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OML Hike Feb 5-7

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Offline jmac56

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OML Hike Feb 5-7
« on: February 11, 2017, 04:17:59 PM »
For anyone thinking of doing the OML thought I would share my recent hike details....

Saturday, Feb 4.
Got to the park around 3:00 and got our permits, stashed water at Wilson Ranch and checked into the lodge for one night.

Sunday, Feb 5:
Left the lodge area at sunrise (~7:30) hiking the Pinnacles trail. Left with three days food (4 lbs) and 2L of water (4.4 lbs). Total pack weight was 24.5 lbs. Got to Boot Spring around 10:00 and gathered 3L of water. Left Boot Spring with 3L or water. Got to the East end of the Dodson (where Juniper Springs Trail meets the Dodson) around 2:00 PM. Hike about a mile upon the Dodson and set up camp.

Monday, Feb 6:
Up and hiking around sunrise headed to Fresno Creek.  Got to Fresno around 9:30 and gathered water. Had a hot meal a long break. Left Fresno with 2.5L of water. Arrived at Wilson Ranch about 1:00 PM. Picked up our water stash and hiked up the Blue Creek Trail 1/2 mile or so and camped.

Tuesday, Feb 7:
Up and hiking at sunrise. Favorite part of the loop - Blue Creek Trail is very nice - saw a bear near the top of the trail. Back at the Lodge around 11:30 AM and lunch and a beer,

 - This time of year there is pretty reliable water at Boot Spring and Fresno
 - There was supposedly water at Juniper but did not confirm this
 - Total distance was 30-32 miles. Could be done it in two days but three is more fun.
 - If I were to do it again I would start at either end of the Dodson and include the South
   Rim (skipping the lodge area).
- Hiking the Dodson East-to-West is preferred because the sun is at your back rather than your face.
- Never carried more than 3L of water (6.6 lbs) and felt this was reasonable.
- Stashing water at Wilson Ranch (West end of Dodson) is easy and recommended. The East end is a
  lot tougher to get to. If it was drier it would be necessary (but tough with a Honda Fit!).
- The Dodson is harder than the profile suggests - lots of ups and downs but really enjoyed it.
- Averaged 2-2.5 mph hiking pace (I am an average hiker).
- Weather was mild - highs in the mid-70's, lows in the high 40's. But you want to be off the Dodson
  the afternoon because it is hotter than the temperature indicates.

All in all a nice three day hike. We saw only two other hikers I three days (except right near the Chisos Basin lodge area).  Water is a concern but stashing helps and there was water out there. Would definitely not recommend doing this when it is really hot - especially the Dodson.

Good luck and have fun out there!


Offline dprather

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Re: OML Hike Feb 5-7
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2017, 04:58:26 PM »
If I were to do it again I would start at either end of the Dodson and include the South
   Rim (skipping the lodge area).

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


Offline House Made of Dawn

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  • Backpacking since '78, Big Bend since '95.
Re: OML Hike Feb 5-7
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2017, 05:30:35 PM »
Sounds like you had an outstanding and well-managed trip. Great weather, plenty of water, and zero crowds: can't ask for much more than that. Well done!

I'll add another +1 on skipping the Basin. I prefer starting at Homer Wilson and hiking up Blue Creek to the Chisos. Strong hikers can reach the shade of the upper forested slopes before the sun becomes a problem. I often like to take an extra day up in the Chisos to enjoy the mountain environment (rim, Emory, Boot Canyon, etc.). Like you, I find I can pull enough water from Boot Canyon (and/or Upper Juniper Spring) to get me to Fresno Creek. Making camp near Fresno usually allows me to avoid hiking during the hottest part of the afternoon while I'm on the Dodson. I also often like to take an extra day there to explore up or down the Fresno drainage. My last day takes me back to Homer Wilson. No water caches necessary.

Glad you had a good trip. Thanks for the detailed update on water and trail conditions. Always appreciated.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."



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