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Philmont question - Arrival target time each day?


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#1 jmartine

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 09:23 AM

My troop is going to Philmont this summer. One question that has come up on our shakedown hikes is:

 

What target time should we be shooting for to complete our hike each day?

 

I know that if your entire crew does not reach the program area in time, you may not be able to participate in program. But, since we have never been to Philmont before, we're not sure what time we should be shooting for.

 

On our shakedown hikes, we'd like to be able to say, "Ok, we didn't reach camp until 4:00pm today. If this had been Philmont, we would have missed program. Tomorrow we need to leave camp earlier (or hike faster)." But, we don't know what time we should be shooting for.  Can anyone tell us?

 

Thanks,

   Joe


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#2 Col. Flagg

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 09:40 AM

My troop is going to Philmont this summer. One question that has come up on our shakedown hikes is:

 

What target time should we be shooting for to complete our hike each day?

 

I know that if your entire crew does not reach the program area in time, you may not be able to participate in program. But, since we have never been to Philmont before, we're not sure what time we should be shooting for.

 

On our shakedown hikes, we'd like to be able to say, "Ok, we didn't reach camp until 4:00pm today. If this had been Philmont, we would have missed program. Tomorrow we need to leave camp earlier (or hike faster)." But, we don't know what time we should be shooting for.  Can anyone tell us?

 

Thanks,

   Joe

 

Wow, that REALLY depends on your trek distance and events. You need to be realistic about your crew's ability to cover ground, navigate well and be in shape. I suspect you guys are trying to do 10 miles/day, right? You may have bitten off more than you can chew.

 

What's your total trek distance? What are your daily distances? What's your elevation profile? 


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#3 qwazse

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 10:02 AM

Welcome to the forums!

 

I don't think you want to focus on target time (unless someone in your crew has a disability) for program.

The SM who has conditioned our boys for hikes, focused on being up and packed before sunrise.

His crews would muster at 4:30am, break camp, move out, have breakfast a mile or two along the trail.

That sounds extreme, but summer in the Rockies, if you're gunning for a peak, you want to be there before noon and heading down before afternoon storms roll in.

 

Obviously, if summits aren't in your hike plan, you can adjust. But that;s the point isn't it? You want to be ready for program at any time every day. Get up, move, figure your speed, then over breakfast figure when you'll reach stations, stop for naps, etc ...

 

Besides, it's a wonder when a troop full of younger boys arrives at their site, puttering all day to get set up, then the Philmont crew come in from their 10 mile shakedown hike, set up camp, have time for dinner, skits, cards, and the occasional scoutmaster conferences -- the usual older scout jamboree -- then the next morning the young scouts crawl out of bed to see the crew's campsite vacated. It's like they were visited by elves!


Edited by qwazse, 13 April 2017 - 10:03 AM.

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#4 Ankylus

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 12:33 PM

There are many ways to skin a cat, but I agree that you are looking at it a bit backwards.

 

At Philmont, there is no substitute for breaking camp early. 4:30 am seems a bit early to me, and you don't necessarily have to breakfast on the trail. But these things depend on your crew.

 

When you breakfast in the campsite there is a strong tendency to congregate around the cooking area instead of breaking down and packing up. But if your crew is sufficiently disciplined, you can still breakfast in camp and get an early start. If your crew is not disciplined--and it takes only one--then you might want to breakfast on the trail.

 

As for start time, I would start the same time every morning so everyone gets conditioned to that. And again it depends on your crew. I agree that you need to be on the trail by sunrise, or shortly after, regardless of your plan for the day. If your crew can get up at 5:30 and do that, then get up at 5:30. If they can't, then get up earlier. The goal here is to be on the trail at sunrise, or as close thereafter as you can. Because, again, if you don't, there will be a tendency to laze around the campsite and take too long to get on the trail.

 

You can't really get on the trail until it gets light enough to see. If you are on the trail at sunrise and you are not getting to camp in time for program, then you will have done what you can.

