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mashmaster

Philmont Winter Adventure Postmortem

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Not sure if this is the right place for this:

OK so here is my post mortem of the Philmont Winter Adventure trip.

 Fact: We are from Texas and not accustomed to cold weather.

          We were a crew of mixed youth with 40% of the youth not knowing the others.

          50% of the Adults were mixed and didn’t know the others.

 

Overview:  This was an amazing adventure that pushed the youth (and adults) to limits that they never knew they could overcome.  They not only survived the experience, they had a fun time doing it.  They all would rather not be in a tent in sub-zero weather again and would rather be cabin based during the nights.  But this experience taught them how they could survive the elements in a manner they could not have learned without doing it.  They all got to attempt to snowshoe, cross country ski, sled, and downhill ski.  Sledding and downhill skiing was their favorite activities.  Which is not surprising.

 

Day 1:

  We drove from Austin to Amarillo.  https://photos.app.goo.gl/RTbXHwGC6uN76qkH8 

  We stayed at the Kwahadi museum overnight.  There was snow on the ground but it was warm inside.  In fact, too warm.   Sleeping arrangements where ground pads and sleeping bags on a cement floor.  https://photos.app.goo.gl/gvXE3DNsDDHBjoyt5

  We ate dinner at the Big Texan Steak Ranch restaurant.  The food was meh, but you go there for the experience.  It was about $20-30 a head, more that we were looking for but it worked out.  https://photos.app.goo.gl/mdQy5u4yMTpYk8dn6  

 

Day 2:

  We drove from Amarillo to Philmont.  Stop at the Subway in a gas station in Springer just off of I-25.  That is the last food until Philmont.  Don’t ask why I know this…..  https://photos.app.goo.gl/NsLUWXZk4nhVpmmg6

   Arrival at Philmont, we met our ranger and he guides us through the process.  You turn in your paperwork and start the gear checkout process.  Philmont provides all the necessary gear so it is pretty easy and they want you to stay alive.  After gear check out, you have dinner in the dining hall and then attend a presentation about how to survive in the snow.  We started experiencing some crew storming already at this point(Mainly the adults).  It is cold and people are starting to get on edge.  https://photos.app.goo.gl/rpf9uCYzirJxKxmJ9 

  You prepare the you gear for the backcountry on the sleds and what stays in the dorms for when you return. 

 

Day 3:

  You do a medical re-check to ensure you will survive.  https://photos.app.goo.gl/mLiseiEZpXGbYqPS8

  Pack the sleds of gear into the trucks and head out to the backcountry.

  The eating process begins….. You have two 1-gallon bags of food that you are supposed to continually eat for the next two days, in order to not freeze to death.  You will become sick of eating.  It is work to continue snacking.  I never thought I would say that.

  After about a 40 minute drive you arrive at the base of the path that you will take to your campsite.  You reassemble the gear sleds, don snowshoes, and begin the 2 mile hike up the hill in the snow dragging your gear via a gear snow sled.  This is much harder than we expected but we made it to base camp in Miranda just under Mt. Baldy.  It was gorgeous!  https://photos.app.goo.gl/h1TYE7AcDp7J25ai7 https://photos.app.goo.gl/zzDtEkXs7tWhKBE37 

  Tents are setup and the snow kitchen is made.   By the time this is done, it is almost time to eat dinner and bed down.  It is surprising how long it takes to get to this point.  Dinner is the only hot meal of the day and it is boiled in a pot and eaten directly from the packaging.  It isn’t that bad.  https://photos.app.goo.gl/L6NbPjYRPnNiJdCG6 https://photos.app.goo.gl/dUEn5dd7pi7gzqFd6

  You boil water and put it in a Nalgene water bottle for warmth.  You go to bed at 6pm, because the temperature drops like a rock.  You no bundle up in you sleeping bag and all your gear in a tiny tent until 6am when the sun returns.  This was the hardest part.  It is freezing (-4 degrees), you are trapped in a tiny tent and it is dark and isolated.  No noise, no light, no heat….  Some flip out at this point….  (ok, that was me).   After the panic and bailing out of the tent for a short time you attempt to sleep again.  Now if you look up in the sky while you see the most amazing sky.  I personally saw several shooting stars.  It is gorgeous and freezing at the same time. 

  Boots were difficult to remove because the shoe laces were frozen together.  You fight the urge to tend to natures call because you don't want to struggle with the boots, get dressed, and get out of the tent.  You give in and go through the procedure to go. 

