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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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OML Starting Saturday

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Offline AccidentChild

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OML Starting Saturday
« on: March 10, 2016, 04:20:56 PM »
Hi all.  My two boys (ages 9 and 12) and I planning on starting the OML clockwise on Saturday and finishing on Tuesday.  I'm a fairly experienced backpacker but have never been to Big Bend.  I was hoping on only caching water at Homer Wilson and relying on Boot Springs, Upper Juniper Spring and/or Fresno Creek.  I'd rather not do the drive to Juniper to cache, although I do have a truck.  Has it been raining lately?  I've been trying to follow the weather.  Can anyone share a water report?  The most recent ones I see on the site are a month or so old.  Also, is the Fresno drainage difficult to spot or are either springs difficult to fine?  Thank you.

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Offline mule ears

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Re: OML Starting Saturday
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2016, 04:39:25 PM »
Well you are lucky in that it looks like it did rain about .5" in the Basin the last two days.  That means there will be better water in the pools in Boot canyon above the spring but their still probably won't be any water running from the pipe near the cabin.  There was a report of water in Fresno 2/25 but it always runs really.  There should be enough folks doing the OML over spring break that you can get first hand reports on the trail, even maybe at the permit office for Fresno and Upper Juniper.  No need to cache at Juniper.

Fresno is a fairly obvious wash with a campsite/cleared spot.

And yes please follow up with a water report.  I can't say strongly enough how important they are and it is the least folks can do to repay this site with a bit of current information.   :pissed:
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Online dprather

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Re: OML Starting Saturday
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2016, 04:54:45 PM »
I'll be eager to hear about you trip with younger sons.  Do they carry their weight?

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

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Offline Geezer

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Re: OML Starting Saturday
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2016, 10:47:02 PM »
Water at Fresno Spring is located in the Fresno Creek valley, which is labeled as such on most maps. It's practically certain there will be water at Fresno Spring. The crux is making sure you can find it. Fresno Creek is the first big drainage west of the Dodson Drainage, where there is a metal sign marking the Dodson Ranch ruins. On the first big hill west of Fresno Creek, there's a metal sign marking the Elephant Tusk Trail. Some people miss Fresno Spring because they expect it to be running across the trail, which it sometimes does but not always, and neglect to walk south until they find where water has pooled.

You say you've never been to BB. Do you have any experience hiking in the desert? If not, I would be a bit nervous about taking 9 and 12 year-olds on what is a very strenuous hike where temperatures could easily be in the nineties. Take a look at this recent OML trip report: http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/big-bend-national-park-outer-mountain-loop/my-recent-outer-mountain-loop-experience/

Best wishes,

Geezer



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Offline AccidentChild

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Re: OML Starting Saturday
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2016, 11:06:23 PM »
Thank y'all for all of the info.  I will post a water report when we get back.  The boys have been on shorter trips.  This will by far be their longest.  I've not hiked in the desert and am a little nervous, but not worried.  I respect the wilderness and do not take unnecessary risks while in it.  I read that guy's report.  We won't even have 60 lbs between the three of us.  I can't imagine carrying that much weight..

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Offline TheWildWestGuy

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Re: OML Starting Saturday
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2016, 06:16:05 AM »
Be sure to stop and look in the Juniper Canyon Bear Box for water labeled "Free".  The cutoff trail to Upper Juniper Springs has a metal sign saying "No Camping Here", it's right about the tree line.  Please take out any empty water bottles or trash that you find in the Homer Wilson Bear Box when you cache there.   If you decide to bail out early you can hitchhike from Homer Wilson back to the Basin or maybe find someone at Juniper Canyon willing to give you and your boys a ride back.  There will be lots and lots of people in the park and on the trails.   Have fun, your a great dad to be doing this with your sons!    TWWG

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Offline elhombre

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Re: OML Starting Saturday
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2016, 08:55:06 AM »
I 'm going to be that guy.  I would strongly advise you rethink taking your young boys on this hike.  You admit you haven't backpacked in the desert before.  It is going to be warm this spring break.  You really should carry at least a gallon in reserve for you and the kids just in case someone blows a leg out and you have to wait for help.  I guarantee you that there will be college kids on the trail that don't make the loop this spring break, and have to bail.   I am going to guess it will be the most difficult thing those kids have done to date.

