“Itinerary planning is a great way to bond with your crew and to make the PSA Trek a longer experience. We communicate largely through email and start the planning process early, relying on those crew members with the most backcountry experience and eventually reaching consensus. Fortunately, Philmont gives us a lot of Phreedom to design custom itineraries. The process is Phun and creates a lot of excitement for the one week that we eventually get to spend at the Ranch.”

David Fromm, Philmont Staff 1977, PSA Trekker 2005-2009

The seventh in a series of posts to get you revved-up signed-up and informed about the PSA Trek.

It’s time to start planning your itinerary. Whatever itinerary you come up with, you gotta’ know the basics of itinerary planning at Philmont. Here they are. Get out your maps, start trail-talking with Phriends and soon you will have both a crew (seven person minimum) and an itinerary. And remember, planning is half the Phun!

The 9,000 foot rule
Philmont requires that the first three nights at Philmont be slept in the Philmont area under 9,000 feet elevation. You can hike as high as you want. The reason for this rule is altitude sickness prevention.

Your itinerary must comply with this requirement. The good news is that Philmont allows Trekkers Phlexibility in complying with the requirement. Your first night in base camp on Saturday, July 24, counts for 1 night below 9,000 feet. If you spend Friday night, July 23, in the Philmont area, that also counts toward meeting the requirement. Friday night, plus the base camp night, satisfies 2 of the first 3 nights.

Since the starting camp on almost any itinerary will be below 9,000 feet, spending Friday night, July 23, in the Philmont area plus the first night in base camp will satisfy the requirement for almost any itinerary planning purpose. We strongly urge you and every member of your crew to spend Friday night in the Philmont area. If you do not spend Friday night in the Philmont area, you will be required to be part of a crew which spends the first two nights on the trail below 9,000 feet.

Bus drop-off/pick-up points
Your itinerary planning must take into account the established bus drop-off/pick-up points. Those points are Zastrow, Turkey Creek, Cito Turnaround, Rayado, Six Mile Gate, Ponil Turnaround, Lovers Leap and Bear Canyon.

In addition to the above, personal vehicles may be used to get you to or from the Maxwell Turnaround on the Baldy Road and the “parking lot” south of Whiteman Vega Camp in the Valle Vidal on Cerrososo Road east of McCrystal campground.

The Maxwell Turnaround availability will depend on Baldy Road conditions at the time. (The Maxwell Turnaround has been available the past three summers.) Cerrososo Road is a well maintained gravel road which does not require 4 wheel drive or high clearance. (Do remember to include a fully-inflated spare tire.)

Return to base camp
Trekkers are encouraged to return to base camp late morning on Friday, July 30. This will allow you to attend the annual PSA meeting on Friday afternoon. If Logistics cannot schedule bus transportation for a late morning return to base camp, Philmont will allow personal vehicles to be parked at the bus drop-off off/pick-up points for return transportation.

If personal vehicles are used for any of the drop-off/pick up points, Philmont will issue a “parking pass” which must be displayed on your dashboard to alert Philmont personnel and the Forest Service that you are parking there legitimately.

Food pick up points
Napoleon said that an army travels on its stomach. The same is true for your crew. Your itinerary should provide for convenient food pick-ups. You can pick up food at Ring Place, Rich Cabins, Baldy Town, Ponil, Ute Gulch, Phillips Junction, and Apache Springs.

Consider this: a Valle itinerary beginning at Ponil could have three food pick ups: Ponil, Rich Cabins and Ring Place. Trail food in your pack would never be a significant burden!

Wrap-up
Your itinerary planning should include consideration of drop-off and pick up points, food pick-up, and compliance with the 9,000 foot rule. The rest is up to you. Hike as far as you want, or as little as you want. You will get a Philmont Arrowhead Award whether you hike a little or hike a lot. Get your Philmont maps out, start planning itineraries, share those itineraries with Phriends, and join in the Phun of planning! Your Trek experience starts now.

Questions?

Contact your Phacilitators below:

Registration, $380 per person, can be done downloading the printable form or on-line at www.philstaff.com

Registration deadline is June 21, 2010.

Eligibility requirements: (1) Be a member of the PSA or Trek-eligible family member (2) Be a member of the BSA (3) Have a completed Philmont medical form (4) Be 14 years old by September 1, 2010.

Trek-eligible family members: Spouse, child or step child, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, niece, nephew or in-law of PSA member who meets eligibility requirements above.

Cancellation policy: (1) Cancellation prior to the registration deadline of June 21, 2010 will receive a full refund. (2) Cancellation after the registration deadline will not receive a refund. Monies paid can be used for another PSA event (within one calendar year) or can be contributed to the General Fund. (3) In exceptional cases, the Executive Director AND Vice President of Service can authorize full refunds for cancellation after the registration deadline.