 60 mile trek, no dry camps, no peaks, little solitude and the least aerobic hiking scale considered “challenging” or one step from car camping; showers, trading posts, chuck wagon chow, crowded trail camps, etc.
Is this normal? It seems a lot of scouts today don’t seem to get shooting exposure, so I can see why many picked this option, but we are traveling from the east coast to watch Scouts shoot three rounds on a range when we can shoot hundreds of rounds in our backyard in a day. My son and most of his friends get to shoot all the time, my son has his own M-4, shotgun, several Glocks, an air-soft arsenal (literally) and compound crossbows and even he picked shooting!
I will get over it and know its for the Scouts and I am really happy I get to spend time with my son before he heads off to college, but dang, I was kinda bummed we aren’t spending more time in the bush with nature… hoping the rangers change it up — if you guys monitor this forum…. please drop some long treks on us!!! Pretty Please!!! I don’t want to be on the valley floor doing stream crossings for ten days, I can do that in Virginia on the Appalachian Trail.
Hopefully we slip off on some challenging side hikes.Feb 12, 2019 at 8:02 pm #3578104
I did a survey on survey monkey with about 25 programs on it. I didn’t do all of them but I did most. We have two crews going from our troop. I made a copy of the first survey and made a new one. It was pretty simple to do this. I pulled up the programs list on the itinerary guide and just copied/pasted into the survey. We had the scouts rank them and I took their top 6-8 program features and looked through the book plus used Philsearch.org to pick the itineraries that most closely matched what our scouts wanted. I really like the Philsearch.org site. You can put in multiple programs/camps, etc., hit submit and it will show you in order what itineraries fit your selection and the percentage of camps/programs each itinerary has. Great tool!
Hope that helps.Feb 12, 2019 at 8:36 pm #3578118Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Your ranger just trains the crew for the first few days and then leaves. He or she brings the crew up to a standard. Some crews already know the drill. Others need the training, especially in the bear protocol. The Ranger will not change your itinerary. In fact, once assigned (and once you start your trek,) you have to stick to the itinerary in terms of trails hiked and campsites where you overnight.
If you have to add more stuff, study your maps and add side hikes and adventures such as summits of peaks. Note that starting end of July, beginning of August the thunder and lightening storms roll in every afternoon like clockwork. You do not want to be on top of one of the taller peaks in the afternoon.Feb 12, 2019 at 8:47 pm #3578120
Are you going this year? What itinerary did you guys get? We did two types of shooting in 2017 and the scouts loved it but each crew is different. We did muzzleloaders at Miranda and cowboy action shooting at Ponil. We have a lot of the same scouts in our crew this year, our other one has a lot of first timers, and they still ranked shooting high on the list. Just remember there’s a difference in shooting at a range at a scout camp, shooting range, etc. back home vs. doing that at Philmont where you’ve walked several miles to get there and/or might have more miles to go.Feb 13, 2019 at 12:40 am #3578171
Once you select and get approved for your itinerary your crew has to own it. Which means you have to be in all its designated camps on all their designated nights. But how and where you go in between camps is up to you.
Every afternoon in camp your crew needs to sit down around the map and plan the next day’s hike. Between any two camps there may be two or more semi-direct trails through other camps, program features, scenic views and over peaks, even more indirect trails. Consider nearby attractions you may want to do on the way. Consider the time required for extra hiking distance and to do any event you’re considering. You don’t have time to do everything so you have to decide what is important. And you don’t want to be stumbling into camp to set-up, cook and eat after dark. To say the least you won’t have time to plan the next day’s hike.Feb 15, 2019 at 2:50 am #3578550
All thanks for the feedback.
We are going in early July, I dont know our Trek # yet, been on travel all this week!Mar 2, 2019 at 1:36 am #3581244
Trek 3 – which is really short. 54 miles, it does include Baldy, which I would have really been disappointed if we didn’t get that.
Now I will bring a nice lawn chair, an iPad loaded with books and movies, a good camera, an electric toothbrush, etc..
54 miles is nothing. That’s just shy of two marathons! I feel a little cheated, I was hoping to break 100 miles..Mar 2, 2019 at 2:19 am #3581252
Glad you got to get up Baldy.
