WG40 – Watchu Mountain Adventure Information

Included in this message:

  • Details of the Watchu Mountain Adventure (WMA)
  • WMA “Fast Pass” Check-in
  • Tour and Activity Plans
  • Notable guests expected at the WMA
  • “Top Tip” coming!
  • Trek assignment chart – information needed from Crews 630L4, 710G, 712L1, 714U2 and 716O1
  • Philmont Navigational Maps

Watchu Mountain Adventure Information

The following is a re-cap of the information provided at the March Briefing about the upcoming Watchu Mountain Adventure.

  1. Where:  Camp Wheeler at Mt. Allamuchy Scout Reservation.  To get to Mt. Allamuchy Scout Reservation, take Interstate Highway 80 to Exit #25.  Follow the signs to Waterloo Village.  Pass Waterloo Village on the left side of Waterloo Road and the entrance to Mt. Allamuchy will be on the right, about 200 yards west of Waterloo Village and just before the I-80 underpass.  Follow signs to Camp Wheeler and the Watchu Training Center.
  1. When:  5:00pm Friday May 1 through 1:45pm Sunday May 3.
  1. Parking:  Lots will open at 4:55pm on Friday and close at 1:50pm on Sunday.
  1. Parking will be limited. Please arrange for your crew to arrive in as few vehicles as possible.  Use vans or have parents drop your crew off and return for Sunday pickup.
  1. Check-in begins at 5:00pm on Friday; with late arrival through 6:30pm.  The Watchu Trail of Discovery begins upon arrival and completing check-in.  Please arrange your work schedule to arrive as early as possible.  Come earlier rather than later to avoid the congested traffic on Interstate 80.  To check-in, you must have:
  • Your crew’s Watchu_Passport.
  • One copy of your crew’s completed Watchu Crew Roster form (if not turned in the night of Fast Past certification).  This copy will not be returned to you.
  • Philmont Medical Records for all crew members.  All Medical Records will be returned to you on Sunday.
  • Your crew’s Council Tour and Activity Plan (only required for crews from outside Patriots’ Path Council).

If your crew’s Watchu Passport has been “Fast Pass” certified by the Contingent Registrar (see the requirements at bottom of the Passport) you will be off on the Trail of Discovery.  However, if you are not “Fast Pass” certified, your check-in will continue and the status of each item on your crew’s Watchu Passport will be reviewed:

