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Is it safe to leave the tent up during the day while we explore the park? All we'll leave in there is the sleeping bags, and clothes....NO food items whatsoever or anything of too much value. I'm sure therer aren't vagrants just wondering about, but worry that we get back from a day trip to find our temporary home gone!!!
I'll be driving a 4x4 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and would like to explore most of the back country roads (with the exception of Black Gap - I think I may be a little scared of that one)
I'll let someone else handle the backcountry site recommendations, but I've long heard that it's a good idea to flatten your tent when leaving to discourage the javelinas from entering it looking for food. Not that you'd ever store food in your tent as you said, but the javelinas don't necessarily know that.
Don't be scared of Black Gap! Just be cautious! There is really only a small portion that'll make your butt cheeks pucker and that is from the Glenn Spring to the bottom of the switchback....and then there's what I like to call "pinch canyon." You'll most likely make it down without a problem just take it slow and methodical. But try it!
I would recommend taking your sleeping bags with you, just in case something happens to the Jeep while you're exploring. It only takes a second to move it from tent to vehicle. Although you won't need them, you will definitely want them if you need them.
Although all of David's recommendations are excellent, many are an hour or more from a paved road.If you're looking for mobility but still backcountry, I'd think about places like Hannold Draw, Paint Gap 1, K-Bar, Robber's Roost, and Candelilla. These sites are all within a few miles of a paved road.
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