Friends of Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Conservancy

Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

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Offline happyhiker39

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Hi I'm new!
« on: January 09, 2007, 03:01:27 PM »
Hi all,

My name is Ginny and I recently learned of your board and joined so I can start the process of gathering information and learning all I can about Big Bend before I attempt a back country adventure.

Let me give a little background about myself.  I'll be 41 in March and have had a tremendous love of nature as far back as I can remember.  I've been hiking off and on since I was a kid but nothing as serious as Big Bend. In fact, I've never really hiked in Mountains or desert save a few small hills in California.

My most recent hiking experience has been gained within the last year in Texas Hill Country and I started out as a very unfit person.  I'm not in the best physical shape I can be in now, but am working on it. I can't imagine yet what it will be like to hike in BB but know that I need to physically and mentally prepare for the challenge. I'm trying to figure out a good training program to put myself on and will probably be asking tons of questions about what others do to get ready for such rugged wild country.  I'm also trying to gage whether or not I have time to be ready for a trip in March.

I will be frequenting your board in hopes to gain as much knowledge and understanding as I can of what lies ahead. I want to be as prepared and safe as I possibly can. I also hope to make a few new friends along the way! I look forward to getting to know this board and am anxious to learn all I can! Thanks for letting me join in on the fun. :)

HappyHiker39

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SHANEA

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Welcome Wagon...
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2007, 03:09:49 PM »
Greetings and Salutations and Welcome!  You will find the coffee hot and black and the company good here.  BTW - how did you find us?  If you have not already, be sure and check out http://www.virtualbigbend.com that our "Dear Leader" AKA Casa Grande AKA David Locke has setup.    Also, please consider helping out the financial aspects of the  board by clicking on some advertisement links that you will find across the top of the page.  Need some Big Bend T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc. then visit http://www.cafepress.com/virtualbigbend and purchase some wares.  By clicking and purchasing, you help keep this great chat board free of charge.  It costs Casa Grande quite a bit of $ to keep this board open and free.  Also, consider helping out Big Bend directly by getting a membership in the Friends of Big Bend and Big Bend lisc. plate.  Need books or maps, be sure and check out the BBNHA website and get a membership there too.

Again, welcome.

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Offline okiehiker

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You are already in shape...
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2007, 03:40:49 PM »
For a Big Bend trip.  Your pre-trip conditioning will just determine what kind of trip is best suited for you.  The park has short easy, accessible hikes and long remote difficult hikes.  It has facilities whether you are in a wheelchair, or are a world class mountaineer.  

The better shape you are in, the more options you will have.  But if you don't meet your conditioning goals, come anyway.  You will leave the park with incentive for next time, and a list of new places you want to go.  

Whatever your condition you will be a happier hiker in Big Bend!
Funny... I have a story about that...

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Offline randell

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Hi I'm new!
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2007, 03:55:53 PM »
For winter trips to Big Bend, a big part of my conditioning regimin is to drink beer.  I like to build an extra layer of insulation against the cold.  :)

Just kidding.  Welcome to our part of the world.  You're gonna love Big Bend!
There's nothing like a good quest to get you intimate with a place. - Tom Clynes

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Offline Bluetex

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Hi I'm new!
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2007, 03:58:39 PM »
Welcome happyhiker! You will find out pretty quick that if you have a question about Big Bend(or anything else for that matter) and you post it, you will get an answer....lots and lots of answers. Welcome!

Yes, you have enough time to be ready for a hike in March. Start out with buying a comfortable pair of hiking shoes/boots. Then pick a trail around the area and get to walking :D  Start out short and slow a few times a week and increase the distance and times per week as you feel comfortable. Then, as you get closer to the trip date try walking with your backpack. And remember there are all sorts of trails out in Big Bend, no matter how "in shape" you are you can still enjoy the park!
" In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
                                              Abraham Lincoln

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Offline kellis1231

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Hi I'm new!
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2007, 06:15:49 PM »
Welcome,

