Philmont Countdown #1

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Here's something cool you can look forward to at Philmont:
              • GOLD!  Crews 1 and 3:  Gold is still found in almost all streams on Philmont, which was once the scene of lucrative gold-mining operations. Mine shafts, sluice boxes, and placer mines dot the mountainsides and valleys. At Cyphers Mine you will tour a real gold mine. Learn about adventures that were experienced during the fascinating and colorful past as determined miners sought their fortunes in these historic mountains. When you find some "color," ask one of the staff miners for some cellophane tape so you can take your discovery home to show others your success. Gold pans are available for you to use in the creek and you get to keep any gold flakes you find there, too!

    • TRAPS, GUNS and HATCHETS!  Crews 2 and 3: Veteran trappers of the Rocky Mountain
      Fur Company (portrayed by Philmont staff members) have established an outpost camp at Clear Creek. Trapping was their way of life; however, it is not practiced at Philmont today. See traps like those they used to catch beaver, muskrat, raccoon, and bear. Hear about how they cured the hides and see trade goods which they used to purchase food and supplies.  
      You will also use powder, patch, ball, ramrod, and cap to actually load and shoot a .50 caliber muzzle-loading rifle, plus do your best at hatchet throwing!

S&S  (socks and smellables)
Your feet are your most important asset.  Your socks should be thin 
polypropylene liner socks, with a wool or synthetic/wool outer sock (thick is generally good; more cushioning).  Both pairs of your socks should be long enough to extend beyond the top of your boots (in fact, you'll be more comfortable if the liners extend beyond the wool sock).  Some people suggest wearing just one pair of synthetic blend socks with no liner.  Your Scoutmaster doesn't recommend this.

Look at the smellables list on page 16 of your Philmont Guidebook.  Get a lightweight but durable bag (like a stuffsack) for your smellables.  This keeps them all together, separate from your other stuff.  Mark your smellable bag with marker or tape so it's clearly identifiable as yours.  

Staying Together
Your trek is a team effort.  Stronger hikers are expected to help weaker ones.  Faster hikers should hike at or near the end of the line and encourage the slower ones in front.  You should ALWAYS hike within hearing distance of each other.  Be sure to stop and wait at any and all trail junctions or roads.  This is where the majority of mistakes are made and separations occur (with the group ahead going one direction, and the group behind going somewhere else)

  • feet -
    Recognize how important your feet are and take care of them.  Cut your toenails short.  Bring enough socks (and the right kind) so you can rotate between wearing a clean pair and washing another.  Keep your feet (and socks and boots) clean.  Investigate and treat any hot spots immediately, before they become blisters.  Get to know your feet really well and spend time with them often!

  • dehydration - Bring sturdy water bottles sufficient to carry at least 3 liters (or quarts) per person.  You will need to drink six to eight liters of water per day at Philmont.

  • sunburn - Bring a wide brimmed hat (like Brandon's Australian hat) or one with a big brim and flaps (like a Safari hat).  Bring and use sunscreen, at least SPF 30.  Pick sunscreen that has no scent or minimal scent and put it on early in the day (to reduce sunburn as well as to have any smell wear off by evening).

Wreckage of the B-24 bomber on Trail Peak
(Crew 2 and possibly Crew 3)