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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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Upcoming trip

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Offline jake.the.snake

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Upcoming trip
« on: January 31, 2017, 01:01:59 AM »
Hi everyone! So I'm super excited to announce I am going back to the bend February 16-19th! I am going to be going with 4 of my friends and will be staying 2 days in the RGV, the third day we are looking into camping out in the back country. We will be taking two four door cars.
My friends aren't the most experienced back packers, and may not have all the right equipment to hike miles with all the camping gear, but if there are some nice spots that we could drive out to and unpack from the car or a site only a short distance from the car we could make a few trips to and from the cars to unpack. It is also all of their first time to the BiBe, so I am really hoping for a spot with a really good view of the landscape and/or a really good spot to sit out and spot wildlife from the campsite. It would also be nice to have a spot more secluded so that we can sit out late and talk and not be a bother to other campers that may be trying to sleep, but if not possible then we will just have to keep our voices down, but it'd be nice to not have to worry about that.
The park seems to be pretty full that weekend so all suggestions/tips/ideas/input/whatever! are all valued as I may need a back up to my back ups back ups back up plan lol.


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Offline The Scorpion

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Re: Upcoming trip
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2017, 03:11:22 AM »
Rice tank and Glenn spring 2 are my favorite road side camp sites on glenn spring road. Depending on the type of car/tires you could make it back to both of these. It might be slow going but it's possible. Both spots offer great views of the south rim/chisos, but Glenn spring 2 offers a wonderful 360 degree view. Won't see much wildlife, but keep your eyes open because you never know. And the road side sites are spaced far from each other as to not see or hear anyone. There is more to explore around Glenn spring 2 area, but some really neat stuff by Glenn spring 1, but you will have to walk to that one as a regular car can't make it, it's where black gap road starts and you will need 4x4

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Offline The Scorpion

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Re: Upcoming trip
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2017, 03:17:55 AM »
Ernst tinaja might be an option as well as the other 2 sites back on old ore road which I can't remember.

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Offline Jimbow

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Re: Upcoming trip
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2017, 06:05:54 AM »
I pulled a pop up camper down Pine Canyon a few times. We love the views and it is centrally located. My son drove his Chevy Malibu to the campsite without any worries.

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Offline Jalco

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Re: Upcoming trip
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2017, 07:03:51 AM »
All good suggestions so far.  My favorite spot is Fresno, across from Mariscal Mines.  Great views of the mines, the Carmens, and the Chisos.  Elephant Tusk, a little further down the road, offers some good views, plus you can dayhike out to the Tusk and up along the creek just below it.

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Upcoming trip
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2017, 10:36:56 AM »
All good suggestions so far.  My favorite spot is Fresno, across from Mariscal Mines.  Great views of the mines, the Carmens, and the Chisos.  Elephant Tusk, a little further down the road, offers some good views, plus you can dayhike out to the Tusk and up along the creek just below it.

Jalco, you sure a regular sedan driven by inexperienced desert drivers could reliably get to those sites? I dunno. Same for Ernst Tinaja. On the other hand, I think Pine Canyon, Rice Tank, and Glenn Springs 2 are all doable at slow speeds.

Jake, you might think about the Terlingua Abajo/Ocotillo Grove complex over by Santa Elena Canyon. You could get to them by driving down Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive and then along a short section of the washboarded dirt of the Maverick Road.  Not hard to get to, so you might have others camping nearby. But Terlingua Abajo has great views, next to interesting ruins and a cemetery. And driving down Ross Maxwell takes you right past Burro Mesa, The Chimneys, The Mule Ears, Tuff Canyon, and Santa Elena Canyon - all are outstanding dayhikes.

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Offline presidio

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Re: Upcoming trip
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2017, 11:41:34 AM »
Jalco, you sure a regular sedan driven by inexperienced desert drivers could reliably get to those sites?

Generally, on most park dirt roads, it's more about technique, awareness and being careful, rather than equipment (* see caveat in last paragraph).

