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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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Help! Please? :)

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Offline Beatrice

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Re: Help! Please? :)
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2013, 07:29:52 AM »
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If you can arrive between 4 and 6 in the morning, you shouldn't have a problem getting a campsite as that's when many people start packing up and going home.
On Friday?  We could do that fairly easily.  So we head to the RGV first off and do what?  Is there an office?  Will there be a line?  Do we walk around and look for people leaving?  I guess I'm asking, what should I expect upon arrival?
People start packing up to head on before sunrise. You will get there when it is dark and most are still sleeping, so cut your headlights asap (and your engine if it is loud like a diesel), then just wait.

When you see flashlights or lanterns moving about, watch to see if they are packing up. If they are, go up to them and ask if you can have the site when they're done. If they say yes, put something heavy of yours there (both to be visible and so it doesn't blow away) to claim the site, then go back to your car and wait until they leave.

Then you can set up camp and go fill out the form at the board at the entrance to the campground saying you claimed that campsite.

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This is a totally doable vacation that the whole family will love. Get the kids' passports ordered so you can go over to Boquillas, Mexico and eat some tacos while you're there!

I plan to keep checking for a cancellation that I can snag.  I am okay with just showing up without a reservation, but I'm not sure about my husband.  I booked a campsite at Enchanted Rock, just in case.  There were only 4 left and the cancellation penalty is only $5!  I'm just not sure that it would be worth a week long trip.
You don't need to be worried about showing up without a  reservation. Half the campground sites are not able to be reserved so someone will be leaving one of them for you to claim. If you can get there as they're leaving, which you said you can, you won't have a problem.

Then the primitive campsites are available as they can only be reserved 24 hours in advance and in person, so if you're striking out then be at the RGV visitor center at 8:30 when they open to get one of those sites.

Then if all see fails, you can get a Primitive site for the following night forward and the Stillwell store has unending availability near Persimmon Gap.

And you can do this all again the next day if you don't like what you end up with.

You will get a campsite. Keep trying to get the reservation, but don't worry about going elsewhere if you don't get a reservation.

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Help! Please? :)
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2013, 08:33:31 AM »
Quote
If you can arrive between 4 and 6 in the morning, you shouldn't have a problem getting a campsite as that's when many people start packing up and going home.
On Friday?  We could do that fairly easily.  So we head to the RGV first off and do what?  Is there an office?  Will there be a line?  Do we walk around and look for people leaving?  I guess I'm asking, what should I expect upon arrival?
People start packing up to head on before sunrise. You will get there when it is dark and most are still sleeping, so cut your headlights asap (and your engine if it is loud like a diesel), then just wait.

When you see flashlights or lanterns moving about, watch to see if they are packing up. If they are, go up to them and ask if you can have the site when they're done. If they say yes, put something heavy of yours there (both to be visible and so it doesn't blow away) to claim the site, then go back to your car and wait until they leave.

Then you can set up camp and go fill out the form at the board at the entrance to the campground saying you claimed that campsite.
Pick up the form as you enter the campground. As soon as you find a site, you claim it by putting the tear-off portion of the form on the post for the campsite. If there is no form on the post, people will assume the site is still available. The campground host comes around and verifies each form. If you are looking for a site in daylight hours, find the host ASAP and he can help you find one. They do a pretty good job of keeping track of which sites are coming open.

You can put a credit card number on the form you turn in as opposed to cash. It takes several months for them to process those, so you can think of it as a free loan. :icon_wink:

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Offline CubScoutMom

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Re: Help! Please? :)
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2013, 08:17:13 PM »
Then if all see fails, you can get a Primitive site for the following night forward and the Stillwell store has unending availability near Persimmon Gap.

In the "if all else fails" train of thought, I booked a site in RGV for 3 nights, starting on the Friday before Spring Break.  It is in an open area, but it is ours and it gives us several days to snag an unreservable site that someone is vacating.  In the grand scheme of things, the site fee is minor. 

Richard - I think my boys are going to LOVE the site-scouting part.  I can hear the Mission Impossible music in my head already.

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Offline Beatrice

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Re: Help! Please? :)
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2013, 08:27:32 PM »
Then if all see fails, you can get a Primitive site for the following night forward and the Stillwell store has unending availability near Persimmon Gap.

