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CB in Texas

Question about dry camps at Philmot

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Hi everyone,

 

Our crew is heading to Philmont this summer in late June. We are very excited and it is the first time for most of us (myself included).

 

Can someone explain how these dry camps work?

 

Our crew will be taking Trek 5, and we finish by hiking from Cimarroncito to Ponderosa Park (dry camp). After overnighting at Ponderosa Park, we hike on over the Tooth of Time. I'm concerned about having enough water on hand for the last day, given the we are starting a a dry camp the night before.

 

We can (and are planning to) haul extra water from Cimarroncito to use on the last day.

 

But here's the thing: Ponderosa Park (again - a dry camp) offers Western Lore, Horse Rides and a Chuckwagon at Clark's fork. How can all that happen without water there? Are the activities (like the Chuckwagon) just not in the camp? If so, there must be water wherever they are. So are Scouts just not allowed to fill up in these places? Or are they trucking in water for horses, etc..?

 

I always imagined a "dry camp" to be a lonely isolated place. This one seems like Times Square.

 

Thanks for the help.

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Posted (edited)

Can someone explain how these dry camps work?

Dry camps mean they have no water source. So you will need to pack all water you need until you reach your next water source. In some cases you need drinking water for the day you are hiking in, water for cooking/cleaning that night, and then MORE water for hiking out the next day. If you are not carrying 4-6 liters person (in some cases) you will need to bring a 2 gallon carrier with you to fill up on your way in.

 

 

Our crew will be taking Trek 5, and we finish by hiking from Cimarroncito to Ponderosa Park (dry camp). After overnighting at Ponderosa Park, we hike on over the Tooth of Time. I'm concerned about having enough water on hand for the last day, given the we are starting a a dry camp the night before.

You should be good. While Ponderosa Park is a dry camp, Clark's Fork is not. You can water up in Clark's and carry your 2 gallon carrier to Ponderosa. We did the reverse of this trek last summer. Here's what I suggest:

  • Confirm during the planning session at HQ if Shaefer's Pass has water. Last year the spring there was dry. The closest water was North Fork Urraca (in the river if it is running, if not Miner's Park) or Clark's Fork. You will need LOTS of water to get over the Tooth.
  • If there is water at Schaefers Pass:
    • Get water at Clark's Fork BEFORE you head to Ponderosa Park. Have everyone fill up (4-5 ltrs per person) AND fill up your 2 gallon crew water jug. Make sure everyone has a minimum 3 liters for your hike to Schaefers Pass. Leave early in the AM so you have time to get to Schaefers.
    • Water up at Schaefers. Make sure everyone has ALL water bottles filled. Bring your water carrier filled too.
  • If there is NO water at Schaefers Pass:
    • Get water at Clark's Fork BEFORE you head to Ponderosa Park. Have everyone fill up (4-5 ltrs per person) AND fill up your 2 gallon crew water jug. Make sure everyone has a minimum 3 liters for your hike to Schaefers Pass. Leave early in the AM so you have time to get to Schaefers.
    • Water up at Miner's Park. Make sure everyone has ALL water bottles filled. Bring your water carrier filled too. CONSERVE WATER. You will need a MINIMUM of 3 liters EACH to hike the Tooth ridge line. If it is sunny and hot I'd even add another liter per person.

We did a day hike from Schaefers to the Tooth and back with 3 liters per person and still had an issue with one crew member. Carrying full pack is going to be tough...but doable. Leave early and plan for breaks. Lots of breaks.

 

EDIT: Clark's Fork is the "hub" with all the action. Ponderosa Park is a few miles away (trail distance). It is located off a side trail. See the map link above. It is nice, quiet and somewhat remote, but it is a decent distance from Clark's that you will need to time get there. I would recommend calling an "audible" and camping at North Clark's. It is closer to the trail and less of a hike out the next morning. 

Edited by Col. Flagg
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Thanks everyone.

 

For toting water, do you recommend a few larger (say 10 liter) containers, or smaller (4l) individual containers? The former weigh 20 lbs and that seems like an awful lot of extra weight for a scout to carry to our 2 dry camps. The latter would be easier for the scouts to carry, but adds to gear and expense.

 

Thanks again for your help.

 

Cb

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Not at Philmont but elsewere we did exactly that with a large 2.5 gallon container (about 10 liters).  The Scout only needed to carry it 2 miles to where we ended up camping for the night.  That scout (a good sized 17 year old) struggled with that.  Decided then that was not the way to carry water while backpacking.  It does not seem like much until you carry it a while.

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Thanks everyone.

For toting water, do you recommend a few larger (say 10 liter) containers, or smaller (4l) individual containers? The former weigh 20 lbs and that seems like an awful lot of extra weight for a scout to carry to our 2 dry camps. The latter would be easier for the scouts to carry, but adds to gear and expense.

Thanks again for your help.

Cb

It's a matter of preference. Fact is you need the water, so either everyone carries more (6-8 liters each) or you carry a few half filled 2 gallon bags.

 

I would recommend everyone have those folding water bottles and at least one nalgen. Saves on weight and space.

 

https://www.rei.com/product/820769/platypus-platy-water-bottle-70-fl-oz?CAWELAID=120217890000798875&CAGPSPN=pla&CAAGID=15877492480&CATCI=aud-87986356584:pla-301022880120&cm_mmc=PLA_Google%7C404_58226%7C8207690001%7Cnone%7Cd0946a35-4f61-48d7-8b22-d2d150cda7f2%7Caud-87986356584:pla-301022880120&lsft=cm_mmc:PLA_Google_LIA%7C404_58226%7C8207690001%7Cnone%7Cd0946a35-4f61-48d7-8b22-d2d150cda7f2%7Caud-87986356584:pla-301022880120&gclid=CjwKCAjwr_rIBRBJEiwA6C-exyW6C7l7-vWIuYHvW2a6W9Lo_06I4z1rIdLMtt7O3ehr_3oQMGWSxxoCGH0QAvD_BwE

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Thanks again for the help everyone. Feeling much better about the water situation now after reading your comments and squinting at the trail map a bit.

