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OML trip report 2/24-26

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Offline Cope

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OML trip report 2/24-26
« on: February 28, 2017, 08:05:52 AM »
I just got back from my first OML trip.  Whoa daddy, that was tough!  I've been to BIBE several times but hadn't done the OML before.  Thanks to all the people who have contributed to this site to provide so much information that it really makes the planning and preparation much easier. 

I had a Basin campsite reservation for my arrival date 2/23 and my walk-out day 2/26.  Didn't have any problems getting solo permits at PJ.   I cached two gallons of water at the Homer Wilson boxes.  I did the "regular" route starting in the Basin and up the Pinnacles to Boot Canyon.  The spring was flowing and I topped off water and read for awhile.  Continued on to Juniper Canyon trail and took the long hike down stopping at the Upper Juniper Spring along the way.  It was flowing and I topped off water again and just relaxed in the shade listening to the water dripping and run downhill out of the pools.

I got to the Juniper Canyon trailhead and there was one vehicle there.  I stopped and sat in the shade of bear box for awhile and drank.  I continued west along the Dodson for about a mile, mile and half until the trail appeared to branch off into a couple different routes with no cairns.  I picked one and guessed wrong.  However, the map I had (thanks CalTopo) showed the trail basically dropping into a draw and continuing along the drainage.  I could see I was at said drainage so I just walked down into and continued "downstream" and picked up footprints in no time.  I found a nice sheltered spot down the draw to camp with smooth, level ground.  That made for good sleep.

Day 2, I took off down the Dodson.  There were a few pools of water along the way in the morning but I held off until Fresno which was flowing nicely and I topped off water there.  The day didn't really get hot until about 12:30 when it seemed like the breeze just stopped.  I got to Homer Wilson around 1:40 and took an hour break in the shade, refilling water and relaxing.  I took off up the Blue Creek trail about 2:45 and it was slow-going.  Uphill sandy gravel, the breeze had stopped and the sun was full up... ugh.  I made my way hiking from shady spot to shady spot, which basically consisted of hiding at the base of various red rock spires.  The north side of those stay surprisingly cool and it felt great to  sit back on them for a little while.  I made it through that section and found a campsite around 5:00?

Day 3 I continued up the Blue Creek trail about 7:30am.  I must have been just at the base of where the forested part of the trail starts because it was a beautiful hike all morning up the trail.  The trail is uphill but never very steep and not too many loose rocks.  I made it up to the junction with Laguna Meadows about 9:30.  I found a nice rock to sit at and took a break for awhile before walking down to the Basin around noon.

I was exhausted and my calves were toast but I had a great time and I treated myself to a dinner at the Lodge before heading back the next morning.  Thanks again to the BBCers that helped make this trip possible!

Cope

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Offline andrwtzel

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Re: OML trip report 2/24-26
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2017, 09:11:28 AM »
Itís seems that the difficulty of the Blue Creek portion is often overlooked. Something about just finishing the Dodson, refilling your water, and then having the sandy trek across Blue Creek topped off with the climb into the Chisos is just brutal. Even more so when that sun is beating down on the route up. I can relate to playing the climb from shade spot to shade spot game.

Congrats on finishing the OML, itís definitely one you can hang your hat on.

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Online House Made of Dawn

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Re: OML trip report 2/24-26
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2017, 09:25:33 AM »
Itís seems that the difficulty of the Blue Creek portion is often overlooked. Something about just finishing the Dodson, refilling your water, and then having the sandy trek across Blue Creek topped off with the climb into the Chisos is just brutal. Even more so when that sun is beating down on the route up. I can relate to playing the climb from shade spot to shade spot game.

Congrats on finishing the OML, itís definitely one you can hang your hat on.

Agreed. I've done the OML several times, and I still dislike the Blue Creek section. It's easier if done counterclockwise (downhill), but it's still hot and the footbed is still tricky.

Nice report, Cope. You really covered some ground those first two days. Especially considering you took the time to thoroughly enjoy your breaks (something which I definitely endorse  :icon_biggrin:).  Clearly, you are a strong hiker.  Screaming calves notwithstanding, sounds like you had a great trip.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Scout1320

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Re: OML trip report 2/24-26
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2017, 09:34:46 AM »
We did the OML the middle of this month.  The Blue Creek was the biggest butt whooper of the whole hike.  That shifty gravel with the increase in elevation; ugh!  It wasn't easy and required frequent breaks.  Glad you made it!  Calves certainly were toast, but we are planning to do it again next February! :)

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Offline mule ears

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Re: OML trip report 2/24-26
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2017, 09:37:33 AM »
Definitely why I prefer doing the OML counter-clockwise, Blue Creek is a bear going up.

Nice job Cope, thanks for the report, happy to hear that the water sources are all still good.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline dprather

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Re: OML trip report 2/24-26
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2017, 11:12:15 AM »
Congratulations!  The OML is no walk in the park.  I agree that that long Blue Creek slog is tough going.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline Glaros

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Re: OML trip report 2/24-26
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2017, 05:38:47 PM »
Sounds great. Thanks for the descriptive and interesting log.


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