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Philmont Closed for 2018 7 & 12 day treks

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Any ideas for Plan B?

We are in Illinois so we could do BWCA but the scouts wanted mountains.

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Posted (edited)

Call the Longs Peak Council or Denver Area Council and see what they have. I know Longs Peak runs something similar to Philmont. They don't have as many activities but they have better mountains. It's called Elk Horn. The Denver Area Council has something called Camp Tahosa.

If you drive out I-80 you'll go right by both of them. Just don't take I 76.

Edited by MattR

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The best was this nugget in the announcement

While High Adventure opportunities are at capacity at Northern Tier and the Florida Sea Base, there are opportunities at The Summit and they would be happy to accommodate your crew.

They keep pushing the Summit...they keep pushing it

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My scouts have no interest in Summit. In fact they call it the Epcot of boy scouting due to the groomed trails and planned activities.

 

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If the Scouts want mountains and if you don't care whether you are on BSA property, you can look in the other direction and do a couple of weeks on the Appalachian trail.  Parts of it are closer to you than Philmont is.  It would create different transportation challenges, and the mountains are not the Rocky Mountains, and it's not the time of year when I personally would want to be hiking on most of the AT, but it is an option.

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33 minutes ago, TMSM said:

My scouts have no interest in Summit. In fact they call it the Epcot of boy scouting due to the groomed trails and planned activities.

 

Disney Scouts......

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Are you looking for guided or can you put something together yourselves?

Contrary to popular belief, the Midwest does have a small mountain range in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and a very large state park called the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.  Some of the Wisconsin BSA summer camps would offer treks to the Porkies (not sure if they do so anymore).

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is about a 10 hour drive from the Chicago area.  The Appalachian Trail runs through it.

For another set of Midwest mountains, that might be more like Philmont, there's the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota - about 14 hours away.

For guided trips. you can try to Katahdin Area Council (in Maine) to see if they have any capacity for tours of Katahdin and environs - its about 26 hour away by car.

 

 

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I always suggest Ontario; you will not be sorry.  Beautiful country and a lot cooler than Illinois.  Check out Pukaskwa National Park or Lake Superior Provincial Park.  Both have a Coastal Trail along Lake Superior, at least as demanding as Philmont.  At Pukaskwa, I would suggest you rent a boat to take you down the coast, and backpack back (takes about a week).  You might not see anyone else the first 3 - 4 days. 

Lake Superior Provincial Park is 3 hours closer to you.  A lot of boulder beaches, and hills to climb.  The most difficult trail I have backpacked in my 70 plus years, was from Orphan Lake Trail to Gargantua Bay, on the Coastal Trail.  The later in the summer you go, the best for the bugs.

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18 minutes ago, CalicoPenn said:

Are you looking for guided or can you put something together yourselves?

Contrary to popular belief, the Midwest does have a small mountain range in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and a very large state park called the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.  Some of the Wisconsin BSA summer camps would offer treks to the Porkies (not sure if they do so anymore).

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is about a 10 hour drive from the Chicago area.  The Appalachian Trail runs through it.

For another set of Midwest mountains, that might be more like Philmont, there's the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota - about 14 hours away.

For guided trips. you can try to Katahdin Area Council (in Maine) to see if they have any capacity for tours of Katahdin and environs - its about 26 hour away by car.

 

 

Thanks - We do the Porkies with our 11 year olds, its a great place. Smokies might be a little hot for us in July. A message was sent to Maine HA thanks for the input. 

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1 hour ago, TMSM said:

Thanks - We do the Porkies with our 11 year olds, its a great place. Smokies might be a little hot for us in July. A message was sent to Maine HA thanks for the input. 

I think Lake Superior is North America's secret inland ocean. The Superior Hiking Trail is a gem ad could support longer treks. The Porkies are great since you can camp right on Gitchi Gami. We went there last fall with my 9yo and 11yo. It would be hard to create a 12 day trek there. The SHT and the Porkies have plenty of rocks, waterfalls, and bluff side hiking.

1 hour ago, Troop185 said:

I always suggest Ontario; you will not be sorry.  Beautiful country and a lot cooler than Illinois.  Check out Pukaskwa National Park or Lake Superior Provincial Park.  Both have a Coastal Trail along Lake Superior, at least as demanding as Philmont.  At Pukaskwa, I would suggest you rent a boat to take you down the coast, and backpack back (takes about a week).  You might not see anyone else the first 3 - 4 days. 

Lake Superior Provincial Park is 3 hours closer to you.  A lot of boulder beaches, and hills to climb.  The most difficult trail I have backpacked in my 70 plus years, was from Orphan Lake Trail to Gargantua Bay, on the Coastal Trail.  The later in the summer you go, the best for the bugs.

Those Ontario parks, and Sleeping Giant, are intriguing to me since they seem to resemble the West Coast Trail up Vancouver Island, without the ladders, cable cars, and "crowds".  However from Minneapolis they are a similar distance to Denver. The West Coast Trail is an unforgettable experience. These Ontario trails look similar. The only other options outside on Alaska I know about are a trail up the North Coast of California. and Gros Morne in New Foundland.

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2 hours ago, TMSM said:

 Smokies might be a little hot for us in July.

Not necessarily. Don't forget, you are still 4000-6000 ft high in the Smokies too so it is cooler. Ave high is 80 with an ave low of 57.

From a quick search on Philmont, ave temp in July is 84 with an ave low of 52.

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3 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

Not necessarily. Don't forget, you are still 4000-6000 ft high in the Smokies too so it is cooler. Ave high is 80 with an ave low of 57.

From a quick search on Philmont, ave temp in July is 84 with an ave low of 52.

Any idea what the humidity would be vs 15% at Philmont?

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4 hours ago, TMSM said:

Any ideas for Plan B?

We are in Illinois so we could do BWCA but the scouts wanted mountains.

One other worthy consideration is the White Mountains area of Vermont. Mount Washington, Franconia Notch, Flume Gorge... lots that can be done up there. Lovely place and a real (good) challenge to hike.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, TMSM said:

Any idea what the humidity would be vs 15% at Philmont?

Certainly higher at lower elevation but not bad on the higher trails (edit: though there are parts that are basically a rain forest). I can't speak to the elevation of any camp grounds but I've hiked there often in the summer without feeling overheated. We often go in June and hike for 25-30 miles with at least one day hike of 15 miles. Headed there in September this year though.

I live next door to you in Indiana and my assumption is that we have higher humidity here in the Midwest than in the Smokies.

 

Edited by Hawkwin

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Ontario also has the Bruce Trail. It runs from the tip of the Bruce Peninsula to Niagara Falls. The first 100 miles or so is very wooded, and rugged when starting at the Bruce Peninsula end. Much of the beginning mileage is in National parks land. There are beautiful waterfront campsites, boulder beaches and many inland 'puddle' lakes that can get downright bathtub warm. There are also campsites on a great little island called Flowerpot Island. You take a ferry over and can camp (pack it in/pack it out style) for a few days at a time. 

I grew up spending my summers in that neck of the woods. It's a great region. And you'll get more bang for your buck in most cases since the exchange rate is very favorable for US travelers. Some things will be more expensive - gas namely, but for the most part the exchange outweighs the price differences. 

There's lots of things to in the area. Lots of Provincial parks along the way too. It might not be a Philmont trek but it can still be an adventure of a lifetime.

 

 

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