 

I think we will go with the individual 70 oz bottles (1 per person) that Back Pack mentioned. That will give each of us a total of 6L of water (filled up over in Clarks Fork) when we depart Ponderosa Park for Shaefers Peak.

 

Our other dry camp is Commanche Peak (coming from Wild Horse over Mt Phillips. We can fill up at Clear Creek and should be able to get over Phillips to Commanche Peak with at least that 2L per person left over to get us overnight and to Whistle Punk the next morning.

 

Any thoughts or comments?

Thanks again.

CB

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When I did Philmont, I carried 2 flat water containers besides my Nalgene water bottle.  I also carried Polar Pure.  On the days we were anticipating a dry camp, I filled up with all the water I could carry.  Otherwise I just measured it out for the day's hike.  Also on the hike to dry camp, every water source we came to was used to refill all my containers.  I always carried more water into the dry camp than expected or used.  But my extras also helped a few of the scouts out that weren't planning as well.

 

Be prepared to take on some pretty sad-news water on some of the sources.  Sources that were not that good went into my third container to be used only if necessary.  I used my necker to clean up debris as much as I could (it did work well) and didn't have to tap into that container very often.  The three container system worked well.  I wouldn't "treat" the third container until about an hour before I knew I would use it and if I hit a cleaner source than the last stop, I'd dump it and fill with the better water and then treat it only if necessary.

 

Water wasn't a problem for me.

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Thanks Stosh.

 

I think our issue with finding more water is that once we leave Clear Creek for Phillips, the trail is going to be bone dry until we hit Whistle Punk the next day. I'll have our crew chug as much as they can hold before we depart Clear Creek for Phillips and also fill up at the water containers. My hope is that will leave 3L or so for the overnight and hike out the next day. I might throw an extra 70 oz collapsible bottle into our gear just to be on the safe side.

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It's a matter of preference. Fact is you need the water, so either everyone carries more (6-8 liters each) or you carry a few half filled 2 gallon bags.

 

I would recommend everyone have those folding water bottles and at least one nalgen. Saves on weight and space.

Not a Philmont traveler, but I have come to agree that everyone in the crew should have the capacity for 8 liters, only half of which is necessarily kept full while trekking. I.e., if one person is down to his last liter, the nearest stream or spring is time for a refill to get everyone back up to at least 4 L. Even if you are camping beside a glorious spring or stream in a mile or two, there might be enough of dry terrain and heat to make that last hump tortuous.

 

Obviously, if you are approaching a dry camp, everyone fills to the max and balances their loads. I prefer nalgene wide-mouth 96 oz. collapsible. I filter/fill one of those and, once purified, dispense into three smaller canteens, then fill it again.

 

(Note to self: remind crew president to add water management to his scoring rubric for next month's wilderness hike.)

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Posted (edited)

My trek was all 5 of the major peaks of Philmont, 110 miles.  If I remember correctly, we had 3 dry camps.  Knowing the route is, of course, important, but it's doable. 

 

My 2 extra containers were those camel bags, rubberized cloth that lays flat except for the plastic ring and cap.  Mine held about a 1/2 gal apiece.

 

You are correct, overwater the boys in the morning before leaving camp.  They hate this process, but it works.  And by the way, do this at every water source one finds and make sure everyone has all containers full.  We would also soak our shirts and neckers as well to slow the overheating and extra water loss from perspiration.

Edited by Stosh

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I think in going to go with 2 of the 70 oz collapsible bottles per scout. It's only $7 more than a 96 oz nalgene and they weigh 2.6 oz together when empty. That will give us an extra 4L of capacity per person. We will probably only use 3L of that, but it's good to have the option to carry more.

 

Thanks,

CB

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I think in going to go with 2 of the 70 oz collapsible bottles per scout. It's only $7 more than a 96 oz nalgene and they weigh 2.6 oz together when empty. That will give us an extra 4L of capacity per person. We will probably only use 3L of that, but it's good to have the option to carry more.

Thanks,

CB

Sorry if I confused you with my response. I'd go with

 

- 6-7 x1 liter foldable water bottles per person

- 1 x 1 liter nalgen per person

- 1-2 x 2-2.5 gallon foldable water carriers per crew

 

I would avoid camelbacks and one-size personal water containers. When they leak you're done. If you have the one liter containers you have back ups.

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I would avoid camelbacks and one-size personal water containers. When they leak you're done. If you have the one liter containers you have back ups.

 

@Back Pack There's this marvelous invention called duct tape.  Works well on leaky water containers.  I've even used it on my canoes.  Works wonders!  :)

 

The guy that taught me this showed me how to make the repair.  Cut the leak big enough to put the duct tape on the inside of the bladder, then another over the outside.  He did this and then filled with water.  When he stepped on the bladder it ruptured a leak, but not at the duct tape place. 

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I think in going to go with 2 of the 70 oz collapsible bottles per scout. It's only $7 more than a 96 oz nalgene and they weigh 2.6 oz together when empty. That will give us an extra 4L of capacity per person. We will probably only use 3L of that, but it's good to have the option to carry more.

 

Thanks,

CB

 

Practice with your gear is really important. Some techniques are listed here:

http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/manual/water.shtml

 

One that isn't mentioned, but is related to hose contamination is forward dilution. There was a sick hiker incident in Dolly Sods, WV that was traced back to not rinsing the bottle mouth and lid with some of the purified water.

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I had a scout pick up Giardia in the BWCA.  He went snorkeling.

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