2018 Volunteer Vacation
The Trail to Cito peak—Year 3
Simple Question—What’s the very best deal today that allows you to spend 7 days at Philmont and, at the same time, truly give back to Philmont?
Obvious Answer—The PSA Volunteer Vacation!
The Philmont Staff Association and Philmont Scout Ranch are pleased to again offer this opportunity in 2018. This will be the 3rd year for the very exciting and tremendously rewarding Volunteer Vacation. This program has sold out every year. Past participants have experienced a fantastic week in the backcountry, hard physical work, and the ultimate satisfaction of giving back to Philmont.
The dates are September 15 to 22, 2018. The cost is still only $210. Registration opens March 1, 2018 at noon, Central Time. Registration deadline is August 15th, 2018. Please see the registration and cancellation policies at the end of this article.
Carrying On in 2018
The Volunteer Vacation in 2018 will continue with the construction of a new spur trail to the top of Cimarroncito Peak. Workers will push closer to the summit. This spur trail connects to the new Cyphers Mine/Thunder Ridge Trail, also being constructed in the area. These trails are helping to open a little used part of Philmont and also aid the popular 7-day treks. There has never been a trail to Cito Peak. Your work will be instrumental in making this happen.
This year’s program will be very similar to 2016 and 2017. Here’s a detailed article from 2016 providing a full explanation of everything that takes place. Both years, participant feedback has been excellent. “Hard work” “Pride” “Satisfaction” “Best ever” “Very physical” “Will return” are continually repeated in the evaluations.
This program is available to PSA members and their eligible family members. The minimum age is 16 years by date of participation. Trek-eligible family members include your spouse, child or stepchild, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, niece, nephew or in-law of the PSA member. Please do not register anyone who does not meet these requirements.
If females under the age of 21 years are registered, we will attempt to make accommodation for Youth Protection requirements. If we cannot meet Youth Protection requirements (having a female over 21 participate) we will return the entire registration fee.
The full Philmont medical form is required – the same seven page form required for summer Trekkers. Please note, just because your doctor certifies you, it does not mean this program is for you. Volunteer Vacation requires hard work, long hours, a good crew spirit, backpacking ability and a sense of humor. This program is not leisurely and is not for those who are afraid of sore muscles, getting dirty, and who cannot maintain a great attitude when the going gets tough. The PSA reserves the right to return the entire registration fee of any person who would be inappropriate for this program.
Download the High Country article…
Volunteer Vacation Schedule
Saturday, September 15
Arrive at Philmont during the day. First meal will be dinner in the PTC Dining Hall. In the evening, the Conservation Department will begin the program with introductions and specific plans, gear and packing advice, and general Q&A.
Sunday, September 16
Breakfast at PTC and then depart for the drop-off point just above Sawmill. Next, a short hike to Whistle Punk trail camp, set up camp, and have lunch. Following lunch, you will receive Philmont tools and trail construction instruction, start trail construction work, and have fun.
Monday-Wednesday, September 17-19
Trail construction work (and more fun). There should be time to climb Cito Peak!
Thursday, September 20
Final wrap-up of trail construction work, break camp, clean up the Whistle Punk campsite, and then hike or ride to another campsite. The final campsite will depend on the number of participants, availability of transportation vehicles, weather, etc. Volunteers will spend the night at this new location, relaxing and enjoying traditional Philmont camping.
Friday, September 21
In the morning, possible side-hikes based on the location. By midday or early afternoon, Volunteers will be transported back to Base Camp. Friday evening’s dinner will be a celebration of the week and recognition for what you have given back to Philmont. Participants will be awarded the coveted Volunteer Vacation patch.
Saturday, September 22
Depart Philmont after breakfast. Take a proud and satisfying look back at Cimarroncito Peak (and the Tooth, of course)!
What will we eat?
Both trail food and large quantities of FRESH food to insure sufficient calories. This will be a much better menu than the standard trail food menu. Cooking, cleanup, and water crews will be established.
Will we need to carry a full back pack?
Yes and no.
Philmont will pre-stage food, tools, and all crew equipment at Whistle Punk. However, the unused room in your pack will need to be filled with extra (and heavier) work clothes along with warm clothes (jackets, gloves, long underwear, headgear, etc). Extra gear can be shipped back to Base Camp after trail work is completed, but you will then be carrying traditional crew gear and food when hiking to your campsite on Thursday.
Philmont backpacks are available at no charge if needed.
Do we need a tent?
You will be sleeping in normal backpacking tents for 5 of your 7 nights at Philmont. You can bring your own tent or use the standard issue Philmont Thunder Ridge 2-person tent (no charge). Tent pairings and partners will be discussed as the participant list is completed.
Will it be cold?
Probably. Whistle Punk is almost 10,032 feet, and by September 15th, autumn will be setting in. You will need warm clothes and a warm sleeping bag.
Where is Whistle Punk?
What does Whistle Punk mean?
A Whistle Punk is the lumberjack who operated the signal wire running to a donkey engine whistle. The camp was given this name because it is near an old logging camp.
What happens if 24 persons register before me?
We will put you on a wait list. We did have several cancellations last year.
Email us if you have further questions
- Available slots (see below) will be filled in the order that registrations are received.
- The preferred method of registration is electronic at https://www.philstaff.org/.
- The slots will be filled according to the date and time an electronic registration is received. If registering by mail, the date and time of receipt by the PSA office. If you call in your credit card information, the date and time of that call.
- Postmarks or dial-in registrations prior to the opening date and time (see below) will not be accepted.
2020 Volunteer Vacation registration opens at noon Mountain Time on March 1, 2020. 30 slots will be available upon opening.
- All registrations are subject to a non-refundable $25 cancellation fee.
- Cancellations prior to the posted registration deadline (date below) will receive a full refund, subject to the $25 cancellation fee.
- Cancellation after the registration deadline will not receive a refund. Monies paid can be used for another PSA event prior to the end of the year following the scheduled event or can be contributed to the General Fund.
- In exceptional cases, the Executive Director AND Vice President of Service can authorize full refunds for cancellation after the registration deadline.
The PSA reserves the right to deny or revoke registration where appropriate.
Registration deadline: August 15, 2020.