1. Is it
necessary for each crew to file a National Tour Permit for the Colorado
tour and Philmont trek?
Patriots’ Path Council will file a National Tour Permit for each of the Philmont expeditions which will cover all “in Council” contingent crews. Crews from from Patriots' Path not traveling as part of the council contingent or crews from outside of Patriots’ Path but traveling with a Patriots' Path contingent must file a separate National Tour Permit application with their own Council.
2. Is it necessary for a crew that is part of a Patriots' Path contingent to mail back the "Arrival Plans/Crew Information" post card found in the TREKS book?
Crews traveling with the Patriots’ Path contingents should mail back their arrival card at the same time when mailing back their trek selection card. Review the sample post cards
for information to be filled in. Consult the Calendar
page for arrival dates. Use an arrival time of approximately 9:15am by bus. Print clearly and add the data specific to your crew, filling in every single blank.3.
3. Is there any
critical information that should be provided to a youth crew member
before leaving for Philmont?
Each youth participant needs to know how and where a parent or guardian can be reached while they are at Philmont in the event of an emergency. Provide your son/daughter with contact telephone numbers at work or other places if you will be away from home.
4. Can a crew
contacted while at Philmont?
Making contact with a crew member while at Philmont is extremely difficult, especially if the person is in the backcountry where communications are very limited. Assuming it is an emergency, call the 24-hour emergency number, 575-376-2281, where a Staff member will be available to take a message and begin the effort to get it to the person it is for. Every family should know the complete expedition number for the crew (for example, 630E5) when making an emergency call, as locating a crew member is very time consuming without this reference. Be prepared for considerable delays, especially for persons who must be taken off the trail to respond. Non-emergency contact with a crew member through Philmont, whether in the backcountry or Base Camp, is not possible.
5. Is it possible to
call home while at Philmont?
There are plenty of opportunities to call home both while touring Colorado and while in Base Camp the first and last days at Philmont. However, there are no phones available while in the backcountry. An inexpensive pre-paid calling card is recommended for convenience in using pay phones.
6. Will a crew
get a letter mailed to Philmont?
Yes, mail sent to Philmont, addressed as follows, will be distributed to the crews while in Base Camp:
complete Expedition (Crew) Number (for example: 711H2)
Philmont Scout Ranch
47 Caballo Road
Cimarron, NM 87714.
Make sure it is mailed in plenty of time before the crew member departs Philmont for home.
7. Can letters and
postcards be mailed from the backcountry?
Yes, every staffed camp has a mail drop and will accept outgoing mail. However, expect delays in having the mail delivered. Stamps and postcards are not available in the backcountry, and must be carried from Base Camp.
8. How much spending money should a youth
crew member be given for the
Colorado tour and Philmont?
There is no set rule, though generally youth bring between $50 and $100 from home. Choosing a value should be a family decision. Naturally they will want to purchase souvenirs during the trip and occasional snacks. They will not need money for touring or meals while in Colorado and New Mexico since that is included in the fees that have been paid.
9. Since stoves are not
allowed on the plane, how does a crew get them to Philmont?
Stoves, fuel bottles and funnel should be sent via U.S. Mail or UPS to Philmont, addressed as follows:
complete Expedition (Crew) Number (for example 630B4)
Philmont Scout Ranch (Phone: 575-376-2281)
47 Caballo Road
Cimarron, NM 87714
Ship no later than two weeks before the crew’s scheduled arrival, and the shipping method should include the service to track progress to assure the package has arrived at Philmont. The sides of box should be color-coded with tape or magic marker for easy identification in the Philmont Post Office. Extra packing tape, duct tape, nametags, and postal labels should be put in the box for use to ship the stoves home. While on the trek, the shipping box is stored in the locker provided by Philmont, and after return to Base Camp at the end of the trek the box is re-addressed for shipping home. This very important process will be covered in detail at the June Advisor Briefing.
10. What is
the procedure for returning stoves and fuel bottles from Philmont?
Place your stoves and fuel bottles in their shipping box but do not seal it. Then take the box to the Philmont Post Office. They will hold your stoves to be sure they ate properly aired out and then will ship them to the address you provide. To get the full details, download
the brochure provided by Philmont.
11. How does
Philmont deal with forest fire emergencies?
Philmont takes the possibility of forest fires very seriously. During the Advisor briefing your first evening at Base Camp, the current year fire guard plan will be distributed. Your ranger will review the plan with your crew. Download
a sample plan for your review.
12. How should crew
advisors manage the Philmont Medical Forms for crew members at Philmont?
The Lead Advisor is the keeper of the original, intact, completed and unaltered multi-page record, with a photocopy of both sides of the crew member’s medical insurance card, and hand carries the entire crew’s medical records to Philmont. Warning! Do not separate or in any way alter the original multi-page Philmont Medical Record. Philmont will only accept the original unaltered multi-page record.
In addition, each member of the crew should have in their carry-on bag a copy of their medical record and both sides of their insurance card in case of an emergency during travel to and from Philmont. A second copy of each crew member’s medical record should be left at home with the family or someone else who will be available by telephone the day of arrival at Philmont AND who has access to a fax machine. A third copy of the form, including both sides of the medical insurance card, is needed to make a complete set of back-up copies that will be carried to Philmont by a second advisor.
