Big Bend Conservancy
The beginning of March is the beginning of the extended, profane Spring Break desecration of our holy land. Universities schedule their spring breaks all over the March calendar, and from all over the calendar, and from all over the country, college kids flock to the Bend.
Quote from: dprather on February 11, 2018, 11:31:06 PMThe beginning of March is the beginning of the extended, profane Spring Break desecration of our holy land. Universities schedule their spring breaks all over the March calendar, and from all over the calendar, and from all over the country, college kids flock to the Bend.I always have been bewildered by the idea that people in college, who presumably are there to prepare for the real world of employment and life outside the academic bubble, continue to be pampered and accommodated by higher education institutions with middle-school recess.In the real world, there is no spring break. There is vacation time, which you earn by WORKING, and which generally you may take at your leisure, subject always to the sometimes non-negotiable demands of employers.Undoubtedly, it's a rude awakening for quite a few when their lives are upended by employers who could care less that they used to get a week off in late winter/early spring. Those unable to grasp the realities of the real world may find themselves on permanent break...without income.It's also puzzling why there is no equivalent "fall break" (thank goodness).
(I am pleased to report that my two sons worked their way through college).
Quote from: dprather on February 12, 2018, 08:07:47 PM(I am pleased to report that my two sons worked their way through college).As did my two.
Fortunately you will be arriving prior to the big crush. The week you will be there is spring break for many smaller colleges and mostly Eastern schools. The following week is when all the Texas schools and universities have there break and that is when all hell breaks loose. Here is the spring break calendar for those interested. The NPS will not give you accurate spring reports and will tell you to carry all your water. If there is water in Boot Canyon or Upper Juniper spring then you can spend a night in the Chisos, preferably the South Rim and those sites are easier to get at the end of an itinerary as most folks try and get them for their first night.
How does this impact you? The trail itself is not the problem (although the wilderness experience is profaned by the presence of way too many). One of the biggest problems is standing in line to get your backcountry permit - lines that normally take 15 minutes can take HOURS!!!!! A second problem is that the OML can be closed (it has happened to me) - that is, the rangers up and declare that no more permits for the OML will be written. If you do get your permits for your OML, your first-night camping problems are over. You can hike up or down the trail, no matter where you begin, and find a site. It might take upwards of 30 minutes, but you can find a legitimate trail-side spot to crash. There are designated camp sites (that you'd have to reserve) going up Pinnacles (none until the top of Laguna Meadows). If you begin at Homer Wilson, or at the Juniper Canyon/Dodson trailhead, you might not even have to hike ten minutes before you will find well-used camp sites that can be covered by your zone camping permit.
Once you've completed your OML (whichever route and direction you choose) you'll probably have time to drive to Study Butte or Terlingua and stay in one of the inexpensive motels there. Get a hot shower. Go eat at one of the good joints in town. Have a beer or a margarita.
Another question--Considering Marufa Vega as a backup option if I can't get an OML permit, but I see lots of warnings about it being hard to follow and poorly signed. What does that mean, practically speaking? Would someone with a good topo map and a bit of trail sense be generally okay?
QuoteAnother question--Considering Marufa Vega as a backup option if I can't get an OML permit, but I see lots of warnings about it being hard to follow and poorly signed. What does that mean, practically speaking? Would someone with a good topo map and a bit of trail sense be generally okay?It is not hard to follow or poorly signed, some folks get confused at the bottom of the south fork where it splits to either go to the river or north along the river to the north fork. Easy to follow and a great hike.
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