Can you read a topo?  It is required if you are going to find the Fresno creek water.  Upper Juniper takes some work.  It is up the hill 20 yards to the right of the concrete watering trough.  It is below a big rock, and the water "hole" is about the size of a pizza pan. A side trail takes you to the trough, but no trail up the hill to the spring.

The safest way to do it is to make big drops at the Juniper trail head and Homer Wilson.  You can leave food in Juniper trail head bear box.  This would save you a bunch of weight along with the water weight that you would drag up Pinnicles and then down the canyon.  Your best hope would be to spent the first night up in the Chisos, but I bet most all the sites will be taken for Saturday night.  Maybe you get Lucky.  Many people walk all day and finish the trail in 3 nights.  I would plan on 4 nights with kids.

I see you read that guys trip report from last week.  There are many like him who don't make it.  The weight was not his one problem.  The number one problem is the trail itself.    "I'm a fairly experienced backpacker but have never been to Big Bend."  (We really need a sub forum of stories of people who don't make it or barely survived the OML.    :eusa_whistle: )

« Last Edit: March 11, 2016, 09:06:15 AM by elhombre »
First Russian Collusion, then Obstruction, then illegal payment to Stormy Daniels, then tax returns subpoenaed. Now no formal vote on impeachment for a 30 min. phone call to Ukraine

No crime. No evidence, just more secret investigations

Drain the Swamp.  America will survive.  God Bless America

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Offline ambersdad

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Re: OML Starting Saturday
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2016, 10:13:09 AM »
Food for thought from my limited time at Big Bend.  I've been twice and both trips were 10 days long.  I'm a cautious person and do a lot of research before taking action.   I spent weeks on this forum before each trip.  The 1st trip was just to familiarize myself with the park.  Spent almost everyday doing day hikes in different areas and driving a lot.  I spent one night on the rim and that was the only time with a backpack on and I've backpacked most of my life.  I took the red letter warning across the top of each page here seriously. 

My second trip a buddy and I overnighted Marufa Vega.  It was hot, probably too hot, but we knew that going in.  We had both been to the Bend before and knew what to expect, and weren't really surprised.  It was well worth the effort.  We had thought about OML, neither of us have done it, but crossed it off because he only had 3 more days in the park and we wanted to do some hikes with his wife that weren't overly taxing on her.  OML was going to still be there when we returned.

I'm going again around the 18th of April for the bird migration.  Meeting my mentor there for a few days and then he leaves and I have about 5 days to do things on my own.   It would take a really freak cold front to tempt me to try the OML. But I don't plan on trying it then.  Probably spend a few days in the Chisos chasing birds and then other areas of the park.  Will probably do a couple zone overnighters, semi easy in and outers if things don't fly the way I hope.  The OML will still be there when conditions are better. Gonna save it for a Nov trip with a backpack buddy. 

I've been on a couple backpack trips with 1st timers or those that have limited experience.  Both trips were under good conditions and were great learning experiences for them.  Everything I've read leads me to believe the OML is not a trip for people in that category.  But that is my opinion and I only share that as food for thought.   ;)

I wish you well and hope you have a great trip regardless of what you do.  Once the Bend gets in your blood, it won't let go.     
Having decent gear is nice, but wildlife photography is knowing your subject and getting lucky, and I love getting lucky.
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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: OML Starting Saturday
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2016, 09:01:31 AM »
My bro in law and I took my nephew when he was only 8.  It wasn't easy for him, but he did just fine. Then again there were 4 adults and him.  He did it again at 11.   He's 16 now and has hiked more around the Bend than many 60 year olds.  I think it depends on the kid.


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