- Jul 18, 2019 at 12:42 am #3602381
Thought I would share my experiences with our Philmont Trip. We were 702 crew Itinerary 4. We flew out early and spent time in Colorado Springs. We stayed at the Garden of the Gods RV resort. They have bunkhouses ( 1 bunk bed and 1 full/queen bed, sitting area). Paid $197 for three night stay per bunkhouse. Works out to be $65/night or $16/night per person. Resort has a good shower/bathhouse, laundry facility and swimming pool. Since we spent most of our time sightseeing, we really were there to just sleep at night. Very close to Garden of the Gods. If you are looking for a inexpensive place to stay and do not want to camp since you are about to camp for 10 days, it is worth looking into.
There is a Subway close to the resort were we purchased box lunches to take on our way to Pikes Peak. This way, we could eat anytime we wanted and not have to get off the Peak to find a place to eat. The owner of the Subway was very helpful and our lunches were ready for an 8:30am pickup.
Called ahead to Pikes Peak and go the scout rate for visiting. Drove our rented vans to the top. Had a good time. Also hiked from Garden of the Gods visitor center to Balance Rock the first day we were in. Good way to get ready for Philmont. Also visit Air Force Academy and had the guided tour.
Philmont – arrived on 7/02 around 10:30am. As usual, it is always a busy day. New YPT showers are always full. This was my third trek (’82, ’13 and now ’19). I explained to our Ranger our cooking plan ( we use Reactor stoves and Rubbermaid Bowls)…he understood what we were doing but still had us take the big pot. One of my scouts had a hunting backpack (external frame) so he had the perfect pack for carrying the big pot.
Ranger showed us the big pot method. Can’t heat the water up in the big pot since reactor stoves are made for reactor pots only. Once our ranger left, we switched to our bowl method of cooking and cleaning. AND the big pot became the crew bowl/spoon carrier/storage for the trip. So the big pot did serve a purpose…although not for cooking.
Hike to Garcia Cow was awful. 12 hour rain storm from noon onward. Hiked across the meadow all spread out. Must have looked like scene from Full Metal Jacket. Only no one was shooting at us or us walking on land mines. Garci Cow was all mud. HUGE ruts in the road in camp. I have no idea on how a regular 4×4 could drive in the ruts without a lift kit install on the truck to elevate it. Had a scout get very chilled. While the camp will get a 1 out of 4 on Yelp, the staff gets a 5 out of 4! The one staffer carried up a kettle of hot water (10 minute hike) to our camp site to offer it to my chilled scout. Filled a nalgene bottle with the warm water and gave it to him to use as a hot water bottle.
I’ll post more of my thoughts on the trip later.Jul 18, 2019 at 2:19 am #3602386
David YBPL Member
@moonshineLocale: Mid Tenn
Nice report, thanks and look forward to more.
“Philmont should be enjoyed, not endured.” MoonshineJul 23, 2019 at 12:10 am #3603039
Finally able to post more about our trip.
Glad I had rain pants and gaiters. Kept the rain out of my boots as we hiked across the meadow to Garci Cow. This was the dining fly we used on our trek
I brought my own set of MSR poles to use it versus using trekking poles. Came in handy as we tried to wait out the rain before hiking to Garcia Cow. Didn’t happen. 3:00pm came and we had to move on.
Lots of bugs this year. More than I ever remember in my previous treks. Glad I did decide to pack the DEET.
I was not aware of the tenting changes regarding parents/scouts until we arrived at Philmont. The two dads were planning on tenting with their sons throughout the trip. The other advisors on our ’13 trek tented with their sons and came to have a great bonding with each other on the trek. As a result of this change in rules, we had to carry another tent. I guess I fail to understand why a dad and his son cannot tent with each other, especially on a great advenure like Philmont.
Coming down Trail Peak was a hugh challenge. Practically straight down the mountain among a loose rock trail.
Tooth of Time at sunrise was a challenge. Left Stockade Ridge camp at 3:15am..made it to Tooth around 5:15am. There were a group of rangers that brought a coleman two burner stove and made pancakes at the tooth. Best pancake I ever had!.
Rock climbing at Miner’s Park was great!…much harder than Cimaronncito. Overall, all the staff members were great! Conservation project at Beubein was excellent! Looking forward to seeing video of them burning our piles of logs/branches/etc in the winter.
Base camp should make sure all the washers and dryers are working.
Gear I should have left behind – none – I used everything that I had brought along for the trip. Glad I had a bladder system in my pack, Makes it so much easier to drink and hike. Puffy jacket was better than the 200 fleece jacket from ’13. Having a Thermorest Neo-Air inflater is worth carrying. Easy to blow up the neo-air mattress.
Since this was my last trek to Philmont – I’m getting too old to do the backpacking thing, good luck to folks trying to figure out the electronics/battery storage/recharging. Hooked up my big Goal Zero storage battery to my Oregon Garmin GPS and it ended up draining the whole thing one night. I didn’t want to bring the solar panels since they are a bit big although we had lots of sunshine this year for them to work. ’13 trek was mainly overcast all the time.
