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OML Trip Report, December 12-15, 2017.

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Offline dprather

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OML Trip Report, December 12-15, 2017.
« on: December 17, 2017, 03:17:05 PM »
This is a trip report about an abbreviated OML undertaken Tuesday-Friday, December 12-15, 2017.  My backpacking buddy, CarlOTH and I began at the Dodson/Juniper Canyon trailhead, went traditionally clockwise, but remained in the High Chisos instead of going down Laguna Meadows into the Basin and then up again by way of Pinnacles. 

Monday (12/11) – we began late from Buna, Texas, traveled the I10 route all the way to Ft. Stockton, and arrived past 11:00 PM in the Basin.

Tuesday (12/12) – we permitted at the Basin ranger station, cached some water at Homer Wilson, hustled over to the Dodson/JC trailhead, and did not get on the trail until just past 2:00 PM.  It was in our slow-motion drive up Juniper Canyon Road that we encountered FLASH.  We arrived at Fresno Canyon by about 5:30 and camped there for the night.

Wednesday (12/13) – we began this day by watering up in the Fresno pools just south of the Dodson Trail.  Water was gurgling into the pools which were large enough to submerge a large water bottle.  I am sold on the speed and simplicity of the Sawyer Mini.  Fresno water tastes great.

This day took us up and down the tough end of the Dodson.  Arriving at Homer Wilson, we gathered our cache, which included GATORAID Fruit Punch.  We stayed the night not too far up Blue Creek from Homer Wilson.

Thursday (12/14) – this was our most eventful day.  A third member of our party woke up to “had enough” and to the tempting siren song of the road at Homer Wilson Overlook.  Packing him up and seeing him off on his own to hitchhike to the Basin and to more comfortable lodging took us a while, so we got another late start.

I think the trudge up Blue Creek is the most draining and daunting of any OML stretch.  After the draining wash-bottom gravels, you earn the right to hump the daunting Blue Creek Wall.  This time was different.  Right after I emerged out of the wash, I saw a 40-something solo backpacker coming my way.  HORNS93 had already encountered CarlOTH who was some 30-minutes ahead of me.  HORNS93 knew I would be on the trail and was looking for me.  Meeting CarlOTH first, Carl told HORNS93 that he would soon come upon me.  Our meeting (we had never met face-to-face before) was most pleasant, like a strong caffeine shot, and had the effect of pushing me all the way up the Wall.   

This was also our toughest day, starting low down Blue Creek, climbing the Wall, and climbing up to Colima Pass before descending down to Colima I for the night.  Very light and intermittent rain started as dusk fell. 

Friday (12/14) – intermittent rain fell through much of the night until the deep morning hours when an odd hush fell.  This was a very cold night up in the High Chisos, and we awakened to a dusting of snow that was consistently all over everywhere, making a real-live winter wonderland.  Waking and emerging from our bags was tough in the biting cold, but it is funny how snow turns 62 year-olds into 12 year-olds.  Our fingers were numb, but breaking camp was all whooping, hollering fun.  Also fun was dumping water load and hydrating almost all the way down the JC switchbacks on snow, and from ice left over from the previous snow.

The cold and clouds conspired to make the morning beautifully foggy/hazy.  The sun filtered through the haze and flooded from the east into Juniper Canyon.  Topping the last “up” out of Boot and beginning the “down” into Juniper, we were met with a sight of dazzling beauty.  The filtered sunlight somehow enhanced the earth tones of Juniper Canyon, bathing the entire canyon floor in golden bronze.   

Reaching the Juniper Grotto, we had to get out of the layers that had been necessary earlier, but that had become a sweaty hinderance. 

For our first time, we noticed how lush JC is in the area around Juniper Spring.

Reaching the JC/Dodson trailhead, we were met by HORNS93.  He had started at the same place, but had gone counterclockwise.  Meeting him the previous day in Blue Creek, he knew about when we would arrive, and met us with picture-taking and pleasant conversation.

Thus ended our 5th or 6th OML.  I am pleased to have learned that we passed another annual OML stress test. 
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Water report: Fresno was running well; HORNS93 reported that the pipe at Boot was also running well.

Equipment report: GU’s sucking energy potions taste all in the world like Barium shakes to me, and I can’t quite force them down.  But GU has another product with similar nutritional benefits.  The GU Energy Stropwafel in Caramel Coffee tastes great (well, it tastes ok), has a pleasing crunchy texture, and also contains enough caffeine to keep my caffeine-addicted headache at bay.  Highly recommended.  I got mine at Academy.  One at about 8:30 AM; another at about 12:30 PM.
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I have to say something about my awesome 2017, my best year of backpacking ever, at age 62. 

In February, I did the Rancherias Loop in BBRSP.  In April, I did the Trail Between the Lakes in Deep East Texas.  In June, I did the Ponca Wilderness in North Arkansas.  In October, I did the Eagle Rock Loop in Southwest Arkansas.  In December, I completed another glorious OML.

I am deeply grateful for the blessing of these opportunities, for the blessings of all the trail amigos with whom I shared these adventures, and for the blessing of health that allows me to take them on and to enjoy them so much.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2017, 04:30:57 PM by dprather »
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline mule ears

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Re: OML Trip Report, December 12-15, 2017.
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2017, 04:56:18 PM »
What a great way to end a supperb year of hiking!  It rained lightly on us at Dominguez spring while it was snowing on you but I was worried that it would change.

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Big Bend Chat mobile app

temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
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http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline Hang10er

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Re: OML Trip Report, December 12-15, 2017.
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2017, 06:46:11 PM »
DPrather, congrats! What an impressive year!  I, too, hope to someday meet you out on the trail.  When we do, I'll also post about running into a friend I've never met face to face.

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Offline dprather

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Re: OML Trip Report, December 12-15, 2017.
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2017, 07:10:31 PM »
DPrather, congrats! What an impressive year!  I, too, hope to someday meet you out on the trail.  When we do, I'll also post about running into a friend I've never met face to face.

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

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Offline iCe

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Re: OML Trip Report, December 12-15, 2017.
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2017, 07:50:57 PM »
 :eusa_clap: Bravo! Congrats on yet another OML

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Offline nuggetf5

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Re: OML Trip Report, December 12-15, 2017.
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2017, 08:19:32 PM »
What a great report and experience. Really enjoyed reading this even though a bit delayed in seeing it. Keep up the great hiking.
Mandolin Cafe
Since 1995

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Offline PacingTheCage

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Re: OML Trip Report, December 12-15, 2017.
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2017, 11:44:41 AM »
Congrats!  Great story and glad for the reunions you had!

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: OML Trip Report, December 12-15, 2017.
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2017, 01:30:57 PM »
As good as it gets. A trip well worth the time and effort. The triumph of victory, the tragedy of defeat. And friends, old and new, and some just met. BTW - CarlOTH? Do I sense gallows humor? Carl Over The HIll, perhaps?
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline dprather

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Re: OML Trip Report, December 12-15, 2017.
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2017, 02:53:27 PM »
CarlOTH is, in fact, Carl Over The Hill.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: OML Trip Report, December 12-15, 2017.
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2017, 03:43:20 PM »
CarlOTH is, in fact, Carl Over The Hill.

 :icon_lol: THAT, is my kind of guy!  :great:
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

 


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