Big Bend Chat

Big Bend National Park Q&A => Backcountry Camping => Topic started by: Texasdave21 on March 11, 2019, 09:11:02 PM

Title: Ideas for 1 day backpacking trip
Post by: Texasdave21 on March 11, 2019, 09:11:02 PM
Hello All,

First of all just want to say what a great website this is. Me and my wife have been going to big bend a few years, and I had gotten info on this website, but this is my first time posting.
We were mostly day hikers but started doing backpacking recently and really enjoy it. We did Marufo Vega in late feb, was truly a wonderful, epic hike. We are looking for a 1 nighter for March 29-30. We are around 30, in decent shape, we like to take it slow and enjoy the scenery. We should arrive early around 8:30am at PJ to get permit, so we should be at the trailhead an hr or two after that depending on the trailhead we choose

We want to save the chisos for the warmer parts of the year.
I was thinking MDA until tinaja blanca and back. Another option is a loop starting at Mule Ears w/ Smoky Creek Trail, but would need help with this route. I have heard some people talk about a nice canyon in smoky creek trail going north from the junction w/ mule ears trail.

Thank you in advance
Title: Re: Ideas for 1 day backpacking trip
Post by: steelfrog on March 11, 2019, 09:44:42 PM
MDA to Tinaja Blanca will take you like 3 hours. Why not just camp on the Point?  Youíre young. Days are growing longer. Say you donít get on trail til 10am, thatís 9 hours to get to the Point by sundown, about 14 miles. Download Gaia GPS map, you wonít get lost. Next day you start hiking out much earlier and more downhill than up, get out quicker.

Another fun thing to do is hike out and camp right by Mule Ears then spend time exploring around
Title: Re: Ideas for 1 day backpacking trip
Post by: Texasdave21 on March 11, 2019, 11:04:37 PM
thanks steel frog.
How much water is typically needed for the point and back? I would definitely like to get all the way to the point but would probably do it over 2 nights (we go at a slow pace, take alot of breaks, look at flora, etc) instead of 1 and my wife prefers to do 1 night.
Any other interesting options beyond tinaja blanca (not all the way to the point)?
Is Smokey Creek adjacent to Mule Ears worth exploring?
Title: Re: Ideas for 1 day backpacking trip
Post by: robmaz49 on March 12, 2019, 06:43:30 AM
funny you post this.  I was logging on to do the exact same! only difference is the wife and I are heading down this weekend.  Spur of the moment for us but take any chance we can to get out there and away from the city.  So I am looking forward to see what people say also.  MDA was one of our ideas along with mule ears! great minds think alike!. Anyways thanks for taking the lead on this one and good luck with whatever trail yall pick.
Title: Re: Ideas for 1 day backpacking trip
Post by: Texasdave21 on March 12, 2019, 10:19:21 AM
Great to hear Rob.
I am also considering a loop starting a mule ears, up smokey creek connecting w/ dodson trail up to homer wilson. From there I would use the route below to loop back to mule ears (instead of hitching a ride down via Maxwell):

https://www.gaiagps.com/datasummary/track/664cafcd-f67b-4f0f-8501-349bbe0bb02b/?layer=GaiaTopoRasterFeet

I see comments that there is a manageable pour off near mesa bonita. Just hoping some can chime on how big it is or if its dangerous?

Homer67 used the route, didn't report negatives after completing hike just alot of water so I am thinking it was uneventful. The link to the discussion below (was just 3 wks ago):

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/hiking-the-desert-of-big-bend/questions-on-a-new-to-me-section-in-the-sq-homer-wilson-to-smoky-creek/msg168678/#msg168678

I like this route, would need to check the distance to see if it is doable for 1 night, if not this could be a nice, slow 2 night trip
Title: Re: Ideas for 1 day backpacking trip
Post by: catz on March 12, 2019, 10:33:19 AM

I think a hike to the MDA point and back is too ambitious for an overnighter.   13-14 miles is a lot to cover in that type of terrain.

