Big Bend Chat

Big Bend National Park Q&A => General Questions and Answers => Topic started by: haldodd on October 01, 2006, 07:59:04 AM

Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: haldodd on October 01, 2006, 07:59:04 AM
OK, I try to search as much as possible before asking such a rookie question but with less than a week to go before I depart for my first trip to BB I have a couple of questions.

My father is going with me so we will be staying in the Basin campground and taking the jeep during the day to carious trail heads and such.

1. Is it safe to leave your tent and non valuables at the Basin while on day trips?

2.  I cant find much info on bear boxes either, do they lock?  Do I need a lock?  How big are they?

Im trying to keep from breaking camp completely.  

Thanks in advance for your assistance.
Title: Re: Safety in the Basin
Post by: presidio on October 01, 2006, 10:08:10 AM
Quote from: "haldodd"
1. Is it safe to leave your tent and non valuables at the Basin while on day trips?


Yes. It's as safe as any other developed campground in the park. Most people are honest; however, don't leave anything that is unique or attractive to a thief (i.e., an iPod on the picnic table probably won't be there when you get back). Normal camping gear is going to be fine. I've never had an issue anywhere in the park, even backcountry campsites...those I do exercise additional caution near the river, which is more prone to theft issues. Be aware the javelinas like to root into tents if there's any hint of food (thus the bear boxes are for more than bears) and in areas like RGV they will tear into a tent even without food because they've learned that's where it used to be. Best advice is to collapse your tent and weight it down so it doesn't blow away. You don't have to unstake it, just make it so the critters can't get in it.

Quote
2.  I cant find much info on bear boxes either, do they lock?  Do I need a lock?  How big are they?


Somebody else will have to answer this. I've never used a bear box and I haven't camped in the basin in a great many years.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: Undertaker on October 01, 2006, 10:15:17 AM
Security!!!! In all the years I have been coming and camping in BB, I have never had anything removed from my camps, I do not leave high end stuff in camp except for my tents, bedrolls, cooking gear, place all cooking and food stuff in bear boxs, bear box does not require a lock, you can open with your hand by reaching under the little covers and trip the locks, humans can open them with ease, critters can't.

Like anyplace in the world, I guess, you can be ripped off. Again I have never had it happen. With the border closing you may want to be more aware as you near the border of the park with Mexico, check with rangers, they are full of information.

Because the park is so far off the beaten path, it is the least visited park in the nation, this helps, fewer people less crime. Most folks visiting are good decent folks and backpackers as a group are pretty independent and honest group of folks. Have fun be safe.  

Enjoy the park, it is my favoriate and with all the recent rains it is as green as I have ever seen it.  Enjoy your visit and If you have any more questions, this chat room with get almost any question answered.  
 8)

PS: Even day hiking make sure you have water and some supplies with you.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: jeffblaylock on October 01, 2006, 10:22:52 AM
Bear boxes are only meant to keep bears out. They latch closed and are about the size of a large nightstand. There's no place to put a lock. It is possible to place a cooler within the box and still have space for other items (unless you're carrying one of those really big coolers).

I've never had a problem with something being stolen out of the Basin campground. But, as with all valuables you carry, it's best to carry them with you or keep them out of sight in a locked vehicle, just like you would anywhere else.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: Picacho on October 01, 2006, 02:15:27 PM
According to park rangers, there have been incidents of theivery (vehicle break-ins) at remote trailheads near the Mexican border such as the Dominguez Trailhead.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: JeffB on October 01, 2006, 03:39:10 PM
I agree with above posts.

I think the biggest dangers to your unattended stuff in the basin will be javelina and rain.  Make sure all food is in the bear box to keep the javelina out.  Put your rainfly on the tent before you depart even if there is only slight chance of rain.

