Itinerary – The First 2.5 days

 

Picking an itinerary…. Well heck, they all sound fun. 

 

South Country

We picked 5A-S.  It is packed with program and has the 18 mile day.  To my surprise, I learned that most Southern Cavalcades picked itinerary 5.  In fact, our Horseman worked an entire summer in the South Country and never did any other itinerary but 5.  I tried to get her input on what she thought about the other itineraries, but obviously, she didn’t have any information. My personal experience with Itinerary 5 was that because of the long days in the saddle, it was difficult to do some of the program that it listed. 

 

I am going to mention the day to day, because it is comforting to the kids to know what to expect on a daily basis.  The first 2.5days are essentially the same for all the Southern and Northern Itineraries, except for location.

 

Day 1- Check in. 

Make sure everyone has their uniforms, preferably hanging on a hanger.  When you get to Philmont’s Welcoming Center, everyone should be wearing his/her uniform.

 

Before you walk into the Welcoming Center with your Crew Leader, have all your paperwork with you.  If you are traveling by car, know what the car’s license plate numbers are for all of your vehicles.

 

Philmont is a well run machine and they give you a check list of the things you and your Crew Leader need to do. The first day of Philmont is all about paperwork.  It can be boring, especially for the kids.  Just let them know this ahead of time.  Opening campfire is the same for all Philmont backpacking treks and cavalcades.

 

Day 2 – Wrangler Training. 

Meet at Headquarters and walk down to the stalls across the street.  Everyone is assigned a horse, saddles, bridles, saddlebags etc.  You will sit through a saddling demonstration.  Then, everyone tacks up their own horse.  The group then heads out for a half day ride and stop for lunch.  This is the Horseman’s way of making sure that all the bugs are worked out before you head into the backcountry.  Can you get on your horse?  Is your horse going to work for you?  Is the equipment working? etc, etc.  Your group will then spend a second night at Philmont base camp.

 

Day 3 – Headquarters to the start of your personal itinerary

Bright and early, meet at the stalls, trail gear packed and ready to leave for the backcountry.  Gear that you aren’t taking on the trek is stored in either a car or the Philmont lockers.  Everyone sits through a packhorse demonstration.  Then the kids learn how to prepare the packhorses.  By the time the packhorses are ready and the riding horses prepared, it will probably be close to lunch time. 

 

North Country

We chose Itinerary 2 because the layover was in Baldy Town.  There are two itineraries that have Baldy Town as the layover and two itineraries that have Miranda as the layover day.  All of them are great itineraries.  For our itinerary, the kids got up early, hiked up to Baldy and got back in time for an early afternoon shower.  Our Sister Crew chose Itinerary 3.  For their hike to the top of Mt. Baldy, they had to start from Miranda and hike 2.4 miles uphill to reach  Baldy Town.  Then they hiked to the top of Baldy and got back to Baldy Town in time for late afternoon showers.  They then headed downhill, back to Miranda. 

 

I was told that if you choose Itinerary 4, Philmont will try to encourage you to choose another Itinerary.  Indian Writings is the layover day.  There is no running water at Indian Writings, which makes it difficult for the horses.  This becomes a logistical problem for Philmont.  They include this Itinerary (or so I am told) because if you have a bunch of budding little archeologists who really want to do Indian Writings, Philmont will try to work with you.

 

Once again, keep in mind that the first 2 and a half days are the same for all Northern Itineraries.

 

Day 1 – Check in. 

Make sure everyone has their uniforms, preferably hanging on a hanger.  When you get to Philmont’s Welcoming Center, everyone should be wearing his/her uniform.

 

Before you walk into the Welcoming Center with your Crew Leader, have all your paperwork with you.  If you are traveling by car, know what the car’s license plate numbers are for all of your vehicles.

 

Philmont is a well-run machine and they give you a check list of the things you and the Crew Leader need to do.  The first day of Philmont is all about paperwork.  It can be boring, especially for the kids.  Just let them know this ahead of time.  Opening campfire is the same for all Philmont backpacking treks and cavalcades. 

 

For Northern Itinerarie, you only spend the first and last night at Philmont Headquarters.

 

Day 2 –Ponil and Wrangler Training. 

Trail gear is packed and ready to go.  Everything else is packed into the car or into Philmont lockers.  A bus picks you up around 8:00am with your trail gear.  It is a half hour ride to Ponil.  There are stables at Ponil.  This is where you get your saddles etc and assigned a horse.  You sit through a saddling demonstration.  Everyone saddles their own mounts and then you head out for a half day ride.  You eat lunch and return to Ponil.  This is how Philmont makes sure that riders, horses and equipment are working properly before everyone heads out to the backcountry.  You will spend one night at Ponil

 

Day 3 – Ponil to start of your personal Itinerary

In the morning, we pack up and meet down at the stalls.  We sit through a demonstration where they show us how to prepare the pack horses.  The kids then prepare their personal horses and we all head out before lunch.