Sure, there are places no sedan can go and some a sedan won't get back from without damage or help. There are places with grades too steep and loose for a sedan to climb (see prior sentence...it's usually easy to go downgrade; upgrade on a return could be problematic).

Chassis clearance certainly can be an issue, but sedans can go places you might not otherwise think if care is taken. However, for the inexperienced desert driver, "should I do that?" can be difficult to gauge. It has less to do with skill/ability and everything to do with knowledge/experience.

Here's a trivia question: On a single lane road, when two vehicles meet, one has to back up (assuming there is no room to pass). Who has the right of way (and why)?

As long as you have decent tires, drive slowly (fast gets a lot of folks in damage country), avoid sharp rocks, don't drag your oil pan, transmission or differential over things that obviously cannot be cleared you can get to many places. It should go without saying that you stop immediately when something is hit, to look underneath and assess and retreat as necessary. Having a good spare tire is essential; and a jack...don't forget the jack--some do as incredible as that may sound. It's foolish to venture into the desert without things like adequate water and at least a basic tool set.

Now, while way back in the early 70s I drove a sedan down Black Gap Road without a single issue, *I would not suggest venturing on any minimally maintained road (park or elsewhere) without at least a high clearance vehicle. My personal standard for more than 30 years is I don't do that without a 4WD truck. That does not include those dainty SUVs with 4WD/AWD but no ground clearance.
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Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Upcoming trip
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2017, 12:06:53 PM »
Jalco, you sure a regular sedan driven by inexperienced desert drivers could reliably get to those sites?

Generally, on most park dirt roads, it's more about technique, awareness and being careful, rather than equipment (* see caveat in last paragraph).

Sure, there are places no sedan can go and some a sedan won't get back from without damage or help. There are places with grades too steep and loose for a sedan to climb (see prior sentence...it's usually easy to go downgrade; upgrade on a return could be problematic).

Chassis clearance certainly can be an issue, but sedans can go places you might not otherwise think if care is taken. However, for the inexperienced desert driver, "should I do that?" can be difficult to gauge. It has less to do with skill/ability and everything to do with knowledge/experience.

Here's a trivia question: On a single lane road, when two vehicles meet, one has to back up (assuming there is no room to pass). Who has the right of way (and why)?

As long as you have decent tires, drive slowly (fast gets a lot of folks in damage country), avoid sharp rocks, don't drag your oil pan, transmission or differential over things that obviously cannot be cleared you can get to many places. It should go without saying that you stop immediately when something is hit, to look underneath and assess and retreat as necessary. Having a good spare tire is essential; and a jack...don't forget the jack--some do as incredible as that may sound. It's foolish to venture into the desert without things like adequate water and at least a basic tool set.

Now, while way back in the early 70s I drove a sedan down Black Gap Road without a single issue, *I would not suggest venturing on any minimally maintained road (park or elsewhere) without at least a high clearance vehicle. My personal standard for more than 30 years is I don't do that without a 4WD truck. That does not include those dainty SUVs with 4WD/AWD but no ground clearance.

Well said. well said. The brain is always the most important tool in any toolkit. Though, once you're painting the road with fluids, your toolkit no longer matters. Unless perhaps your toolkit contains a spare vehicle.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Flash

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Re: Upcoming trip
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2017, 12:19:54 PM »
Couple months back, I was crawling under the front end of our Odyssey securing a loose plastic under cowling thingy with zip-ties, when I glanced over and noticed some sizeable dents in exhaust system that wraps beneath the engine. My brain instantly presented me with the explanation:  Pine Canyon Road...   :icon_lol:

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Upcoming trip
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2017, 12:25:33 PM »
Couple months back, I was crawling under the front end of our Odyssey securing a loose plastic under cowling thingy with zip-ties, when I glanced over and noticed some sizeable dents in exhaust system that wraps beneath the engine. My brain instantly presented me with the explanation:  Pine Canyon Road...   :icon_lol:

