Ben Alford (PA7280@UTKVM1.UTK.EDU)
Thu, 24 Aug 1995 10:23:26 LCL
*** WARNING -- Long Response -- WARNING ****
1. Backpacking trips - It depends. If the boys and adults are great
backpacker/hikers already and are in great shape, you can get by with
few warm-up trips. I just got back from Philmont, and our worst problem
was an adult who wasn't in shape. Fortunately he wasn't overweight and
doesn't smoke. I personally picked the 4 hardest climbs I could find in
the Great Smoky Mtn Park and did one each weekend for the 4 weeks before
we left for Philmont. I also began taking the stairs up to my office
back in January of this year. It was only 2 flights, but it helps.
My warm-up hikes all involved 2-4,000 elevation gains in 3-6 mile
distance. That matches or exceeds anything at Philmont, although I didn't
practice any climbs as steep as the one we took up the "back" side of
Baldy. In addition to aroebics I did some jogging, but I hate to jog.
There isn't much you can do about the elevation difference back home
& that found at Philmont when you are taking practice hikes.
Aroebics classes would also help adults get in shape for Philmont.
The main problems are cardiovascular, not muscular. For example,
weight machines aren't as useful as getting your heart/lungs in shape.
The more practice hikes the better, but make sure at least one is a
backpacking trip. We had one boy who brought an expensive internal
frame pack (which is OK), but it was something he had outgrown (and
didn't realize it). He had to tie everything on the outside and had
a hard time fitting his share of the crew gear in. He also had no rain
cover for his pack because he brought a backpacking poncho. This meant
his pack was only covered when he was wearing it. We didn't have garbage
bags big enough to cover the shape of his pack with everything tied on the
outside! EVERYONE needs a rain suit and pack rain cover. You can tell
them, but Philmont is the wrong place for them to learn the hard way...
I bought a new Jansport external frame pack with 6000 sq inches of space
and for once had enough room. My son's Jansport holds 4000 +- and he was
Food - Philmont provides all your food from the time you arrive until you
leave. They package dehydrated food from various vendors. Each plastic
food pack contains one lunch/dinner or breakfast for 4 people. You will
get LOTS of these food packs since you will be carrying your food for 3-4
days at a time. You will get your initial 3-4 day supply at base camp &
then will likely resupply at 2 or 3 backcountry commissaries.
Fly or drive: I think the closest commercial airport is in Albuquerque, NM.
Our council contengent drove by bus because it was cheaper. To get cheap
air fares, we would have had to rent a bus to some city with a Southwest Air
route or similar air war town and THEN rent another bus to get us from
Albuquerque to Philmont. We drove out in 4 days and home in 2. That was
2 long days covering 750 miles per day.
Another point about trial hikes...we had two boys decide they didn't want
to go to Philmont yet because they didn't enjoy hiking the trial hikes.
One was 50 pounds overweight and the other is a "loner" who hated to work
with a team. I'd rather have them back out before going rather than have
a bad time at Philmont and also make it no fun for the others too.
I'll stop for now, but would be able to add more if you have further
Ben Alford /\__/\ Work Phone: (615) 974-6721
SM, Troop 15 (o)(o) Great Smoky Mountain Council
Knoxville, TN \/ INTERNET: Ben-Alford@UTK.EDU
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City