Big Bend Chat

Big Bend National Park Q&A => Outer Mountain Loop => Topic started by: rkaylor73 on October 31, 2019, 10:45:13 AM

Title: First Timer OML Solo Trip!
Post by: rkaylor73 on October 31, 2019, 10:45:13 AM
Hello all! I am a first timer looking to tackle the OML next week! After doing much research in this forum I have decided to start at HW and hike CC. Here is my tentative itinerary:

Day 1: My plan is to leave Austin early and arrive in the park around midday. I will acquire my permits then cache some water at JC. I have a large 4x4 so road conditions should not be an issue. Then heading back to HW to get packed up and started on the trail. I plan on getting a few miles head start on day 1 and find camp along Dodson trail a few miles in and getting an early start the next day.
Day 2: Head east on the Dodson getting close to the Juniper Canyon trail and make camp for the night.
Day 3: Up the JC trail towards BC trail and find someplace to setup camp for the night.
Day 4: Up at the crack of dawn and cut across on the Colima Trail towards the Blue Creek Canyon trail and down to HW and out.

This is just my tentative plan based on my research on this site... I am open to any suggestions. I am an experienced back country hiker but have never been to Big Bend. My pack is around 30lbs and I'll be carrying 5 liters of water from the get go. I will keep an eye out for any water sources available to me but don't plan on going out of my way for any of them given that I am carrying a good supply and will be recharging at JC.  Does this sound right? What would some of the more experienced hikers do differently?

Thanks for any suggestions....I truly appreciate any and everyone's input.
Title: Re: First Timer OML Solo Trip!
Post by: dprather on October 31, 2019, 11:07:17 AM
Just a thought - if you are going all the way in to cache at the Homer Wilson/Dodson trailhead, why not start/end there?  It is a fairly long and slow trip.
Title: Re: First Timer OML Solo Trip!
Post by: steelfrog on October 31, 2019, 12:58:44 PM
That's a lot of water.  The JC round trip ride is a long one, 4x4 or not.  I can'r imagine you would need more than 5 liters to go from HW to BC; and if you are somehow running short on water when you get to JC, there's usually emergency water there.  There's also usually water in Fresno Creek and upper Juniper Spring.  Especially going counterclockwise.  Counterclockwise you're only going 11-12 miles before you get to your cache, with only one big up of about 800'.  If you were going clockwise, you'd go about 17 miles before your cache with a 2800' up on BC, before you got to JC.  I personally like going clockwise from HW, up BC, across the Rim, then down JC and west across Dodson.

Once you get to the top of JC, going down into BC and Colima is kinda not that interesting.  Far more interesting is going up onto the Rim, which arguably is the most spectacular place in the park.  Rather than go across Colima, might try and get a permit up on/near the Rim and budget to spend some time up there, you won't regret it.  Nothing to see on Colima, which is a nice quiet place to camp but no views, and only a mile or less long anyways.
Title: Re: First Timer OML Solo Trip!
Post by: rkaylor73 on November 05, 2019, 04:03:33 PM
That's a lot of water.  The JC round trip ride is a long one, 4x4 or not.  I can'r imagine you would need more than 5 liters to go from HW to BC; and if you are somehow running short on water when you get to JC, there's usually emergency water there.  There's also usually water in Fresno Creek and upper Juniper Spring.  Especially going counterclockwise.  Counterclockwise you're only going 11-12 miles before you get to your cache, with only one big up of about 800'.  If you were going clockwise, you'd go about 17 miles before your cache with a 2800' up on BC, before you got to JC.  I personally like going clockwise from HW, up BC, across the Rim, then down JC and west across Dodson.

Once you get to the top of JC, going down into BC and Colima is kinda not that interesting.  Far more interesting is going up onto the Rim, which arguably is the most spectacular place in the park.  Rather than go across Colima, might try and get a permit up on/near the Rim and budget to spend some time up there, you won't regret it.  Nothing to see on Colima, which is a nice quiet place to camp but no views, and only a mile or less long anyways.

Thanks to both of you. Making a few tweaks and I may not settle on a route until I get out there and see how I feel. I will have a few itineraries to hand off to the rangers. Looking forward to meeting some of y'all on the trail!
Title: Re: First Timer OML Solo Trip!
Post by: elhombre on November 06, 2019, 08:50:07 AM
Day 3: Up the JC trail towards BC trail and find someplace to setup camp for the night.

It sounds like you are going to be up in the Chisos.  Just wanted to let you know you will have to have a designated site already picked out.  All camping up there is by permit only.  The zone camping boundary where a person can camp anywhere is at the bottom of the hill below Upper Juniper Springs.

I'm with Steel.  You are carrying too much water.  It takes about 4+ hours to walk from Homer Wilson to Fresno creek where there will be water to filter.   Then another 4+ hours to Juniper/Dodson Bear boxes where your water is waiting. God willing, it will rain this Thurdsay, and Boot Spring will be running fine too. 

Give Prather's suggestion some thought.  Much easier driving to Homer Wilson on pavement for a simple water drop.
Title: Re: First Timer OML Solo Trip!
Post by: mule ears on November 06, 2019, 09:13:26 AM
Just a thought - if you are going all the way in to cache at the Homer Wilson/Dodson trailhead, why not start/end there?  It is a fairly long and slow trip.

I believe dprather meant starting at the Juniper canyon trailhead  instead of HW.  You will still have to cache water at HW though.
Title: Re: First Timer OML Solo Trip!
Post by: dprather on November 06, 2019, 10:09:27 AM
Just a thought - if you are going all the way in to cache at the Homer Wilson/Dodson trailhead, why not start/end there?  It is a fairly long and slow trip.

I believe dprather meant starting at the Juniper canyon trailhead  instead of HW.  You will still have to cache water at HW though.

Yesyesyes...I misspoke/misremembered/prealzheimered.

Starting at the JUNIPER CANYON/DODSON trailhead makes a lot of sense - imho.
Title: Re: First Timer OML Solo Trip!
Post by: elhombre on November 07, 2019, 08:26:00 AM
Looks like .3 inch of rain with this latest front.  So Boot should be fine.

Now it's looking like snow coming this Tuesday with the next front.   Nothing prettier than the desert and Chisos with snow!