13. How many days and
nights is a crew actually on the trail versus while they are touring?
The Patriots’ Path contingents spend two days and two nights traveling to and touring southern Colorado. On the third day the contingents will travel to Philmont, which is considered Philmont Day 1. They will spend the night in Base Camp and then 11 days and 10 nights in the backcountry. On Philmont Day 12 they will return to Base Camp and spend the night. All crews will travel back to New Jersey the following day. The entire trip is a total of fifteen days – three traveling/touring and twelve at Philmont.
14. What should the
advisors do if during the Ranger-led gear shakedown the Ranger suggests
deviations from the Equipment Lists in Guidebook to Adventure
The Equipment Lists in the Guidebook to Adventure
are based on 65 years of Philmont camping, hiking, and backpacking. Although the need for any particular item may not be obvious, you can be certain that the list contains the items, no more and no less, required to guarantee a successful backcountry experience. During the gear shakedown conducted by the crew's ranger in Base Camp, the ranger may advise deviations from the Guidebook’s equipment lists. Time and conditions may change the need for any particular item. However, be cautious of over-zealous ranger recommendations to reduce weight that might create health and safety issues, such as leaving critical items like rain pants or water bottles in Base Camp. Ultimately, choices that impact the health and safety of crew members are the responsibility of the adult advisors.
15. How is a crew
supplied with food while in the Philmont backcountry?
During the check-in process on Day 1 at Philmont a crew is issued food for the first several days on the trail. Once in the backcountry, each itinerary has scheduled food pickups at commissaries. In the TREKS Itinerary Guide
the commissaries are noted with abbreviations in the next-to-last "Food Pickup" column.
16. How can one tell which Philmont meals will be picked up at each commissary stop during a trek?
The Philmont Trail Menu
has different meals for ten (10) days, which correspond to the ten days in the backcountry during a Philmont trek. In June and July the meals are issued based on the last digit of the date – Meals #9 for the 9th, 19th, and 29th, Meals #10 on the 10th, 20th, and 30th, etc. (in August, the meal numbers are one greater than the date to avoid having Meals #1 twice in a row on July 31 and August 1). A pickup is for that day's supper and the following day's breakfast and lunch, since a crew may not arrive at a commissary until after lunch. So, for instance, at a pickup on July 22 a crew would get Supper #2 for that evening, and Breakfast #3 and Lunch #3 for the following day. While the meals can be eaten in any order and at any time (supper for lunch), be aware that the caloric in-take (2,800 t0 3,400 calories/day), is best if the three meals are eaten on the same day.
17. What is the
approximate average weight of a bag of Philmont food?
Each meal package (serving two persons) weighs about a pound (breakfasts and dinners) to a pound and a half (lunches). Actual Philmont trail meals will be used during the Watchu Mountain Adventure in May so that crews can experience the weight and bulk of the packages.
18. What is the
approximate weight of crew equipment issued by Philmont?
Approximate weights for crew equipment issued by Philmont are included on the list in the Guidebook to Adventure.
For instance, a two-man Philmont tent weights about 5–1/2 pounds.
19. Should a cell phone
be taken to Philmont?
Philmont has distributed a flyer
on the use of cell phones in the backcountry – posted on this Web site at 'Trek Preperation
'. It states “cell Phones are permitted in the backcountry, however, they are NOT encouraged. Many areas of Philmont have no cell coverage." It also notes there is no opportunity to recharge a cell phone after leaving Base Camp, and directs that if a cell phone is used to report an emergency to telephone Philmont Scout Ranch directly at 575-376-2281. Do NOT dial 911. Even in Base Camp, cell phone service can be spotty. 2008 marked a significant improvement for Verizon users compared to previous years.
20. Where can coordinate information for Philmont be found for downloading into a GPS?
You can download
a Garmin GPS MPS file with all of the Philmont camps ready to load into your unit. Do not open but right click the link and then choose the Save Target As option and put in in a convenient place on your PC.
21. Are there
opportunities in the backcountry to recharge batteries for electronic
devices, such as digital cameras or GPS units?
No, there are no opportunities for recharging batteries in the backcountry. Many staff camps rely on solar power to generate limited amounts of energy for their radios, and even the staff does not have access to electrical outlets.
22. Will there be more
than one crew with the same itinerary, starting the same day?
Up to two crews can be assigned the same itinerary starting the same day, and are referred to as "sister crews." Unless it is another crew from within the Patriots’ Path contingent, a crew is unlikely to know whether they have a sister crew until after arrival at Philmont. The first indication will be if the Logistics department places the letter “A” or “B” after the trek number on the Crew Leader copy. And even then, it likely will be the second or third day on the trail before the sister crews figure out who they are.
23. What is the weather
and terrain like at the Philmont Scout Ranch?
Participants can expect warm days in the mid 80s and cool nights that are usually in the mid to low 40s. At high elevation, it is not uncommon to see temperatures drop to near freezing at night. Rain and thunderstorms are common in the afternoon. The terrain tends to be arid in many locations at lower elevations. Altitudes vary between approximately 6,500 feet at Base Camp to over 12,000 feet above sea level at Baldy Mountain.