There is not really the time to go and see the Scouting Museum either when you check into camp or come off the trail. I didn;t want to just rush through the museum to say I went to the museum. Maybe when I take the troop out there in 6 years from now (I’ll take the troop out and back, but won’t go backpacking), I can take my time to tour the museum.
The youth leaders did a good job. Hopefully, the crew and bring home what they learned and apply it to the troop.
Thanks for reading
StephenJul 26, 2019 at 12:52 pm #3603529
James ABPL Member
Sorry to hear about the bad weather at Garcia Cow, Stephen! We ran into a crew that had to walk across that meadow through a blanket of hailstones! Our experience was very different.
We did trek 18 and spent a night at Apache Springs. The evening program was a meadow walk in the UU Bar on the way to Garcia Cow that you talked about. It was gorgeous and we enjoyed a great sunset.
Next morning, we packed up early and started the hike to Garcia Cow. We stopped in the meadow for breakfast and enjoyed the sunrise. We took our time crossing the meadow and enjoyed seeing the HUGE herd of elk in the distance. This meadow walk was one of my favorite parts of our trek.
When we got to Garcia Cow, we were all entertained by the cows running away from us. The staff program on wildlife conservation was great, one of the best. Then we set off for Wild Horse, a staff camp just over the boundary back in Philmont. After enjoying lunch with a stunning view of the snow-capped mountains, the real fun began!
We got pack covers and rain gear on just before a big storm moved in. As it was raining and thundering we got lost! I resorted to looking at AllTrails to point us in the right direction. We had to hike about 50 feet apart in a long string because of the lightning threat. Luckily, we were in a heavily treed area and not too exposed. We did have a close strike that made us all go into lightning position quickly! We had to keep moving because I think we were at around 10,000 feet and the temperature was maybe 50. We hiked for almost three hours in a driving rain, so everybody was soaked and cold. I was more worried about hypothermia than lightning, to be honest.
We finally found the barbed wire fence that let us know we were back to the Philmont boundary. There was no gate, but we could see where others had stepped over a low spot in the fence. When we crossed back into Philmont we walked through a literal swamp to get to Wild Horse, which made us even colder. When we got to the site, we used the dining fly to give Scouts a dry space to set up their tents, one by one. Those not helping had to do laps around the campsite to stay warm. We got all the Scouts and adults into the tents without getting our sleeping bags, extra clothes, or tents wet. After changing and crawling into sleeping bags, we all fell asleep for a couple hours. Waking up around 6:30pm, we made a hot dinner and went to bed early. The next day was our Mt. Phillips summit day. We got up at 4:00am and summitted before 11:00.Jul 28, 2019 at 11:00 pm #3603870
James – I am sure Garcia Cow looks great with better weather…but for us, it was the one of the low points of our trek. Someone told me they were building the campsite a couple of weeks before Philmont opened. I am forever grateful to the staff member that hiked 10 minutes to our site with a kettle of hot water. Well and above the call of duty. And also to my scout that loves to starts fires. His fire lifted our spirits. Our crew thoughts the rest of the journey were if we could survive Garcia Cow, we can survive anything.Aug 5, 2019 at 5:02 pm #3604888
@mrevets, how did your Mountainsmith Mountain Shade Tarp work out for your Crew? It’s on our shortlist as a possible option for our trek next summer. Did you make any other gear substitutions? Thanks for a great trip report.Aug 8, 2019 at 12:52 am #3605156
It worked out well. We set it up over a bench at sat undernSprings while we tried to wait out the rain. All the scouts sat underneath it and played games while it rained. We then used it when we got to Garci Cow camp and cooked underneath it while it was raining. 12 x 12 was a good size. For the price, it was perfect. I used MSR poles for it. Our other crew took Philmont poles. My thought in taking poles was if we used someone’s trekking poles for the dining fly and then they broke, the individual was now without their trekking poles. This way, if the MSR poles broke, no one loses their trekking poles. Only the dining fly is without poles. With the new idea on NOT keeping your packs underneath the dining fly ( that was where we put them in 2013), the only thing underneath the dining fly at night was the toilet paper and some of the scouts boots. We used MSR Reactor stoves. I took my TarpTent. Everyone else used Philmont tents. We used tyvek for ground clothes. Everyone had the same Rubbermaid medium size bowl – carried in the big pot that philmont gave us. we took MSR groundhog stakes. Any other questions, just ask. More than glad to share how/what we did on our trek.Aug 8, 2019 at 2:04 pm #3605226
David YBPL Member
@moonshineLocale: Mid Tenn
Equinox Globe Skimmer 10’ x 12’ ultralight 1.1 oz silnylon tarp, 22.4 oz. We’ve carried these since 2001 when Philmont still had their 4 lb. tarps. Never had one fail. We usually strike and put it away before bedtime so it won’t be dew soaked and the Scout responsible for it won’t have to deal with it during morning pack-up.
GSI Outdoor Cascadian Bowls, 6.4” dia. 0.8 oz. and their Tablespoons, 0.8 oz. Our troop provides and regards them as crew gear, not individual property, and one Scout carries them stacked in a plastic bag.
“Philmont should be enjoyed, not endured.” Moonshine
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