  • All crew members must be up to date with their payments (through February, not necessarily the April payment.)  If any are not, the unpaid balance must be paid.
  • Status of BSA registration for all crew members.
  • Status of BSA uniforms for all crew members.
  • Complete and turn in Watchu Wilderness Pledge form
  • Have and show Youth Protection cards or certificates for all advisors.
  • Have and show CPR and Wilderness First Aid cards or certificates.
  • Have and show Weather Hazard Training cards or certificates.
  • Status of BSA Swim Test for all crew members.
  • Have and show Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat cards.
  • Have and show completed Rafting Release / Permission forms for all crew members.
  • Have and show completed Blue Sky Adventures Releases for all crew members.
  • Status of Photo IDs for all crew members.
  • Provide a photocopy of the completed Philmont Talent Release form (N/A for 2015).
  1. Equipment: Bring ALL equipment outlined in your Guidebook to Adventure.  Patriots’ Path Council will NOT distribute ANY equipment.  You MUST bring ALL “Your Personal Equipment,” all “Equipment Provided by Crew,” and especially all “Equipment issued at Philmont” listed in your Guidebook, including your crew dining tarp with poles, tents for all crew members, toilet paper, crew cooking gear including pots, dish washing material, bear bags and ropes, and a plastic trash bag.  Check out the Bear Bags video in the On the Trail section of the Training Videos page on the Watchu Experience Web site to see how to hang your smellables when setting up camp Friday night.
  1. Fuel: 22 ounces of Coleman fuel (white gas) will be provided to each crew.  Do NOT transport fuel in stoves or fuel bottles – of fuel before leaving home.  22 ounces will be much more than enough for the weekend, and any unused fuel will be collected at check-out.
  1. Food: Philmont trail meals will be provided for the entire program, except Friday supper.  Your crew must bring a Friday evening bag supper or eat before arriving on Friday, as there will be no time to cook a meal.  If you eat on the road, it is suggested you get most of the way to Mount Allamuchy before stopping to eat in the vicinity (Ledgewood, Netcong, or Hackettstown).
  1. Water: The Watchu Mountain well is a safe source of water and does not need to be treated.  Please help save time – all crew members should arrive with full water bottles.  The well is within a half mile of all camp sites, and you will need water containers to transport crew water from it to your site for Saturday’s dinner.
  1. Trash: At Philmont crews must carry trash (trail meals packaging) until passing through a staffed camp which will accept it for disposal.  All trash at the Watchu Mountain Adventure is to be carried in your packs and packed out on Sunday for disposal at home.  Check out the Trash Compacting video in the On the Trail section of the Training Videos page on the Watchu Experience Web site for some pointers on how to minimize its bulk.
  1. You may use rotating or permanent (refer to WG26) crew assignments. Before arriving on Friday your crew should have selected all the permanent youth leadership positions – Crew Chief, Chaplain Aide, Wilderness Pledge Guia, Navigator, and Crew Reporter(s).  There will be briefings for each of these positions on Shakedown Mesa during the weekend – check the schedule for times.  Also, there will be ample free time in the schedule for you and your crew to work on crew member responsibilities, crew development, trek planning, and required crew skills (cooking, etc.).  This is your weekend – make the most of it.
  1. Uniforms: Complete official BSA uniform for all, with nameplate for advisors (sometimes unofficially called Class A).  Your entire crew will report to Watchu Mountain in complete official BSA uniforms.  Check the Uniform Fact Sheet in your Crew Member Guide or on the Web site.  Advisors, please wear your Watchu nameplate on the right pocket flap.  If you have an OA pocket flap patch, the nameplate goes above the Boy Scouts of America designation over the right pocket.
  1. Money: All members of your crew must be up to date with scheduled Philmont payments to Patriots’ Path Council.  Alert your crew members to bring cash if they intend to buy extra Patriots’ Path Council Philmont patches, expedition T-shirts, expedition hats, extra Philmont food, etc.  The Watchu Mountain Outfitters Trading Post will be open at posted times throughout the weekend, and is stocked with great backcountry items.  Check the Trading Post on the Web site for prices and details.
  1. Weather: Philmont training is best in the rain.  Pray for rain during the Watchu Mountain Adventure!  The spring weather will bring out an assortment of friendly bugs so be prepared with your bug repellent.

Watchu will be a simulated Philmont adventure.  The intent is to give your crew an opportunity to evaluate the crew’s “Philmont readiness” in a Philmont-like setting.  The crew should “find the gaps” between where the crew is and where they need to be to guarantee a great trek.  After the Watchu Mountain Adventure there will be about fifty days until the first lift-off to close the gaps.  Good luck and have fun!


Watchu Mountain Adventure Fast Pass Check-in:  Fast pass check-in will save you and your crew valuable time during the very busy Friday night of the Watchu Mountain Adventure.  Check your Watchu_Passport for details.  It is not too late to qualify for Fast Pass.  Watchu Staff members will be at the Council office in Cedar Knolls Tuesday evening, April 14, from 7:00 to 8:00pm, to certify your crew for Fast Pass Check-in.


Don’t forget:  Crews from outside Patriots’ Path Council must have a Tour and Activity Plan filed with their local council for the Watchu Mountain Adventure.  A Tour and Activity Plan may be required for other crew shakedowns or training outings.

Advisor Question: When we take a group of scouts from our troop on a hike we file a Tour and Activity Plan with our council, signed by a Scoutmaster and a troop committee member.  Who should sign the form for our crew since we are from several different troops?

Answer:  Any two advisors accompanying the crew on the training event can sign the Tour and Activity Plan.  And Patriots’ Path Council will file Tour and Activity Plans for all Patriots’ Path contingent crews for the trip to and from Philmont.  The bottom line for Advisors is that the Tour and Activity Plan guarantees your event is sanctioned by the BSA and all associated rights and privileges, such as accident insurance, extend to BSA registered participants.


