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Next time suggestions

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Offline Hang10er

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Next time suggestions
« on: August 08, 2017, 04:13:44 PM »
I plan to be back in Big Bend National in October.  To help pass the time, Iím putting together an itinerary for my trip and would like some suggestions.

Iíll start with what Iíve already done.  My son and I climbed Pinnacles one time and he went on to top Emory Peak.  We've done Lost Mine Trail, had lunch at Boquilas, took great pictures under the rock at Grapevine Hills.  Iíve seen Indian Head area, the Chimneys and Santa Elena Canyon.  Iíve also had lunch on the South Rim (taking Laguna Meadows up and back) and seen the new dinosaur exhibit.  Iíve eaten in the lodge, dinner at the Star Light and drank beers on the porch. 

My tentative plans for this trip are as follows. Please help fill in the holes.

Full day 1 Ė Head up to see the South Rim again (once was not enough) this time making a loop up Laguna Ė Boot Canyon- Pinnacles. I want to see the "pipe" and the cabin.   Dinner at the Lodge.

Full Day 2 Ė The west side of the park.  Open for suggestions.  One of the pour offs? Being west Iíll probably go shower and then visit La Kiva for the first time. 

I only have the 2 full days.  Not sure how early Iíll get to arrive but Iíll hopefully have a few hours that evening and a few short hours the morning I leave. 
Feel free to offer any suggestions but here are some of the things Iíd like to try and hit.  To get a small taste of ďoff the beatení trailĒ Iím thinking that on the morning I have to leave I might just pull over on the side of the road and walk out in the desert, no target destination, no trail, just see whatís there.  Any suggestions on an area good for that?  Iím thinking one of the washes or ridgelines.  Maybe walk a mile or two. 


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Online Slimkitty

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Next time suggestions
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2017, 04:26:22 PM »
It's on the east side of the park, but perhaps you should look into Randell's Overlook. 


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« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 09:05:16 PM by Slimkitty »

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Offline DesertRatShorty

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Re: Next time suggestions
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2017, 06:44:49 PM »
Feel free to offer any suggestions but here are some of the things Iíd like to try and hit.  To get a small taste of ďoff the beatení trailĒ Iím thinking that on the morning I have to leave I might just pull over on the side of the road and walk out in the desert, no target destination, no trail, just see whatís there.  Any suggestions on an area good for that?  Iím thinking one of the washes or ridgelines.  Maybe walk a mile or two.

From the Mule Ears parking lot, you could hike east on the Mule Ears trail to Trap Spring, then take the wash south. Eventually it hooks up with a side wash that takes you back to the parking lot. Maybe 3-4 miles total. I have not hiked that specific route but the washes in the Mule Ears area are spectacular, and from Google Earth it looks like very easy walking.
I roamed and rambled, and I foller'ed my footsteps
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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Next time suggestions
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2017, 06:53:24 PM »
Feel free to offer any suggestions but here are some of the things Iíd like to try and hit.  To get a small taste of ďoff the beatení trailĒ Iím thinking that on the morning I have to leave I might just pull over on the side of the road and walk out in the desert, no target destination, no trail, just see whatís there.  Any suggestions on an area good for that?  Iím thinking one of the washes or ridgelines.  Maybe walk a mile or two.

From the Mule Ears parking lot, you could hike east on the Mule Ears trail to Trap Spring, then take the wash south. Eventually it hooks up with a side wash that takes you back to the parking lot. Maybe 3-4 miles total. I have not hiked that specific route but the washes in the Mule Ears area are spectacular, and from Google Earth it looks like very easy walking.

I'll second the Mule Ears suggestion. Even if you only hike to Trap Spring (or even better, Mule Ears Spring) and return via the trail, the views are spectacular and you really feel like you've gone some place remote and special.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Hang10er

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Re: Next time suggestions
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2017, 08:23:52 PM »
Mule Ears - Trap Spring - south on a wash to a side wash and back! That sounds interesting for my day 2.  Kind of not on the trail but not anything "cross park".  Maybe do that early and then Burro Mesa pour off, stop by Sam Nail's and then have enough time for a shower/dinner/drink in Terlingua?

SlimKitty - I'll research Randall's Overlook.  Other than crossing into Mexico, I haven't done much on the east side.

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Offline rocketman

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Re: Next time suggestions
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2017, 08:56:27 PM »
Mariscal Mine is definitely worth seeing, but it's pretty much in the middle of nowhere and you'll spend an hour driving out there.
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Offline Jalco

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Re: Next time suggestions
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2017, 09:39:19 PM »
Lots of short hikes off Ross Maxwell.  You could drive down Ross Maxwell, take in Mule Ears as others have suggested, maybe hit Santa Elena canyon (stop for ice cream at Castolon first, though) and drive to Terlingua via Old Maverick Road.