I made the mistake of leaving off my rainfly once.   It didn't look like rain when we departedat 11 AM.  I returned about 8PM to a soaked tent and sleeping bag.  Fortunately there is a coin-operated dryer at the basin lodge.
Title: Bear Box
Post by: SHANEA on October 01, 2006, 08:25:39 PM
(http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c222/kz5bw5/BEARBOX.jpg)
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: 01ACRViper on October 02, 2006, 01:15:52 AM
i've never had a problem in the basin..

the people that camp aren't the types of people to steal, so i wouldn't be too stressed over it
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: haldodd on October 02, 2006, 05:45:36 AM
I cant thank you enough for posting back.  That is a big relief to me mainly because my Dad keeps saying we cant leave our tents for the day.

Thanks for the info on the size of the ice chest too.  I was taking a coffin sized rig but will shift down to a regular sized chest and a chest to take with us everywhere.

Man, I am so excited I can hardly sleep.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: Medic on October 02, 2006, 08:14:13 AM
haldodd, remember to take pictures of our roads at 8 AM and 5 PM. Stick 'em on your dash and it'll give you something to look at when you're motionless on I-20.   :)

One of the many reasons I left the Metromess and moved out here.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: haldodd on October 02, 2006, 12:39:19 PM
Believe me, I will take your advice.  I am a rep for a company that gives me flexible hours so its not too bad.  I grew up outside of Stephenville and all I ever wanted to do was to move to this mess.

I'll be driving in Friday arolund noon.  I thought we would set camp and then his the Nail Ranch and a few places on the west side of the Chisos.

Any good hikes you would suggest to start off in that area?
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: Undertaker on October 02, 2006, 12:58:51 PM
Nail Ranch is good, several others, If your first trip check with rangers when you check in, they are always full of good current information, actually BIBE Webmaster (http://www.bigbendchat.com/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=75) on this chat room is a ranger in park. Don't forget to drive to Terlingua and have cold one on porch. :lol:
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: jeffblaylock on October 02, 2006, 02:13:19 PM
Quote
Any good hikes you would suggest to start off in that area?


One of my favorites is the Chimneys. The trailhead is on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. Trail is about 4.5 miles roundtrip and is fairly level. You can see the Chimneys from the road. There are petroglyphs in the south formation. Evidence of campsites and rock shelters surrounds the formations.

Some photos:

(http://www.jeffblaylock.com/window/photos/0192.jpg)

(http://www.jeffblaylock.com/window/photos/0638.jpg)

One of my all-time best nights in Big Bend was watching the full moon rise over the Chisos from there:

(http://www.jeffblaylock.com/window/photos/0109.jpg)

Tuff Canyon is also a nice little stroll, but it is currently closed due to bee activity:

(http://www.jeffblaylock.com/window/photos/0271.jpg)
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: RichardM on October 02, 2006, 02:56:40 PM
Quote from: "jeffblaylock"
Quote
Any good hikes you would suggest to start off in that area?

One of my favorites is the Chimneys. The trailhead is on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. Trail is about 4.5 miles roundtrip and is fairly level. You can see the Chimneys from the road. There are petroglyphs in the south formation. Evidence of campsites and rock shelters surrounds the formations.
...
Tuff Canyon is also a nice little stroll, but it is currently closed due to bee activity

Would these be the bees?  I assume it's only the trail down into the canyon that's closed?
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v520/rgm/BigBend2005/tuff3.jpg)

Be advised that the Chimneys hike can get pretty warm.  Wear appropriate clothes including a broad-brimmed hat and stay hydrated and it's no problem.

Ask the Rangers when you get there how to get Cattail Falls for another great hike.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: haldodd on October 02, 2006, 06:49:19 PM
Undertaker, Terlingua will be on Saturday, hahaha.  I need more time.

Nail Ranch sounds good. I dont have my map here or I would spout out my other ideas.  

Heres another stupid question I cant find.  Ice?  Is getting ice an issue?  I dont want to take my 150 quart now that I posted these questions.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: Al on October 02, 2006, 07:24:23 PM
Ice is always an issue!  Use a combination of block and "cubed" ice.  You can get ice at Rio Grande Village, the Basin or the filling station at Panther Junction so it shouldn't be a problem.

Al
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: RichardM on October 02, 2006, 09:23:56 PM
Quote from: "haldodd"
Heres another stupid question I cant find.  Ice?  Is getting ice an issue?  I dont want to take my 150 quart now that I posted these questions.