In the "if all else fails" train of thought, I booked a site in RGV for 3 nights, starting on the Friday before Spring Break.  It is in an open area, but it is ours and it gives us several days to snag an unreservable site that someone is vacating.  In the grand scheme of things, the site fee is minor. 

Richard - I think my boys are going to LOVE the site-scouting part.  I can hear the Mission Impossible music in my head already.
Absolutely!
Let them know if you find another site and don't use it. It'll be in high demand and someone else will be happy for your cancellation, even if it is last minute.

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Offline CubScoutMom

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Re: Help! Please? :)
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2013, 09:15:09 PM »
Absolutely!
Let them know if you find another site and don't use it. It'll be in high demand and someone else will be happy for your cancellation, even if it is last minute.

Of course.  :) 

As of right now, my plan is to keep checking for a cancellation.  If I'm not able to get a reservable site for either longer or for the whole week, then I show up EARLY Friday morning, drive around, and pray.  If I don't get a non-reservable site, then I have the one I booked and we make camp and try again on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning as needed.  After that, I guess Stillwell?  But at least this way my husband will agree to load all of us and all of our crap in the car and drive 10+ hours.   :icon_lol:

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Offline Beatrice

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Re: Help! Please? :)
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2013, 10:52:25 PM »
Absolutely!
Let them know if you find another site and don't use it. It'll be in high demand and someone else will be happy for your cancellation, even if it is last minute.

Of course.  :) 

As of right now, my plan is to keep checking for a cancellation.  If I'm not able to get a reservable site for either longer or for the whole week, then I show up EARLY Friday morning, drive around, and pray.  If I don't get a non-reservable site, then I have the one I booked and we make camp and try again on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning as needed.  After that, I guess Stillwell?  But at least this way my husband will agree to load all of us and all of our crap in the car and drive 10+ hours.   :icon_lol:
I think you are set!
Everything else is icing.  :icon_biggrin:

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Offline dprather

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Re: Help! Please? :)
« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2013, 04:49:23 PM »
"How is the drive from Houston?"

I'm from Liberty, Texas, so I know the drive from Houston pretty well.

I do not envy the drive with young ones.  I'm able to make the drive because I am so eager to get back to Big Bend.

Plan on about 10-11 hours with stops.

  • There is a Bucky's almost to Seguin. 
    San Antonio has lots of neat stops, of course.
    We continue west toward Del Rio on 90.
    West of San Antonio there is the little town of Castroville - there is a super bakery (just east of a Shell station on 90).
    Between Castroville and Del Rio there is little but Uvalde - there's a place on the highway called the Oasis - it has good bathrooms and a good salad bar.
    After Del Rio, things get either more desolate or more interesting, depending on your tastes.
    West of Del Rio there is Langtry and the Judge Roy Bean memorial - good bathrooms and your boys will love it.
    Do yourself a favor and eat at the Eagle's Nest in Sanderson - it is on the left just as your enter town and it looks exactly like a once-upon-a-time dairy something. 
    Fill up in Sanderson - the choices are slim and getting slimer at Marathon (one of the gas stations recently burned I think.

Ya'll are going to have a great time!

Try camping at one of the more remote places at least one night. 

Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline The Scorpion

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Re: Help! Please? :)
« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2013, 07:43:57 PM »
Not sure if any has ever posted this or even knows about it. When you are trolling the camp sites looking for a site, you might see an empty site with a yellow tag with dates like 25-28. If you are there on the 23rd, then take the site from the 23rd to the morning of the 25th then find another site. The camp host will put a "reserved for " dates on the post before someone is due to check in.
But before you unload all the gear and set up the tent, double check with the camp host. Always be very polite to them and they will usually tell you to go ahead and set up but will tell you to be out of the site the people who made the reservations are to show up.

Stingrey and I were circling the basin camp ground and we stopped and the camp host told us we could take the site we were parked in front of for 2 days then we would have to move, lucky for us on day 2 someone bugged out a few days early from their site so we packed up and moved over to that one :)

James
everything is better with bacon!!!

http://jamesb.smugmug.com/BigBendNationalPark/

 


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