Mule Ears, Apache Canyon, the South Rim, Banta Shut in and the Chimneys are all more reasonable, in my opinion.
Title: Re: Ideas for 1 day backpacking trip
Post by: Texasdave21 on March 12, 2019, 10:46:56 AM
wow thanks catz. Those are great routes. I will have time to look over them to see what we end up choosing
Title: Re: Ideas for 1 day backpacking trip
Post by: mule ears on March 12, 2019, 11:27:55 AM
Great to hear Rob.
I am also considering a loop starting a mule ears, up smokey creek connecting w/ dodson trail up to homer wilson. From there I would use the route below to loop back to mule ears (instead of hitching a ride down via Maxwell):

https://www.gaiagps.com/datasummary/track/664cafcd-f67b-4f0f-8501-349bbe0bb02b/?layer=GaiaTopoRasterFeet

I see comments that there is a manageable pour off near mesa bonita. Just hoping some can chime on how big it is or if its dangerous?

Homer67 used the route, didn't report negatives after completing hike just alot of water so I am thinking it was uneventful. The link to the discussion below (was just 3 wks ago):

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/hiking-the-desert-of-big-bend/questions-on-a-new-to-me-section-in-the-sq-homer-wilson-to-smoky-creek/msg168678/#msg168678

I like this route, would need to check the distance to see if it is doable for 1 night, if not this could be a nice, slow 2 night trip

So that loop is around 22 miles, so not too bad for an overnighter if you get going first thing in the morning, one of the good things is that there is good water along the Smoky Creek trail and should be water in the drainage east of Goat Mtn..  The scramble around the pouroff at Mesa Bonita spring is not bad, steep but not bad, it is on the west or right side going down canyon.  I agree that an overnighter to the Point of the MDA is a much harder trip.
Title: Re: Ideas for 1 day backpacking trip
Post by: Hang10er on March 13, 2019, 06:35:49 AM
Wouldn't it be a bit hot for the MDA as well??
Title: Re: Ideas for 1 day backpacking trip
Post by: Texasdave21 on March 13, 2019, 09:05:00 AM
Thanks guys. I am looking at weather as well. If itís over 80 I would avoid the MdA since Iíd imagine Iíd be pretty hot near the river side. I have read/experienced the temps increase substantially. When we backpacked Marufo Vega last month the 2nd day was kinda hot. I didnít have a thermometer but the temperature on my vehicle when we were driving out was like 90 at 5pm if I remember correctly and the weather forecast high was like 80
Title: Re: Ideas for 1 day backpacking trip
Post by: dprather on March 13, 2019, 05:51:47 PM

I think a hike to the MDA point and back is too ambitious for an overnighter.   13-14 miles is a lot to cover in that type of terrain.

Mule Ears, Apache Canyon, the South Rim, Banta Shut in and the Chimneys are all more reasonable, in my opinion.

Isn't the Apache Canyon area prohibited for overnight camping?
Title: Re: Ideas for 1 day backpacking trip
Post by: Flash on March 13, 2019, 08:02:10 PM

I think a hike to the MDA point and back is too ambitious for an overnighter.   13-14 miles is a lot to cover in that type of terrain.

Mule Ears, Apache Canyon, the South Rim, Banta Shut in and the Chimneys are all more reasonable, in my opinion.

Isn't the Apache Canyon area prohibited for overnight camping?

Fine as long as you camp below 3400 feet!   :icon_lol:
Title: Re: Ideas for 1 day backpacking trip
Post by: Texasdave21 on March 17, 2019, 10:57:38 AM
What do you guys think about the temperatures for MdA? I am thinking of going to the point with 2 nights total, my wife agreed instead of doing just 1 night in park since we have the time.

This would be at the end of march.

According to weather channel 81-83 High, 56-57 Low average on the 3 day 2 night Hike. This is based on the Lajita Golf Resort. It's actually better than a few days prior when the forecast is like 5 degrees higher. Would the mesa be a couple of degrees cooler since it slightly higher and not right by river?