I can definitely relate to your situation/experience.  I am 50+ woman and just started hiking about 5 years ago.  I grew up in Texas and lived most of my life in Houston and Dallas -- and thought the trip from the parking lot to the front door of the mall was all the hiking I'd ever do.  But, then in the middle of my life, I met a man that had hiked all of his life.  I moved to Georgetown and we have been having one wonderful hiking adventure after another.  The best advise I can offer is to go to REI and spend the money for a really good pair of hiking boots.  I bought a pair of Montrails for about $125 - 5 years ago and they are the absolute best.   Montrail is a really good brand for a woman's foot as is Vasque.  I highly recommend high top with good ankle support.  When you are hiking in BB -- whether it be the desert floor or the high country in the Chisos, you really need good ankle support.  As far as getting in shape, my husband and I usually start with some 3, 5, 7, and 9 mile hikes around Lake Georgetown  for a month of so before we leave for BB.  Another great piece of equipment to consider is a camel-back hiking pack -- that is a back pack that has a refilable bladder for water, with a tube you can just place in your mouth and drink.  It sure beats trying to cache in water or carry bottles with you.  And if you are planning to wear a back pack, go ahead and do you local hikes with your pack on.  That way you will become accustomed to the weight and feel.....plus you will have opportunities to pack it in the way that feels the best for you.  I must tell you my first experience with BB was incredible.  Driving into the basin absolutely took my breath away and I re-experience that feeling each time we arrive there.  A fairly easy hike and in my humble opinion, the best bang for your time, is Lost Mine Trail.  Even if you only go to the first saddle, you will be rewarded with some of the best views in the park.  I have started slow.......hiking the usual suspects; Lost Mine Trail, Laguana Meadows, Window, Pine Canyon, Boquillios, Santa Elena, Burro Mesa Pouroff, etc.......and will probably try Emory or Casa Grande on my next trip.  Don't think you can see/do everything on your first trip.  BB is like an onion......you peel off another layer everytime you visit.  There is always something new and wonderful to see.  Best of luck.
" ...tolerance of intolerance is cowardice"

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Offline kellis1231

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Hi I'm new!
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2007, 06:16:59 PM »
If I can answer anymore questions, please feel free to email me.
" ...tolerance of intolerance is cowardice"

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Offline MarkB

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Hi I'm new!
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2007, 06:19:48 PM »
Welcome happyhiker to the Big Bend chat! Be sure to read as many posts as possible to gain a wide variety of knowledge of the Bend and area. You may also want to consider joining (at no cost) the MSN group Big Bend Photos located here: http://groups.msn.com/bigbendphotos

Many members of this chat board are also members of the MSN group and regularly post photos there. More than 750 photos of the Bend and area have been posted on the site to date and all are welcome to join and post up to their hotmail or net passport limit.

Thanks.
--Mark

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Offline Mark D

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Hi I'm new!
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2007, 09:29:35 PM »
Hi, I've only been to Big Bend twice in my life and I love it, but there are many others here who can tell you better than I where to hike, what to see, etc.

The following is my opinion, not necessarily fact. It's not clear from your post if you plan to backpack or day hike. In any event, the less weight you're carrying the more you will enjoy it. There's no drinking water along any of the trails, so you have to carry water. Carry more than you think you'll need. Water is very heavy, so you want everything else you carry or wear to be lightweight. As a novice you will probably feel compelled to carry stuff with you for every contingency. That is fine. But if you end up with a heavy pack start out with a hike of only 2 or 3 or 4 miles. Certainly don't plan a 10-miler for your first time. With experience you'll find you don't need or want all that gear or you'll find lighter stuff that does the same job. Many an aspiring backpacker has been permanently discouraged on their first outing.

I also highly recommend using trekking poles. Itís hard to believe, but they actually do take a lot of load and stress off your knees. Itís very easy to screw up your knees while carrying a backpack, especially on the downhills. You can get a very functional pair at Walmart (I hate shopping there) for around $25. Thereís a proper technique to using them. You can PM me for further info.

Good luck, have fun and wear a hat. Drink your water, donít save it for later. If itís too hot, donít hikeóenjoy the park from your air-conditioned car.