Good News!!  The Watchu Team is happy and excited to confirm that a number of guests from around the country will be joining you on Watchu Mountain:

From Colorado – Dwight Stein, former Manager of the Philmont Logistics Department, will be available all weekend to assist you with your trek planning.  Dwight’s many years on staff in a variety of positions has provided him with a knowledge of the Ranch that he is happy to share.

From Florida – Rob Pardue of Blue Sky Adventures is bursting with great Colorado touring plans.  He says he can’t wait to share the good news with you and your crew.

From Philmont – Mark Anderson, Director of Program, Philmont Scout Ranch, and Eric Martinez, Chief Ranger, are coming to New Jersey to check out the Watchu Mountain Adventure firsthand.  While their focus will be with the staff and observing the program, there should be opportunities for some one-on-one time with them during the weekend.

From Philmont via Paramus NJ padre Father Don Hummel, a Philmont Chaplain, will arrive on his burro in plenty of time to conduct the very important briefing for Chaplain Aides on Saturday morning.  The position of Chaplain Aide is critical to the success of your trek.  Recall from prior Watchu Grams describing how to organize your crew, the Chaplain Aide serves as an assistant to the Crew Leader (Crew Chief).

From New York City – the briefing for Crew Reporters on Saturday morning will be led by Scott Berger, Associate Director of CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley.  He is going to have some great tips for your crew’s news correspondent(s).

From South Carolina – Saturday night’s Trail Planning sessions will be coordinated by Watchu’s own nationally-known Philmont trail expert Al Thomson, who will be available throughout the weekend to answer questions about your Philmont trek.


Top Tip coming!  Shortly we will send out a Watchu Gram, titled “Hiking is a Team Sport,” which has been voted the Top Tip by advisors over and over again.  The Watchu Team strongly advises all crew members to read it, understand it, and internalize it.  We expect you and your crew to put the tip into action at the Watchu Mountain Adventure.  Be ready for a pop quiz on it, maybe with prizes.


Watchu reminder:  When you receive the e-mail from Philmont confirming your assigned itinerary, forward it to Chief Watchu (at chiefwatchu@watchu.org) with a note indicating which choice (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th) it was.  Your trek assignment is needed so that the Watchu Trail Planners can prepare the staff schedule and will be used to design your crew-specific Watchu Mountain Adventure.

Crews that have already responded – please double check your information in the chart and advise immediately if there is an error.  Thank you for your prompt attention to forwarding your trek assignment – with online selection now in April, there is less time for the Trail Planning staff to prepare for you.

Not time critical, but important – if the chart indicates we have not received the forwarding of your “Arrival Info” confirmation from Philmont (PPC crews only), please send it to Chief Watchu.


Crew Trek Choice Crew Trek Choice
628R1 22 1 628R3 1 5
628R2 * 25 5 o 628R4 33 1
630L1 22 1 630L3 * 28 4
630L2 20 1 630L4 *
712L1 * 712L3 10 1
712L2 * 24 712L4 * 25 4
714U1 4 1 714U3 4 1
714U2 * 714U4 33
716O1 * 716O3 * 10 1
716O2 * 17 3 716O4 28
727Z1 16 1 727Z3 21 3
727Z2 13 1

o original 3rd choice was available

*Arrival plans confirmation NOT forwarded yet – each crew MUST individually submit their arrival plans using the Itinerary Selection page before a May 7 deadline; it is NOT handled on a contingent basis.


Philmont Navigational Maps:  Once you know your itinerary you will need to order your land navigation maps – the Sectional Map(s) listed for your trek in your Philmont TREKS – Itinerary Guide.  Place your order with the Tooth of Time Traders at www.toothoftimetraders.com.  That Web site has lots of other great stuff available, check it out.  Purchasing at least two complete sets of maps is recommended so that if your crew must separate on the trail, each group has a map.


Phil Fact:  The Dolds Brother’s Warehouse in Cimarron was built in 1848 by M.R. Whiteman as a freighting depot for the Andres Daws stage line, and was one of many warehouses and supply stores that were in much demand during the heyday of the Santa Fe Trail.  The original adobe structure, severely damaged by fire in 1939, is mentioned in Zane Grey’s book Fighting Caravans, written while he was staying at the St. James Hotel.


The Watchu Mountain Adventure is but a few weeks away!  Can you feel the spirit?

M. R. Whiteman
Cimarron, New Mexico Territory