 

To me these things just depend on your crew. Do what you have to do to get on the trail by sunrise.


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#5 Eagledad

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 12:48 PM

Interesting question. Everyone's answers are good. On my crews, the Scouts decided when to start the night before. In general they looked at the program and distance to the program and calculated departure from there. In most cases, but not all, we were on the trail just as the sun started giving us light. In a couple of cases, we were hiking a dark trail for a few minutes. Not my choice, but the scouts seem to get it pretty right in most cases.

 

I should add that most of the scouts in the crews I was on had several backpacking trek experiences.  

 

Barry


Edited by Eagledad, 13 April 2017 - 12:50 PM.

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#6 Col. Flagg

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 01:16 PM

I don't think any of our answers will be as helpful as they could be until we hear back from him. The "right answer" will be affected by distance, elevation, weather, program schedule, crew size, age/ability, pack weight, health of crew (e.g., blisters, etc.).

 

The trek guide has the elevation profile, distance and event info. Knowing these factors can help gauge your rate between way points. One can assume a baseline (say 2 miles an hour) and then adjust based on other factors.

 

Until he responds, really anything we offer up will be useless. ;)


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#7 Tatung42

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 06:23 PM

What target time should we be shooting for to complete our hike each day?

 

A lot depends on which staff camps you are going to for program.  Like if you are say going to Indian Writings, they have the petroglyphs tour, archeology, atlatl throwing, usually a conservation project (building trail over to Chase Ranch), and an evening hike up to the top of the mesa.  You are looking at about 6 hours of program, and if you don't get into the camp by about 10:30 AM, you likely won't have time to do everything.  Whereas other staff camps may only have one program activity, which you could participate in even if you don't make it to camp until 4pm.  Also some programs, like horseback riding at Clark's Fork, require reservations at logistics before you leave on your trek.  So if you have a reservation for riding at 1PM, you better make sure that you are at camp by 1PM.


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#8 jmartine

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 07:15 PM

Thanks for all the responses!

 

We are doing a 7-day trek. We have not received our confirmed itinerary selection yet, but we requested treks between 31 and 41 miles over 6 hiking days, which would average 5-7 miles per day, with varying elevation gains.

 

We have a shakedown hike this weekend, so I will suggest to the scouts that we plan to be on the trail by sunrise and see how that works. 

 

-Joe


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#9 Back Pack

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 07:35 PM

Thanks for all the responses!
 
We are doing a 7-day trek. We have not received our confirmed itinerary selection yet, but we requested treks between 31 and 41 miles over 6 hiking days, which would average 5-7 miles per day, with varying elevation gains.
 
We have a shakedown hike this weekend, so I will suggest to the scouts that we plan to be on the trail by sunrise and see how that works. 
 
-Joe


Up at 7, packed by 7:30, eat and trek. Should make your events.

When your crew lead is at the trek planning they will show him where water, resupply and events are. Some are mid trek. Some are in the am. Some in the evening. The itinerary has all the data. You can find out more when you get there.

Which trek are you doing.
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#10 Col. Flagg

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 09:45 AM

Thanks for all the responses!

 

We are doing a 7-day trek. We have not received our confirmed itinerary selection yet, but we requested treks between 31 and 41 miles over 6 hiking days, which would average 5-7 miles per day, with varying elevation gains.

 

We have a shakedown hike this weekend, so I will suggest to the scouts that we plan to be on the trail by sunrise and see how that works. 

 

-Joe

 

Hi Joe, can you say what trek number you are taking? Sounds pretty close to what we took last year. We did Trek 7-4 in the 2016 guide. We started in Rayado then hiked to Backache Spring for the first night. Then we hiked to Crater Lake for night #2. Schaefer Pass was night #3. Day hike to the Tooth and back, then to Clarke's Fork for night #4. Night #5 was Devil's Washbasin, then hiked to Ute Turnaround the next morning. Altogether that was over 50 miles, including side hikes and such. We had strong hikers with good outdoor skills. We refined the Philmont cooking method a bit to make clean up easier. During planning we made sure we got the start/stop times of all activities, confirmed distances, routes and times. This helped the boys in planning wake/sleep times.