“Now I will bring a chair, an iPad loaded with books and movies, a good camera, an electric toothbrush, etc.” LOL
I have a photo of a pack-line at a Philmont camp and one of the packs has a 10 pound Flash steel folding chair strapped to it. Got to love it.
The Philmont welcome pavilion as a scale to weigh your packs before getting on your bus to start your trek. We see many packs top out over 50 pounds, some even more. Got to feel sorry for those poor guys.Mar 2, 2019 at 4:37 pm #3581307
No bad itineraries at Philmont, only different ones. :-) Our troop’s other crew had that on their list but got 7 as their first choice. The crew I’m on is doing 23. Looking forward to it. Going into some places I’ve never been before.
We are 6-27T contingent. Anyone else going to be out there around that time?
Jamie.Mar 2, 2019 at 8:40 pm #3581356
On Itinerary #23 you’re going to spend a lot of time in the Valle Vidal.
When you are coming south up out of Greenwood Canyon toward Baldy you will top out on the ridge line that circles southwest to just below the summit of Baldy. Take the opportunity to bag it before dropping way down to Copper Park. You’ve already done the hard hiking (climbing) out of Greenwood Canyon and it’s a long hard climb back up from Copper Park to the summit of Baldy.
You will be one of few crews that bags Baldy with your packs on. Be sure to record it with photos.
“Philmont should be enjoyed, not endured.” MoonshineMar 3, 2019 at 12:08 am #3581392
David – yes, never been up in the Valle Vidal. Something different, looking forward to it.
Some of the adults went on an autumn adventure this past September. We stayed at Copper Park and summited Baldy from there then spent the next night at Baldy Town. We plan on hanging bear bags at the “Baldy parking lot” and bringing some extra bear bags with us to put unneeded items like sleep system, tent, etc. in those and stow by one of the bear line trees. Most of us will take our regular packs up Baldy but not fully loaded. Some of us took lightweight day packs in 2017. Used mine to do a side hike of the Tooth. Didn’t like it. Cut into my shoulders too bad. Took my regular pack with only the essentials for the day to Baldy from Miranda and preferred that much more.
Scouts wanted a burro experience like they had in 2017 plus cowboy action shooting so 23 was the best choice. Will be a tight day with French Henry and Miranda in the same day. Will have to get up early and get to FH right when programs start.
In my opinion, you can’t beat ending a trek at Ponil. We did 25 in 2017 and it ended at Ponil. All of the crew, except myself and another adult advisor, did the horseback riding. Myself and the other advisor took it easy and piddled around Ponil while they were riding horses. Very relaxing. We don’t even have a program the morning we leave Ponil for basecamp.
Can’t wait. :-)Mar 3, 2019 at 3:05 am #3581423
My point was to summit Baldy on your way up from Upper Greenwood Canyon before going back down to Copper Park. On your hike up from Upper Greenwood Canyon (10,000+) you climb 1,640 feet up to a ridge line (11,640). That ridge line arcs southwest around to below the summit of Baldy (12,443). It’s an easy nearly level hike with your packs to just below the summit. If you’ve been on Baldy before you’ve seen it to the northwest. It’s that nearly flat treeless mine pocked arc from the summit around to the east.
That way you won’t have to re-climb some of the 1,913 feet from Copper Park or 2,592 feet from Baldy Town to the summit of Baldy. Or have to do any thing special like bear bagging your gear.
Then your next day you can hike from Copper Park (10,530) down to French Henry (9,635) for mine tour an such before going around to Baldy Town (9,851) for food pick-up and on down to Miranda (8898) for black powder shooting and pick-up burros.
“Philmont should be enjoyed, not endured.” MoonshineMar 3, 2019 at 7:11 pm #3581522
The plan is to hang bear bags, and non-essential equipment, at the Baldy parking lot on the way up from Upper Greenwood, summit Baldy, back down to grab our bear bags and then head to Copper Park. I was there in September going up from Copper Park and I agree that the open meadow to the old miners shack is level but from the Baldy parking lot to the meadow still has some up in it. I’d prefer to take as little weight as possible. Shouldn’t take us too long to hang LNT bear bags. The crew should have that down pretty good from the last few days spent in the Valle.
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