  When you can’t sleep like me, you gets some nice night sky pictures.  https://photos.app.goo.gl/DQR2fmQH4xtinYyEA  https://photos.app.goo.gl/mDAxWep5CmHS93CYA

 

Day 4:

  You wake up when the sun is out and escape the dreaded tent.  You start eating….. again……  https://photos.app.goo.gl/scVPGA4PgHkFV3gX6 https://photos.app.goo.gl/t3wDjqu2Kb7K2TEP7 

  They begin working on building a Quinzee.  While we waited for the snow to settle we tried cross country skiing and headed down the hill to sled.  https://photos.app.goo.gl/zVY3MyRRRFQ4tFHHA 

  We joined up with Troop/Crew 464 from Pearland, TX and had a fun time sledding together.  We then had a competition against each other showing off our skills we learned on the snow already.  We had a relay race that included cross country skiing, snow shoeing, and sledding.  Everyone tried their best and had a great time.  https://photos.app.goo.gl/yfjhydcdSs3jURbd8 

  The quinzhee was finished but nobody was brave enough to sleep in it. 

  After dinner, we scurried into our tents for another cold night, this time was warmer at -2.  And sleeping was easier this night.

 

Day 5:

  After waking up we worked together as a team to pack up base camp and load up our sleds. 

  The walk down the hill with the sleds took 1/3 the amount of time on the way up.  https://photos.app.goo.gl/rpKFKmmMRk1nGtYa9 

  Then we headed back to Philmont base camp.  Turned in our gear and headed off to go pick up our downhill skis from the ski resort.

  Made it back to Philmont for a relaxing night in a heated cabin.  

  We slowly thaw and feel everything is too hot, even though it is cold, we have acclimated already to sub-zero temps.

 

Day 6:

  We headed out early in a morning for a day of downhill skiing.  The group took a lesson together and learned the basic skills of skiing.  The rest of the day was spent testing out what we learned at Red River Ski resort.  The ride back to Philmont was filled with tales of their skiing crashes and laughter.  Everyone was very happy.  https://photos.app.goo.gl/B2aSZLN61M6Grfi9A

 

Day 7:

  We visited the National Scouting Museum and saw historical pieces from the start of scouting and OA.  It was a pretty cool sight.  https://photos.app.goo.gl/dv21VYZrJj5NEpS19

  We headed off towards home.  We stopped in Amarillo at Cadillac ranch and got to spray paint buried cadillacs.  (It is a sanctioned are exhibit that is unique)  https://photos.app.goo.gl/EVDNrxgoKBJBXcEM7 

  That night we stayed at a church in Lubbock.  We were guests of Troop 406 that has been around since 1925.  They were very welcoming and it was really cool to see the pictures from the many years the troop has been around.  https://photos.app.goo.gl/ozDcCjQ8W6hW2mgeA https://photos.app.goo.gl/N5JUSVr4ojBr9gs27

 

Day 8:

  We finally drove the final stretch home and finally arrived to our homes and families to tell the tales of our trip.

 

It was a very hard trip for our scouts but it is a trip they will always remember for the rest of their lives.

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Sounds like a great trip. The idea of a high adventure trip over winter break is great. I'm sure everyone has lots of great memories. Congratulations to whomever set it up.

The only shocker to me: They spent all that effort building a quinzee and didn't sleep in it? And then they complained about how cold it was? Quinzees are nice and warm inside, probably what the scouts are used to (34, 35 degrees). As for snacking all day I've not heard that. We eat 4 big meals a day and throw in some snacks. Certainly we eat a lot, probably twice what we usually do, but we only snack when we feel like it. I mean, if you learn to listen to your body and eat when you need to it all takes care of itself.

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Great report, thanks for posting it! 

Anyone try the 72 oz steak at the Big Texan?  :)

Also-might be me, but the photo links don't seem to work.

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17 minutes ago, Chisos said:

Also-might be me, but the photo links don't seem to work.

Photo links worked fine for me.  Impressed by the young man on the far right in the last pic, who braved it in shorts.

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55 minutes ago, MattR said:

Sounds like a great trip. The idea of a high adventure trip over winter break is great. I'm sure everyone has lots of great memories. Congratulations to whomever set it up.

The only shocker to me: They spent all that effort building a quinzee and didn't sleep in it? And then they complained about how cold it was? Quinzees are nice and warm inside, probably what the scouts are used to (34, 35 degrees). As for snacking all day I've not heard that. We eat 4 big meals a day and throw in some snacks. Certainly we eat a lot, probably twice what we usually do, but we only snack when we feel like it. I mean, if you learn to listen to your body and eat when you need to it all takes care of itself.

My son and I were leads for the trip.  It was pretty easy to setup.

Regarding the Quinzee, I agree but the only one really wanting to sleep in it, couldn't convince anyone else to do it.  I wasn't going to force them.

Philmont provide one boiling in a pouch hot meal and cold packaged food for the rest of the day.    We were just following their instructions.

37 minutes ago, Chisos said:

Great report, thanks for posting it! 

Anyone try the 72 oz steak at the Big Texan?  :)

Also-might be me, but the photo links don't seem to work.

Nobody tried the 72oz steak.

19 minutes ago, MikeS72 said:

Photo links worked fine for me.  Impressed by the young man on the far right in the last pic, who braved it in shorts.

He only wore those during travel days.

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