24. How long will a
ranger be with each crew?
Philmont rangers join the crew the day they arrive at Philmont and spends two days and nights on the trail with the crew to provide training. The morning of the third day on the trail (Philmont Day 4) the ranger will depart and return to Base Camp.
are travel items for the Colorado tour and other things not taken on the
trail stored while a crew is in the backcountry?
Philmont will provide each crew a locker for storage, and possibly a second one based on availability. Philmont lists the dimensions as 2’x2’x3’, which is adequate if packed carefully (and no un-needed items have been brought from home.)
26. How is the issue of an odd number of
youth or adults handled for tenting at Philmont?
Philmont issues two man tents. Each crew must determine how their specific combination of adults, youth, and genders can be accommodated within the Boy Scouts' youth protection guidelines. If a particular crew cannot be accommodated with two man tents, alternatives include supplying your own four-man tent to house three persons, or if necessary a single one-man tent (not a bivy) may be used.
27. Does a crew need to
take to Philmont the one sheet (overall or souvenir) Philmont Map that
comes in the March package?
Although the overall (souvenir) Philmont Map should never be used for navigation, it must be brought it to Philmont, where it will be used during the review of the crew’s itinerary with Philmont’s Logistics Department.
28. If a crew is passing a staff camp that has a program they are interested
in, can they participate in the program without any advanced check-in?
Advanced sign-up or check-in for programs is generally not required, except for horseback riding and burro packing (both of which must be scheduled in Base Camp Day 1 during the Logistics review of the crew's itinerary). Upon arrival at a staff camp, the Crew Chief should check in at the staff cabin and ask if the crew can participate in the program. If the crew is ship shape and polite, and unless the staff is backed up with crews scheduled for the program via their itinerary, a crew will probably be able to participate in the program. Most backcountry staff bend will over backwards to get a crew through their program. The key here is for the crew to be polite and respectful in their request.
29. What day does the
actual hike begin?
Crews depart Philmont Base Camp the day after arrival at Philmont (Philmont Day 2) by bus to a backcountry turnaround (trailhead). That first day on the trail for all treks is a relatively short hike to a trail camp, to allow time for training by the crew’s ranger.
30. How much water
should each crew member carry?
The Guidebook to Adventure
recommends 3 or 4 "one-quart" water bottles for personal use. Other combinations of a hydration bladder plus water bottles to meet the recommended capacity; for example, carry a two-quart bladder and 2 one-quart bottles, are acceptable. In addition, the crew should have as crew gear several larger containers (with a total capacity of at least five to eight gallons) for crew water. These are used in camp or to carry water into dry camps. 3-quart or 4-quart collapsible containers are a great choice to distribute the load among crew members when packing water to dry camps.
31. Is water available
at all camps?
The majority of camps have water available within reasonable walking distance, but some do not. The Crew Chief should make careful notes while in the Logistics orientation session of where "dry" camps might be encountered on the trek. A crew must be prepared to carry extra water to their next camp in some cases. A water management technique to limit carrying water long distances is to eat dinner at lunchtime (at a place where water is available for cooking and cleanup) and then lunch at dinnertime where water is unavailable.
32. Will a crew always
get a horse ride if it is listed on their itinerary?
Unfortunately, Philmont cannot guarantee any crew a horse ride. These must be booked during the Logistics orientation and it simply comes down to first come, first served until the available horses are all taken. If crew members really want a horse ride, here are some tips that may be useful when planning ahead:
Select a trek with horse rides late in the schedule. Horse rides early in your trek simply may not be available because crews with earlier check in dates got them.
When horse rides are scheduled at a "lay over" camp, such as Beaubien, you have two days you might schedule a horse ride, during the afternoon on the arrival day and during the morning or afternoon of the second day.
Work with your ranger to get through Logistics first thing upon arrival, if possible. Horses are usually available to crews doing a morning check-in.
If horses are not available in the normal afternoon schedule, ask your Logistics person if it is possible to have a morning ride the next day. Be aware that this might create scheduling issues for program at your next camp so consider this carefully.
In the camp with horse rides, the crew can approach the staff cabin when they arrive and ask to be placed on standby for a ride. Some crews don't make to the horse ride location in time to participate because of late starts or other reasons.
Be aware that rides will be cancelled if the weather is bad, which is more likely in the afternoon than in the morning. Also be aware that there are weight limits for persons riding horses at Philmont. The present limit is 200 pounds. Review you current year Treks Itinerary Guide
for more details.
33. Do the Philmont meal
packages include coffee or tea?
No, coffee and tea are not included in the meal packages. However, after the advisor's meeting the afternoon of Philmont Day 1, individual packets of instant coffee, whitener, sugar, and tea bags are available. Advisors can take what they want, but it is for the entire trek as there is no re-supply at the commissaries. In addition, nearly all staffed camps have an "Advisors Coffee" on the cabin porch each night after dinner, where tea and brewed coffee, and perhaps cake or something similar, are available. If you are particular about a brand or type of coffee or tea, plan on bringing a supply from home.