 

If you can post your trek number, we can help you help your crew address your concerns.


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#11 jmartine

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 12:54 PM

We don't know our trek # yet. We put in our preferences, but we haven't received our assigned trek yet.

 

Here are the ones that we put in as preferences, in order of preference:

 

1. 7-5
2. 7-4
3. 7-6
4. 7-7
5. 7-8
6. 7-10

 

-Joe


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#12 Eagledad

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 01:29 PM

One of our scouts was a Philmont Trail Guide and I asked him what was the most frustrating part of being a Trail guide. He said crews who took more than 30 minutes to break camp. He guided a few crews that took more than 2 hours to break a camp and it makes the whole day stressful trying to get them to their next campsite in a reasonable time. Add to that breaking camp in the dark.

 

The faster the crew can break camp, the later they can sleep.

 

Barry


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#13 Col. Flagg

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 01:54 PM

We don't know our trek # yet. We put in our preferences, but we haven't received our assigned trek yet.

 

Here are the ones that we put in as preferences, in order of preference:

 

1. 7-5
2. 7-4
3. 7-6
4. 7-7
5. 7-8
6. 7-10

 

-Joe

 

Joe these are almost the same selections we made. I don't have time right now to take a look and give you ALL the detail we looked at, but here are my off hand recollections:

  • 7-5: Fairly easy trekking. The last day was a bit hard. Going with full packs over the Tooth will be rough. When we went last summer the spring at Schaefer's Pass was dry, so you had to pack your water. Trust me when I say that you will need AT LEAST 4 liters of water per person for that last day. If it's hot you will need more. Take your time.
     
  • 7-4: That should be fairly easy too. Cathedral Rock you will want to stop and never leave. Events this day might be an issue. Getting from Cathedral Rock to Clarke's Fork is not that much a problem. However, you'll need to watch the time of you horseback riding and dinner. If riding is the FOLLOWING morning, you are okay. If it is the day you leave Cathedral, you will need to get up early. Also, it appears they have you dinning at Clark's Fork but camping at Ponderosa. That's still a mile or so in the dark after dinner. Not optimal. Make sure you check the timing of these events. The hike to Crater Lake is a bit more up hill than it looks. You flatten out when you hit Crater Lake...a bit. This will likely be the longest day. Crater Lake to Urraca is nice but make sure you read the map. The last day is literally all down hill.
     
  • 7-6: Great trek option. Miner's Park is nice. The hike up Black Mountain is a loooong way up. That will be a long day. I would start early and get on the trail by 7am. Check your map for optional routes. Sometimes the route they suggest is a bit more difficult than other options. For example, our destination was Ute Gulch but instead of taking the Hidden Valley Trail we went over Cimmaroncito. More scenic and easier. ;)
     
  • 7-7: Cannot comment on logistics or difficulty other than the obvious. I have heard great things about the railroading from other crews. Your guys should enjoy that.
     
  • 7-8: Probably the easiest of the treks terrain-wise. You do have the one climb but it is slow and easy. Wake up early for that. Not 5am but on trail by 6:30am would be advised.
     
  • 7-10: Same issue going over the Tooth. Water up fully at Poderosa and ration until you know if Schaefer's has water. The spring is about .5 mile past the trail head to the tooth. Drop packs and send a team to water up EVERYONE. Trust me, you will need the water. 

I found this video a troop did that covers some of the area your trek selections cover. It covers the exact trek we did last year. Using Google Earth with your crew and showing them the terrain and map ahead of time is very helpful.