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Offline Goldilocks

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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2007, 09:41:43 PM »
Welcome! Glad you found us.  :D

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Offline presidio

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Hi I'm new!
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2007, 10:44:41 PM »
Quote from: "randell"
For winter trips to Big Bend, a big part of my conditioning regimin is to drink beer.  I like to build an extra layer of insulation against the cold.  :)


So, you must have the new Nordic Gut exercise machine? :D

Unlike their other products, this one is designed to actually encourage use on a regular basis.

By swapping out the gasket magnets you can vary the conditioning forces needed to open the door from a light touch to planting both feet on the wall and pulling. The fingertip exercise will eventually build you up to flipping standard bottle caps off without bleeding all over the place. :D  

As in all endeavors, the harder you work, the more gain you achieve.

Oh, how I wish I could draw cartoons.  :cry:
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<  presidio  >
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline happyhiker39

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Hi I'm new!
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2007, 11:56:59 PM »
Thanks everyone for all the great replies and suggestions. I'll add a little more information to address some of the questions for me.  My hiking buds and I are hoping to do a multi day backpacking excursion involving the South Rim...I don't have the map in front of me to tell you what route yet we are thinking about.  

I've been backpacking several times but haven't done multi day trips yet, just overnighters.  In fact this past weekend my partners and I hiked the South side of Lake Georgetown on an 11 mile through hike. It was mostly flat terrain, and very rocky with a couple of good hills to get completely winded on.

My pack weighed close to the 35lb mark for that trip, but on average I carry about 30 pounds for the overnighters. I had to have a lot of extra warm clothing this last time, thus the added weight. Wow what a difference five pounds makes out on the trails. Of course I'm wondering how much my pack will weigh once it's packed for a multi day trip. I expect it will be considerably more since I don't have all the latest and greatest in ultralight gear.

Oh and to the poster who recommended brand names for the boots, thanks. I'll certainly look into that.  I've totally worn out my shoes and knew I'd be needing a new pair soon. I've put a lot of miles on them this past year and the tread is practically bald now.  I was wondering what brands would be good to look into and now I know! Thanks :)

Oh someone else asked me how I found this board.  One of my hiking partners came across it when he was doing some internet research on BB. I don't know if he joined yet or not.  And as far as helping out to support the board via purchasing merchandise and clicking on banner ads, etc...I have no problem at all doing that. :)

Thanks again all. I have a feeling I'll be doing TONS of reading into the wee hours of the night...there is an overwhelming amount of information here which is all so fascinating I can hardly peel myself away.

HappyHiker39

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Offline presidio

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Hi I'm new!
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2007, 12:03:42 AM »
Quote from: "happyhiker39"
Wow what a difference five pounds makes out on the trails. Of course I'm wondering how much my pack will weigh once it's packed for a multi day trip. I expect it will be considerably more since I don't have all the latest and greatest in ultralight gear.


Then you need to go here:

http://www.bigbendchat.com/viewtopic.php?p=25729#25729

to learn all about the pack that nearly carries itself  :shock:  :D  :lol:
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<  presidio  >
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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chisos_muse

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Hi I'm new!
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2007, 09:02:55 AM »
Hi Ginny, Welcome. :D

Your age is just a #. It's really about how good you feel. My suggestion is to research and get an idea about the different aspects of the park. You did well in coming here. Also, for all of the specifics and most up to date info, the official park website would be in order: www.nps.gov/bibe
Walking is really good to get you warmed up. You don't have to be super fit to enjoy hiking. Take your time, look around. Stop frequently. It's not a race... :wink:
Also, you need to take the altitude adjustment into consideration. Many people who are in good shape are surprised how easily winded they become if not allowing enough time to adjust. I would suggest spending the night in the Basin to acclamate before hiking to the rim.
Get some good equipment, go for walks, and do your homework. You'll have a great time! :D

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Offline Bobcat

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Hi I'm new!
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2007, 09:27:11 AM »
Welcome hh39.  My advice is to get into good condition irrespective of what you'll be doing in the Park.
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