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Offline Quatro

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Re: Next time suggestions
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2017, 10:07:26 PM »
I like the Upper Burro Mesa trail off Ross Maxwell highway.  I'm thinking there is a good chance of some shade, but it's been a few years.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro - HST

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Offline presidio

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Re: Next time suggestions
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2017, 02:12:42 AM »
To get a small taste of ďoff the beatení trailĒ Iím thinking that on the morning I have to leave I might just pull over on the side of the road and walk out in the desert, no target destination, no trail, just see whatís there.  Any suggestions on an area good for that?  Iím thinking one of the washes or ridgelines.  Maybe walk a mile or two.

That is exactly what you should do. Pick an area on a topo and head to some obvious feature you see. Water sources are excellent places to hike to, but so are other things that attract your attention on the map.

Once you start doing this sort of exploring, you'll be disinclined to mingle with the masses on the "approved" trails and you will enormously expand your opportunities for discovery and solitude far from the madding crowd.

Post your adventures but refrain from identifying your actual destinations. Too many folks want to be told what to do, and too few want to make the effort to do original exploration.
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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 Hang10er

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Re: Next time suggestions
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2017, 08:44:53 AM »
To get a small taste of ďoff the beatení trailĒ Iím thinking that on the morning I have to leave I might just pull over on the side of the road and walk out in the desert, no target destination, no trail, just see whatís there.  Any suggestions on an area good for that?  Iím thinking one of the washes or ridgelines.  Maybe walk a mile or two.



Once you start doing this sort of exploring, you'll be disinclined to mingle with the masses on the "approved" trails and you will enormously expand your opportunities for discovery and solitude far from the madding crowd.


That is exactly what I want to do.  While I won't discount the marked trails (they lead to some awesome sites) I want to try a bit of off trail stuff. I'm not ready to jump into a cross park adventure although I read those accounts with great jealousy.  Not even sure I'm ready for an overnight backpack yet.  But to get out and do as you said, pick a landmark and go to it.  Or do follow a trail and then some washes to make a loop like others said.  That's my start.

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Offline Hang10er

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Re: Next time suggestions
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2017, 08:46:49 AM »
Lots of short hikes off Ross Maxwell.  You could drive down Ross Maxwell, take in Mule Ears as others have suggested, maybe hit Santa Elena canyon (stop for ice cream at Castolon first, though) and drive to Terlingua via Old Maverick Road.

I did Santa Elena last trip, but I've wondered what there is to see if I followed the creek up aways.  Terlingua via Old Maverick road??  Standard truck with no 4x4, is that usually sufficient?

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Online Slimkitty

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Next time suggestions
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2017, 09:01:29 AM »
"But to get out and do as you said, pick a landmark and go to it.  Or do follow a trail and then some washes to make a loop like others said.  That's my start."

Randell's overlook...I highly recommend it.  You hike a few miles of Marufo Vega, then head off trail for about a mile and a half till you reach the canyon edge overlooking the Rio Grande.  It is spectacular.




Sent from the future.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 03:44:00 PM by Slimkitty »

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Offline presidio

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Re: Next time suggestions
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2017, 10:01:13 AM »
Terlingua via Old Maverick road??  Standard truck with no 4x4, is that usually sufficient?

The Old Maverick Road is a well-maintained gravel route. Only a weather event of the most extraordinary nature would make even a sedan have trouble.
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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 elhombre

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Re: Next time suggestions
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2017, 10:02:25 AM »
I personally would not send someone out to Randell's overlook on their first off trail hike.  Great hike, just doesn't seem like the best choice.

Coming down from Mule ears spring to Trap has a neat downclimb feature if you are into that kind of thing.

A short hike is out to the Castolon cemetery.
 
I would also suggest walking west around Terlingua Abajo and continue along the creek drainage to Bruja Canyon.  Easy to follow with landmarks all over to keep you on track.  Also, plenty to see and discover on your way out there.

Take a good topo map and look at it often.  Big Bend is an excellent place to get comfortable with using a topo because the land features are so prominent and easily identifiable on the topo.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 02:40:49 PM by elhombre »
The older I get, the more I realize what freedom really means.  May God bless America

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Offline presidio

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Re: Next time suggestions
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2017, 11:21:49 AM »
I personally would not send someone out to Randell's overlook on their first off trail hike.  Great hike, just doesn't seem like the best choice.

Yes, good advice.

If someone's total hiking experience has been on manicured/maintained/signed trails in national and state parks it would be wise to ease into the off-trail game.

Going off-trail, particularly in much of any desert, is not all that hard to do as the ground is open, landmarks are visible and one can avoid hazards with a modicum of common sense.

However, just because it looks easy does not mean trouble does not await the inexperienced. That's where the common sense requirement comes into play and, unfortunately, more than a few of the typical NPS clientele completely lack that sort of judgment.

See here for what happened when self-described "experienced" folks got a teenie bit out of their comfort zone and then stumbled deeply into trouble because there was no prominent trail for them to follow. They turned a literal stroll into a life-or-death survival situation without even trying. If you've never looked at this post be sure to follow the external links to the news stories.

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/big-bend-ranch-state-park-qa/bbrsp-rescue/

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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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