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Outer Mountain Loop Trip Report (February 15-19)

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Offline Scout1320

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Outer Mountain Loop Trip Report (February 15-19)
« on: February 22, 2017, 12:55:12 PM »
What better Valentines trip than to go hike the OML as a couple!?  It was the first go for the both of us.  My husband and I did this hike, just us.  He grew up in Boy Scouts and spend many nights of his youth camping.  I, on the other hand, did not.  Before this we did one night backpacking in the Chisos Mountains last year and that is it for me, except for many camping nights at regular campsites.  We have camped at both Chisos Basin and Cottonwood campsites many times.  But as far as actual backpacking this was only my second overnight trip.  Anyhow... 

So we leave home/San Antonio area pretty early on the 15th and head west.  We get to Big Bend, get our permits and drive out to Homer Wilson and cache 3 gallons of water.  Better have too much than not enough.  We had initially reserved a spot at the Chisos basin campgrounds the night of the 15th and had planned on getting an early start on the OML on the 16th morning.  It was about 4pm and we decided to just go ahead and get a backcountry permit for TM-1 and get started on the OML.  We left the basin, and started the journey in the traditional/clockwise fashion.  We hiked approx. 3.4 miles up the Pinnacles to TM-1.  I decided to try to carry the heavier pack, just to see if I could and knowing that Pinnacles is challenging.  The "heavy" pack was 44# and the other pack (which really was my pack, poor hubby got to wear a purple backpack!  :icon_lol:) was about 35#.  We each had one 6L dromedary bag filled with water and each had a coleman aluminum canteen filled with water (not sure on the volume of those, maybe 24oz each?).  I did tackle the pinnacles with the heavy pack!  I am a smaller person so I was kinda proud! 

That first night (night of the 15th) was the coldest night.  I am thankful I invested in nice sleeping bags, rated for 20* I think.  They were warm and cozy.  It got so cold I pulled my beanie hat over my face to sleep!  LOL 

The next day we got started about 8:30am. It was cold.  I had running pants but I put on pajama pants over them.  It did warm up quick.  We hiked down Juniper Canyon.  It was beautiful.  We stopped for lunch at the parking lot at Juniper Canyon where it meets the Dodson.  Feet were hurting and legs were sore but it was good!  I had a goal of 15 miles for that day.  We hit it right on and camped past the Fresno Creek (which was flowing nice!) and before Smokey Creek Trail.  It was a great day for the hike, absolutely gorgeous!   We got to camp (which was NOT 100 meters off the trail like they recommended, it was more like immediately adjacent to the trail) and set up camp.  My poor husband had leg cramps.  Both legs at the same time.  Me, being the mean wife I am, took a picture of him in distress and laughed.  A lot.  (We jack with each other a lot, so it is in good spirits, I helped him rub the cramps out). 

We heated up water for our delicious (not) Mountain House dinner and I was thankful for the warmth of that meal.  We went to bed at dark and both slept super soundly.  Those Thermarest Lite bed rolls are the bomb.  No joke, those things are awesome.  Next morning we got up and made it to Homer Wilson Ranch House about lunchtime.  Jeff was getting a blister so I left him at the house and ran up and got our cached water.  A park volunteer who we had encountered with his wife a couple times was there.  Steve Eherman I believe was his name.  Super duper nice guy.  He was down checking on things at Homer Wilson Ranch House and offered to take our trash and now we had empty gallon bottles he took as well.  That was super helpful and for that I am grateful!  We had a whole gallon (of the 3) extra so the volunteer was going to put it in the bear box in case someone else didn't have enough.  We filled our dromedary bags and canteens with the other two gallons.  We rested here for a good 45 min then gave Blue Creek trail a go. 

Lord have mercy; Blue Creek!  That was some shifty gravel/stream bed.  It was do-able but it was slow going.  It took us right at 4 hours to do that 5.5 miles.  We had to break frequently.  We had a spot reserved at BL-2 and made it there pretty early.  We had kicked around the idea of trying to push through to the basin since it was only 3:30 or 4 but then we didn't have a room booked at the lodge until the following night and since it was a holiday weekend, it was unlikely we would get a room and didn't really want to drive to Terlingua for a room so we stayed at BL-2.  We got good sleep and the stars were gorgeous from what I could see.  That campsite is under a lot of trees, so there was an obstructed view of the stars, but it was nice nevertheless. 

The 18th morning we left camp about 8:30am.  We had a gorgeous and thankfully mostly downhill hike back into the basin.  We got to the basin about 10:30 am and killed a little time and went to the restaurant by 11am.  We ate/devoured some chips and salsa and a hot, juicy burger that I had been fantasizing about for a few days now. 

It is something about protein bars for days I suppose but my poor Jeff...  (we laugh about this, so I promise it is ok I post this!!)  Our room wasn't going to be ready until 4pm so we had time to kill.  He went in the restroom right by the store and he tore. it. up.  He said he could hear the guy in the stall next to him holding his breath, then taking a big breath then holding it again and hurrying!  Then someone walked in and says "Wow!"  He tells me this as he is walking out of the restroom.  I am walking with him and laughing so hard I can hardly walk then he tells me to quit laughing because the guy he gassed out in the bathroom was right behind us!!  Gotta have fun in life and find humor in things!  At least I do!

Anyhow, overall it was great and we both would do it again.  Sore legs but there is no place like Big Bend.  It was well worth it.

« Last Edit: February 22, 2017, 02:57:42 PM by RichardM »


Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Outer Mountain Loop Trip Report (February 15-19)
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2017, 01:27:10 PM »
I'm still laughing so hard I can barely type. What a marriage. You tell Jeff he is the luckiest man alive.

Great trip report. You guys killed it. And possibly a few tourists in the Basin bathroom, too.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."


Offline mule ears

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Re: Outer Mountain Loop Trip Report (February 15-19)
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2017, 03:53:09 PM »
Scout 1320    :welcome:  to the board!  Great first post and I expect more in the future because it sounds like you two are regulars now.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water



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