There is ice available at the Basin store.  Probably also available at Panther Junction and Rio Grande Village.  Of course, you'll pay a bit more for it in the park.
Title: BLOCK
Post by: SHANEA on October 02, 2006, 10:47:41 PM
Quote from: "Al"
Ice is always an issue!  Use a combination of block and "cubed" ice.  You can get ice at Rio Grande Village, the Basin or the filling station at Panther Junction so it shouldn't be a problem.
Al


The only place I've found out that way with block ice is the store at the mall in Study Butte.   Blocked and cubed ice are much cheaper there.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: JeffB on October 02, 2006, 10:49:56 PM
Quote from: "haldodd"

I'll be driving in Friday arolund noon.  I thought we would set camp and then his the Nail Ranch and a few places on the west side of the Chisos.

Any good hikes you would suggest to start off in that area?


Looks like you'll be getting to the park after dark.  

My first trip to BBNP we arrived after dark too.  When I woke up in the morning and stepped out of my tent and looked around the basin, that is a moment I'll never forget.   To see the Chisos for the first time, lit by the rising sun, that's when I knew I loved this place.  A drive down Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive at dawn is beyond words.  

Watch for Mama Bear and her two cubs that are hanging around the basin area.  There have been many sightings the last couple months.  Best chance of sighting is dawn and dusk.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: Undertaker on October 03, 2006, 09:12:15 AM
Ice is not a problem, it's available in park at basin, Boquillos camp n also Terlingua, you don't need to eat for weeks but beer warm is NOT GOOD. :shock:  As you may have guessed fuel is high in BB a little lower in Study Butte, Terlingua. I think there is a post in this forum on fuel.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: Lemming_of_the_BDA on October 03, 2006, 11:49:32 AM
Quote from: "Undertaker"
Ice is not a problem, it's available in park at basin, Boquillos camp n also Terlingua, you don't need to eat for weeks but beer warm is NOT GOOD. :shock:  As you may have guessed fuel is high in BB a little lower in Study Butte, Terlingua. I think there is a post in this forum on fuel.


Yup.  Right here. (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/index.php?topic=1974.0)
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: presidio on October 03, 2006, 03:01:59 PM
Lemming_of_the_BDA

June 20 to Sept 24.....no presence....where ya been?
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: Undertaker on October 03, 2006, 03:30:08 PM
haldodd, whatever you do shoot photos and post on this board. You will get a ton of information from these guys and old post. Tell your dad to relax and enjoy, noticed the post on bears and bear box should have answered most of questions, use bear box, don't wipe hands on pants don't leave any pack or gear with candy, food as even the small critters will find away to enter same.. Skunks also bad in basin, good common sense works.  If you look like food you will be eaten!!!!! :shock:

Remain at the top of the food chain by locking all food and smells of same away, toothpast, and shaving supplies should go in box also.

Drink a cold one, or two or three for me, post photo on Terlingua porch having a cold one or two or three remembeing you have to drive back to basin, drive safe enjoy :lol:  :lol:  8)
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: haldodd on October 03, 2006, 03:57:54 PM
Im sure we will drink several cold ones not to mention a whiskey and coke.  Like father like son you could say.

Thanks for the advice.  My Dad went when he was in his early twenties and said the place was infested with skunks but I dont hear much about them.  Mostly javalina and bears it seems.

My jeep is a rag top, I better get it cleaned out good.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: WL2 on October 03, 2006, 04:44:55 PM
I have had problems with javelina in the past.  In Rio Grande Village they have gotten especially troublesome and aggressive.  So I was wondering is it OK to put up a small portable electric fence around your tent / cooking area?  Does anyone know the nps rules on this?
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: haldodd on October 03, 2006, 04:51:42 PM
I dont know the rules but I bet they would "squeal like a pig" and every one of them would have to learn their lesson.  I doubt they would allow this.

Good thinking though.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: RichardM on October 03, 2006, 04:53:46 PM
Quote from: "WL2"
I have had problems with javelina in the past.  In Rio Grande Village they have gotten especially troublesome and aggressive.  So I was wondering is it OK to put up a small portable electric fence around your tent / cooking area?  Does anyone know the nps rules on this?

