North Country or South Country ?


What to do?  What to do?  What is the difference?  I don’t care what it is for regular treks.  Cavalcades aren’t regular treks.  Do we do the South Country or the North Country?


My first Cavalcade was in the South Country.  You ride a lot further on South Country itineraries.  We rode on average 8 – 10 miles a day, with one of the days being a long 18 mile day.  This means your day starts early.  It isn’t unusual to get up by 4:00 am (or earlier) to break down camp, fetch the packhorses, pack the packhorses, walk down to the corrals and prepare your personal horse. 


I had a full contingent of 15 participants with four packhorses.  Once the kids understood how to pack the horses, we could usually pack them and prepare our own mounts in two to three hours.  Don’t be surprised if it takes the kids four to five hours the first day or two (depending upon the make up and size of your group). 


Because you spend more time in the saddle, there is less time for program.  Of course, you went to Philmont to ride horses in the first place right?  I enjoyed the South country and less program didn’t bother me.  A long day in the saddle is a good day.  Also, keep in mind that your Horseman and Wrangler have long days too.  They are with you all day and their wake-up calls are just as early if not earlier.


My next Cavalcade was in the North Country.  Our Horseman jokingly referred to it as the “nap Cav.”  Hey, I like the sound of that.  Well, let me tell you, I didn’t get one nap in the North Country…dang….  For the staff, I think the North Cavalcades are a bit easier.  The miles are, on average, less than 5 miles.  Our wake-up calls were usually between 5:00 – 6:00am.  Since we had fewer miles to ride, we generally got into our next camp before lunch.  We took care of the horses, set up our camp and then we had program in the afternoon.  For the wrangler and horseman, it is naptime.  Hey, they are in the backcountry all summer so I am all for nap time.  For you, as a participant, it is time to get busy.  That means a long walk to check-in and program all afternoon.


The North Country also has the hike up to Mount Baldy.