Friends of Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Conservancy

Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

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Newbie questions

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Offline akphotobob

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Newbie questions
« on: January 11, 2008, 10:28:15 PM »
Hi all, I just joined this great forum and I am planning my first trip to BIBE. A little about me so you can give the best advice. I lived for 40 years in Alaska and recently retired and live fulltime in a F150 4X4 with a homebuilt camper. I am beginning a long trip that follows wildflower blooms and starts in the Texas Hill Country and moves through NM, AZ, UT, CO, WY, MO and ends at Banff, Alberta in September/October. I will be in the Hill Country in mid-March and then over to BIBE for no more than a week. I will be primitve camping (boondocking) all the way. I have a beloved dog that travels with me and if he can't go, then I don't go. Nature photography and hiking are my driving passions. My questions:

1) The NP site says "no pets in the backcountry" but another place it says that your pets can only go where your car goes. So I am assuming that means my dog can be with me on a leash in the designated backcountry roadside camping site but he can't go with me on trails or hikes. I understand that I can't even leave him while I go for hikes, which means I can't hike either. We both love to hike so that is a disapointment to both of us. We will have to go over to the State park to get in our hikes. Have I got this right?

2) Assuming my dog can go with me, which backcountry campsites do you recommend I sign up for when I get there. I don't  even have an itinerary yet for my trip to the park so maybe you could give me a suggested daily itinerary and places to camp. My main goal for a campsite is open views to sunrise and sunset with an interesting foreground, since that is always the best light for photography.

3) This may be a question better left for another forum, but, in your opinion where are the best places along the road for general nature photography?

4) Are there any particular places I should go to look for wildflowers in bloom?

I know this is asking for a lot! Should I just ask the first 2 camping questions here and save the others for another forum? I am always amazed at how generosly people share their time and information on sites like this one. Thank You!! It is very much appreciated. Bob

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: Newbie questions
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2008, 07:07:51 AM »


1) The NP site says "no pets in the backcountry" but another place it says that your pets can only go where your car goes. So I am assuming that means my dog can be with me on a leash in the designated backcountry roadside camping site but he can't go with me on trails or hikes. I understand that I can't even leave him while I go for hikes, which means I can't hike either. We both love to hike so that is a disapointment to both of us. We will have to go over to the State park to get in our hikes. Have I got this right?

The NPS does not allow pets on the trails.  Javelina, Mountain Lion, Bear bait.  Dogs, being territorial and protectors of their master, may give chase and bite off more than thay can chew.  Eventhough the state park allows it, the same holds true.

2) Assuming my dog can go with me, which backcountry campsites do you recommend I sign up for when I get there. I don't  even have an itinerary yet for my trip to the park so maybe you could give me a suggested daily itinerary and places to camp. My main goal for a campsite is open views to sunrise and sunset with an interesting foreground, since that is always the best light for photography.

Some of the my personal favorite backroad campsites: Fresno, Elephant Tusk, Juniper Draw, all great for sunrise/sunset pics.  Chimneys is especially good for sunset pics.

3) This may be a question better left for another forum, but, in your opinion where are the best places along the road for general nature photography?

Lot's of great Big Bend Photographers on this forum to answer your question. One of the great things about BIBE is the ability to take a pic just about anywhere and get a good shot.   Generally speaking, the west side of the park along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive offers most of the amazing vistas BIBE has to offer.   Be sure to do it again around sunset as you will be amazed at the colors the desert will offer you during this time.

4) Are there any particular places I should go to look for wildflowers in bloom?

Someone else here may have a better option than I can offer you, but the Bluebonnets bloom all over the park.  Most of the ones I have seen are in the North side of the park along the road and just off the road.  Dagger Flat Road might be a good option for Bluebonnets.

Hope this helps!

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Offline tjavery

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Re: Newbie questions
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2008, 09:23:52 AM »
Quote from: Casa Grande
Quote from: akphotobob
3) This may be a question better left for another forum, but, in your opinion where are the best places along the road for general nature photography?

Lot's of great Big Bend Photographers on this forum to answer your question. One of the great things about BIBE is the ability to take a pic just about anywhere and get a good shot.   Generally speaking, the west side of the park along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive offers most of the amazing vistas BIBE has to offer.   Be sure to do it again around sunset as you will be amazed at the colors the desert will offer you during this time.

CG is back! Whew, I was starting to wonder if he'd lost his way on the OML :grin: Or just decided, "hell with it all...", and took up residence out there :grin:

Yeh, I concur there. Ross Maxwell is great to drive along and take in awesome sights. Late afternoon / evening is best, IMO. Be sure to stop frequently (provided you can safely pull off; there are loads of spots where you can find level, clear-ish spots to pull off and park). Also, if you take the time and wonder 1/4 or 1/2 mile from the road, you can gain vistas much better than what you can see by the road.

For wildlife, I'd suggest crusing through the Rio Grande Village area slowly. You never know what you'll see. Ravens, vultures, hawks, javelinas, etc.

I also like driving the backcountry roads. I think they're much more scenic than most of the paved roads in the park. If you have the right vehicle and the time, drive the River Road from one end to the other. Or take the Old Ore Road completely from north to south (or vice versa).

 


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