Hahahaha! Back when my kids were smaller, we drove an Odyssey. I left large parts of our under-cowling thingy all over the park!   :great:
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Offline elhombre

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Re: Upcoming trip
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2017, 01:53:10 PM »
Jake, your answer lies down either Paint Gap or Grape vine.  Paint Gap 2 and 3 are in the same parking lot and easily accessible by any hyway car with a doughnut for a spare.  Same with grapevine 2 and 3.  Get your homeboys to get the other site so y'all have both, and privacy.  Stay off Glenn Springs road.  It will take a very long time to limp 2 hyway cars up and down that road.  Less time in cars means more time at camp.

Teach your friends right.  Used TP comes out with you.  Don't throw dishwater and food scraps on the ground.  Make sure they are good with these requirements before leaving.  Pretty simple things to do to keep the place nice for the next visitors.  You are the official Big Bend back country car camping Ambassador.  Make yourself proud and teach them right.

Your original question seems to ask for a place somewhere that you simply park the car and walk into the desert to make camp and sleep.  I think the car spots are the best places for you.  They are the same with a lot less work.  No lights except your own.  No noise from other car doors. Just you and your buds.

Take chairs to sit in, and real tent nail stakes. 

« Last Edit: January 31, 2017, 01:59:31 PM by elhombre »
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Offline Flash

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Re: Upcoming trip
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2017, 02:11:57 PM »
...and real tent nail stakes.
Yep, and a mallet to drive them!  :great:

PS: Extra guy lines on the windward side are nice also...  :eusa_think:

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Upcoming trip
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2017, 02:21:45 PM »
Jake, your answer lies down either Paint Gap or Grape vine.  Paint Gap 2 and 3 are in the same parking lot and easily accessible by any hyway car with a doughnut for a spare.  Same with grapevine 2 and 3.  Get your homeboys to get the other site so y'all have both, and privacy.  Stay off Glenn Springs road.  It will take a very long time to limp 2 hyway cars up and down that road.  Less time in cars means more time at camp.

Teach your friends right.  Used TP comes out with you.  Don't throw dishwater and food scraps on the ground.  Make sure they are good with these requirements before leaving.  Pretty simple things to do to keep the place nice for the next visitors.  You are the official Big Bend back country car camping Ambassador.  Make yourself proud and teach them right.

Your original question seems to ask for a place somewhere that you simply park the car and walk into the desert to make camp and sleep.  I think the car spots are the best places for you.  They are the same with a lot less work.  No lights except your own.  No noise from other car doors. Just you and your buds.

Take chairs to sit in, and real tent nail stakes.

^ This is the voice of experience. Every one of those suggestions is golden. I'd still advocate for Terlingua Abajo, along with the above, in a final bracket. The winner depends upon your particular druthers. Either should be provide all kinds of wonderful experiences.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline dprather

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Re: Upcoming trip
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2017, 04:43:01 PM »
Ernst Tinaja - I attempted it once in a small Nissan and failed.  I went back a year later in my F-150 (not 4X4) and made it very easily.  I think it has about as much to do with how recently the road has been graded as anything else.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Upcoming trip
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2017, 04:56:17 PM »
Here's a trivia question: On a single lane road, when two vehicles meet, one has to back up (assuming there is no room to pass). Who has the right of way (and why)?
Good question. I've heard that if the road is inclined, that the driver heading downhill should yield. Last time I was driving up Old Ore Road to Ernst Tinaja (in a minivan, no less), I came upon a Jeep coming down a hill just after rounding a corner. He didn't move, so I backed up down the hill a hundred feet or so until I found a wide spot to pull over. Coming back from the tinaja, I came upon a F250 4WD on a flat section with no wide spots nearby in either direction. I was about to start backing up anyway when the truck driver drove over the berm on the side of the road and went around me. That little section of the desert where he went off-road should recover in a couple of decades. :icon_rolleyes:

 


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