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EagleInKY

Anyone with Double H experience?

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Our troop was not selected in the Philmont lottery for 2009, but we were offered dates at Double H. Has anyone out there participated in this program yet? Looking for any advice. I've attended Philmont, so I'd like to hear how it compares (or contrasts, as it may).

 

Thanks

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We sent one crew to Philmont and one to HH last year. I went to Philmont but have some feedback on HH. From what I gather, HH is much less program oriented. We had a program every day, HH had two for the entire trek. The terrain is more desert oriented whereas Philmont is mountainous. Their trek was 7 days, ours at Philmont was 11. Base camp at HH was a couple of semi trailers. Base camp at Philmont was incredible. But the boys who did HH loved it. Said it was much better than Philmont even though none of them ever went to Philmont.

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As I understand it, Double HH is the Philmont experience on steroids. No resupply camps so you carry everything including water. It is you and the wilderness for the entire time.

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We sent two crews out there this past summer, and will probably plan to send at least one crew in 2009.

 

As far as I know, there was a resupply, but it is definitely desertscape.

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GW, no it isn't. They resupply mid trek, 3 days in, just like Philmont. Water is available every day via cattle troughs and wells or water buffaloes. Most of the routes are based on connecting the water sources. Its more wildernessy because there is only one staffed camp, unlike Philmont with dozens. Our guys had only one other group at HH when they were there. I think there were 5000 scouts and advisers at Philmont the weeks we were there. Another significant difference is there is a ranger with you the entire trek unlike Philmont where your ranger is with you only the first two days.

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I stand corrected. I was told by a SM who had sent a crew to HH that you carried your entire week's food with you for the entire trek.

 

I've been to Philmont, I'd like to give HH a shot before I get too old.

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GW, your SM might have been correct depending on when he did HH. HH leases the land from ranchers, BSA doesn't own it. It started out bare bones. Over the years, they have refined the program. Early on, I wouldn't have been surprised if they had to carry everything from base. But as of last season, it isn't the case.

 

On another note, some of our advisers from our crew told me that the arrangement has been strained with the land owners and they might lose it. In one case, a crew had damaged a cistern valve, didn't report it and allowed it to drain completely. The ranchers relied on that water for the cattle and it takes years to fill it. Might seem minor to us, but to the land owners its a matter of life and death for the livestock.

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This is consistent with what I've heard and read on their website. More desert-like. There are water supply points, but you have to organize your trek to hit them. It's more "free range", meaning you can set your own itinerary, as long as you hit the key spots on schedule. You do get resupplied with food at the half-way point.

 

I'm glad to hear that the guys that went have enjoyed it. Were they experienced backpackers? In some ways I've heard this is more strenuous than Philmont, but then I've heard just the opposite from others. It is shorter and less mountainous, but sounds like more hostile conditions.

 

Has anyone out there done both?

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We compared treks when we got back. Ain't GPS tracks great?

 

The HH guys did about 4 to 7 miles a day with little elevation change in 35 miles (7 day trek). Our Philmont trek did 3 to 11 miles a day with lots of elevation change in 78 miles (14,000 ft over 11 days).

 

Major HH threat was rattlesnakes and scorpions. Philmont was bears.

 

Philmont was much more structured, we couldn't deviate from our itinerary. HH just had to hit the next water source and had much more freedom on route planning.

 

All of us are experienced backpackers, all would go back.

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I went to Double H the first year it opened.

The ranger with you does some type of program every day or night.

I have also done a trek at Philmont, we did 78 miles at Philmont and 50 at Double H. Double H was harder. We did a class 3 trek which was the hardest at that time. You do resupply in the middle of the week at Martin Ranch.

The water was somewhat of an issue the first year, I have heard that it is better. Water is filtered out of cattle watering trough, which are supplied by windmill or solar, they are not little troughs some are huge, with a pond it supplies next to it. I would suggest that you take a least 2 ceramic water filters, the water had lots of algae in it which plugs up the filters quickly, the ceramic filters are easy and fast to clean, we had 1 ceramic filters and 2 filters with a paper element filter which was useless the filter would plug up after filtering about 4 nalgenes and you cannot clean the paper filter, we made sure we tied coffee filters on as a pre filter.

Double H is considered an High Desert, you will walk over more mountains than at Philmont, but the tallest ones are less than 9000'.

I loved it, the scouts where lukewarm on it.

Double H is owned by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. I do not believe that the BSA leases the land. A man from Rockford Illinois owned Double H ranch, he passed away a few years ago and donated the ranch and a few millions dollars to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. In his will he had written with the donation that the ranch had to be have some type of program for kids, which is how the BSA got to run hikes there.

I think the hunters are having more of an issue with the scouts there than the ranchers. It really is more geared for hunting than ranching. Even though it is still a working ranch. I hear that a 4 day Elk hunting trip will only set you back 50,000 dollars. With not guarantee of getting an Elk. At every watering hole we found a mineral lick and a tree stand, not sure how sporting that is. They do not want to have trails so we told not to walk in single file, we where told to spread out. We where there in the 3rd week of July. It looked and felt like a desert, I saw pictures from a crew that was there 3 weeks after us and the creeks beds we where walking in had 6 feet of water in them.

The rainy season starts in August.

A lot of trek depends on the ranger you get, ours had a hard time letting the scouts lead. I would not compare to Philmont, it is not Philmont, it is another type of High Adventure. I would go back.

We where hoping to see lot of wildlife but only say a couple of rabbits and 2 rattlesnakes. Did see some antelope graving as we where be driven to our drop off point to start. But if you take a few hundred scouts per week and send them out where the animals are not use to seeing very few people I understand why we did not see any.

We saw two different type of landscapes, when we stated it looked pretty barren a few scrubs tree lots of cactus and wild flowers, on the other side of the ranch we hiked to we where walking through huge pine trees.

 

Yes, I want to go back to Double H!

 

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Hi EagleInKY

 

Not sure what youre looking for and really HH sounds like a really good adventure. There is another option near Philmont called Chimayo High Adventure at BSA Camp Frank Rand. The part we did was their Pecos backpacking trek which is in the Pecos Mountains by Santa Fe. Of all the High Adventure hiking treks our troop has done across the county, that one is still considered the most beautiful and most high adventure. After the first day, you will not see another soul for a week. And it is gorgeous woulded county you will ever see. The Pecos Wilderness has dozens of trails that are hundreds a miles long, so you basically customize your trek with your guide when you get to camp to match your scouts experience and what they want to do. One of our crews hiked to a different fishing hole every day catching trout for dinner. They send a Boy Scout guide along with you who trains you in Low impact camping if you don't already know how. Tehy are pretty strict with LNT. They use Philmont gear and the Philmont food.

 

HH does sound really good and I know we will consider it in our future. I just wanted to give you another option in that area.

 

Here is some information: http://www.gswcbsa.org/summercamp/highadv/index.shtml

 

Barry

 

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Talked to a crew that was there with some young scouts they where on a Class 1 trek the leader said they where only hiking 3 to 4 hours a day and it was pretty easy trek. So the treks can be easy or hard which you will decide when you sign up. When we where there they had 3 different treks 1, 2 and 3 with 3 being the hardest.

 

Here are a few pictures from Double H.

 

http://groups.msn.com/BoyScouts/doublehexp714bb.msnw

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Our troop is has a couple of crews going to HH next year. Will be our first time. I have a question to those who have gone. How bad are the scorpions at night? I like camping under a fly or under the stars at night. Of course I am planning on taking our tents. I have been to Philmont several times. Looking forward to something new for the boys and myself. Love all the comments on Double H you guys are posting. Hope to hear more.

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