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Looking for advice

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Offline edifyme

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Looking for advice
« on: December 20, 2019, 02:42:16 PM »
Demographics: I am 68 years young. I live in Savannah, Ga on the coast and at just above sea level. I am in reasonable good physical shape. I am an experience backpacker. I normally hike with a 27 pound total weight backpack. My normal hike is about 10 miles at 2 miles per hour. I normally hike in the Georgia, South Carolina, NorthCarolina or Tennessee Mountains.  This will  probably be my one and only trip to BBNP.  I have the REI NP application and the All trails application that I plan on using. I also have a NP map but it is not very detailed. I have a 2-wheel  drive highlander. It has front wheel drive and ample clearance.
Plan: I am planning the trip for the last week in January 2020. I plan on pioneer car+tent camping. I plan on staying 7 nights or more if needed. I thought that I would spend the first few days hiking short trails. If the trials are short and I can move to another one I would like to hike two trails per day. This will allow me to acclimate. I donít mind moving my camp site if needed. The following trials seem to be a must do: South Rim, Lost mine, Mule ears and Cattails Falls trails.
Options: I can do an overnight trip if needed but with 2-gallons of water and a 40-pound pack weight, I will not be able to hike over 8-miles the first day. I think that I would rather push through the South Rim trail in a day-hike to avoid all of the weight.
Questions: Please suggest modifications to my plan. Please suggest additional trails if they are great. The biggest problem is I canít tell much about the roads in the park and how difficult it will be to move from trail, to trail, to camp. In addition, I canít tell where the best place to set up my base camp or if I need to move often and if I do which camps are best. A campsite with a view would be great but access and location is more important since I will be hiking every day. Any help will be appreciated.

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Offline dprather

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Re: Looking for advice
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2019, 04:08:18 PM »
Greetings.

You sound as if you are a solid backpacking veteran.

The High Chisos is a nice overnighter or double overnighter that takes you to the South Rim which is the true gem of the Park - it's only at the Rim that you truly get Big Bend.  You might not have to haul two gallons of water (this said by a guy who hauled two gallons for his first few Bend trips).  The pipe at Boot Canyon is pretty reliable this time of year.  You can refill there if you'd like to try your hand at filtering water (your experiences suggest that this will be a piece of cake for you).  The High Chisos at night is a  wonder and you typically have the place to yourself.

Regarding base camps, there are several roadside primitive camps that are nice.  You might find it fun to camp at a Pine Canyon site one night, Twisted Shoe in Juniper Canyon for a night, and out by Grapevine Hills for another night.

Consider crossing the Border into Mexico at the small village of Boquillas for lunch - you'll need your passport.

See Santa Elana Canyon up close.

Take a look at the Red Rocks up Blue Creek from Homer Wilson.

Grab a burger at the Starlight.

 
« Last Edit: December 20, 2019, 09:38:13 PM by dprather »
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Online Lissa

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Re: Looking for advice
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2019, 08:27:43 PM »
Absolutely hike the Rim! And do an overnight.  Ask for SW3 if you can get it - campsite has views from camp.  The point across from SW4 also has spectacular views and is just a short walk. Do it when the weather is nice and you can forego a tent (maybe emergency blanket for emergency shelter.  Cowboy camping on the Rim is just spectacular.  And you really shouldnít need 2 gallons for that - Itís an overnight but not all day both sides.  Especially with the boot spring pipe as backup and with the cold weather you would be fine with less. Itís really a 24hr trip so I doubt you would need more than 4/5L, especially if you limit cooking water. I obviously would never tell others what they should do / will need but I recently did a 2 night in the Chisos, getting on trail around noon and off by noon the 3rd day and used pretty much exactly the 6.5L I started with. That said I did a dayhike in the Marufo Vega and used a solid 3.5 that day while hiking, so my rate of use definitely depends on hiking effort / temperatures / etc.

Definitely get to the east side of the park - I finally did on my 3rd trip and am so glad I did. 

Santa Elena and Boquillas Canyon are both short and popular, but well worth doing. A visit to the Hot Springs after some hard days hiking is well worth a visit.  Sunset was lovely from there (but itís lovely from everywhere.) Check on road status, but if you can do the full Russ Maxwell Loop itís worth it. 

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Offline Imre

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Re: Looking for advice
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2019, 09:26:51 PM »
Speed limit on paved roads is 45 MPH. It will take you well over an hour to drive from Castolon to Rio Grande Village. Please do not hurry. I can suggest the K-bar site. It is close enough to Panther Junction that you can get to a restroom with running water if necessary. I have not camped there recently but I did so for many years. Pine Canyon is a very nice (half) day hike. I doubt you will meet very many people there. Check with the rangers regarding the conditions of the road just to be sure. Also you might find the Burro Mesa pour-off interesting. Be safe and enjoy your trip. I shall be bold and predict that your first trip to the park shall not be your last.
For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong.
- H.L. Mencken

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Offline rocketman

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Re: Looking for advice
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2019, 11:39:53 AM »
Another thing to consider is the arid nature of the desert. The dry air will suck the moisture out of your body like a desiccant bag. Coming from GA, that would be one more thing to acclimate to aside from elevation. Pack lip balm and wear a wide brimmed hat for your hikes in the desert, and you might also end up using more water than you think.
Making ice cubes FROM THE SUN!!!

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Offline edifyme

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Re: Looking for advice
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2019, 02:15:44 PM »
Thanks for the advise. I am trying to camp and backpack in all of the National Parks before I get to old. I am convinced on the overnight trip. I will start training with a 40 pound pack. Thanks again.

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: Looking for advice
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2019, 08:02:43 PM »
Thanks for the advise. I am trying to camp and backpack in all of the National Parks before I get to old. I am convinced on the overnight trip. I will start training with a 40 pound pack. Thanks again.
God bless you on your journey my friend.

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