 

Lastly, practice setting up bear bags Philmont style. That and cooking/clean up takes the most time. If you can really master getting the bags up it will save you time. Cooking: Philmont wants you boiling water and adding the food to the pot, eating, then cleaning, etc. You can cut your cleaning in half by adding water to the packets INSTEAD of the cooking pots. When the food is ready dish out half to your partner's bowl and have the other eat out of the bag. 

 

Sorry for the diatribe.


Edited by Col. Flagg, 14 April 2017 - 01:55 PM.

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#14 NJCubScouter

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 02:44 PM

My vague recollection from my one and only Philmont trek of 43 years ago is that we probably got up at sunrise, broke camp, ate quickly and got going.  That was a long time ago though.


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#15 Col. Flagg

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 03:02 PM

My vague recollection from my one and only Philmont trek of 43 years ago is that we probably got up at sunrise, broke camp, ate quickly and got going.  That was a long time ago though.

 

It has changed a great deal since then. More rules, more process, more time-wasting.


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#16 qwazse

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 03:14 PM

It has changed a great deal since then. More rules, more process, more time-wasting.

Hate to say it, but that's why PSR never made it up to the top of my list.

On the other hand, now that the National Scouting Museum relocated there ....


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#17 Col. Flagg

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 03:26 PM

Hate to say it, but that's why PSR never made it up to the top of my list.

On the other hand, now that the National Scouting Museum relocated there ....

 

They have to be more organized now. You have 20,000+ people each year there. Each crew is maxed at 12. With all the trash and stuff, you have to make sure everyone is well-trained. If everyone were as well-trained and considerate as they SHOULD BE, they wouldn't have to spend so much time on training crews.

 

As it was they put down three bears (I even heard a fourth was killed) last year, all due to bad crews. One, near Cimmaroncito, had to be put down because a crew (late for their program) simply left their packs and food in their camp site (not secure or in bear bags). That bear paid with its life. The crew was banned for a long time from Philmont.


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#18 TAHAWK

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 05:59 PM

Much good advice.

 

In a feeble effort to contribute

 

"Lunch" for breakfast

"Breakfast" for lunch.

On the trail when light enough to walk safely.

Lots of practice before expedition with loads eventually heavier than you expect at Philmont.

Really suitable footwear for rocky trails

Dressed like cowboys except for the backpacking boots.


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#19 desertrat77

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 06:54 PM

I can identify with NJCubScouter's comments...my sole trek was 40 years ago this summer.

 

Visited base camp last summer.   It used to be a sleepy hollow.  Not any more!  People, buildings and wall tents everywhere. 

 

As best as I can recall of that long-ago trek, everything was pretty flexible.  Arrived late in the day, largely due to my SM's jeep overheating every 100 miles or so.

 

Casually moved through a day of processing at base camp.

 

Throughout the trek, we were usually on the trail by 0800.  Or so.   No pressure from any one.  Rarely saw anyone else on the trail.


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#20 RememberSchiff

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 05:52 AM

I can identify with NJCubScouter's comments...my sole trek was 40 years ago this summer.

 

Visited base camp last summer.   It used to be a sleepy hollow.  Not any more!  People, buildings and wall tents everywhere. 

 

As best as I can recall of that long-ago trek, everything was pretty flexible.  Arrived late in the day, largely due to my SM's jeep overheating every 100 miles or so.

 

Casually moved through a day of processing at base camp.

 

Throughout the trek, we were usually on the trail by 0800.  Or so.   No pressure from any one.  Rarely saw anyone else on the trail.

 

Our assigned ranger, we first called him Super Scout but by the next day his nickname was shortened to SS and meant something different. Anyway, he insisted we be on the trail by 0700 fed or not, gear wet or dry. Let's Go!  Go.Go. After he left us, we slacked some, but our gear was dry and we were not eating cereal on the trail - a happy balance.


Edited by RememberSchiff, 15 April 2017 - 05:57 AM.

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