I have no idea what the rules are, but here's a heavy duty one:
http://www.udap.com/bearshock.htm
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: haldodd on October 03, 2006, 06:22:10 PM
Hey JeffB, I will actually be driving to Brownwood Thursday night to pick up my father.  We will leave erarly the next morning which should put us there by 2.

Looks like several of you will be there this weekend.  I hope to meet a few of you.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: Undertaker on October 03, 2006, 06:29:48 PM
Slept on ground, under stars more than once in Boquillios never had problem, but then again I am not a cooler, which the J's have learned have food and will attack and destroy. Use common sense secure all food and food like items in a manner that does not allow critters. If you camp smart you should be OK. Again ask rangers get good current information. 8)

Electric Fence??? Read about bear fence, in recent Backpacker Mag, it appears to work.  Just another 2 or 3 pounds to carry, which if I had my way would be in form of water  :lol:  :lol:  and a good mixer 8)
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: WL2 on October 03, 2006, 06:47:36 PM
In the backcountry areas I do not think critters are such a problem.  Not that many people for them to get used to the snacks.  However, in the developed campgrounds they can be a real pain.  I would not carry the extra weight in my pack, but while car camping.....
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: Al on October 03, 2006, 07:48:08 PM
It's not a problem in the backcountry.  It is a problem in RGV and the Basin because of the density of campers and "food".  A good reason to only stay there as necessary to get permits for a primitive campsite.  WL2 have you considered staying at Candellilla?  It's the first campsite down Ore Rd, you don't have to do the killer hill and is convenient to the highway and all parts in eastern BIBE.

Al
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: bdann on October 03, 2006, 07:51:46 PM
Quote from: "WL2"
I have had problems with javelina in the past.  In Rio Grande Village they have gotten especially troublesome and aggressive.  So I was wondering is it OK to put up a small portable electric fence around your tent / cooking area?  Does anyone know the nps rules on this?


My brothers and I had run in with the javenlina at RGV once...
I didn't realize it before then, but they bark.  A group of them ran us right out of our campsite.  We're sitting there at the picnic table and here they come, literally charged into our site.  I tried to shoo them off, but they would not back down, they were very aggressive.  A ranger came by a short time later to warn us to just get out of the way if they came around.  

Right after we jumped up from the table:
(http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j131/bdann/P1000073.jpg)

and I took this one as we were rapidly backing AWAY...
(http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j131/bdann/P1000074.jpg)
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: Casa Grande on October 03, 2006, 08:00:13 PM
man, I swear, that looks like a scene out of a bad 70's horror flick  :shock:

(http://www.nostalgia.com/large/13332.JPG)
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: Al on October 03, 2006, 08:04:35 PM
Thinking late 50's or early '60's here . . .  Attack of the killer Shrews (insert Collared Peccary)

Al
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: homerboy2u on October 03, 2006, 08:35:21 PM
Not one of them would have been alive , if i were there.....Beer can Javelina, anyone :?:
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: Al on October 03, 2006, 08:39:32 PM
Can't really do that in a National Park. You'd end up in the Alpine grey bar hotel. Nice thought though!  Bet that problem would go away . . .

Al
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: Undertaker on October 03, 2006, 08:41:07 PM
Great photos, RGV J's have learned to hit the supplies and do get agressive, a similar group pushed a full 120 quart cooler aroung until they broke it and were able to eat well. In RGV they present the most problems. Again camp smart, in HEB you are at the head of the food chain, in wild you are part of it.. Send photos. 8)
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: Undertaker on October 03, 2006, 08:46:51 PM
Homerboy2u2, between the goat and beer can J's, I need to go camping and have dinner with you. Ok you feed the goat let him clean up, eat goat, got that from previous post. How do you get the beer can where it needs to be without getting killed? :shock:  :shock:

Let me guess, feed goat let goat clearn up, cook and eat goat, drink tequila, drink more tequila, have one more tequila, find drunk friend with half a beer and tell him how to cook beer in the rear J's, while taking video, photos etc.
 :lol:  8)
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: presidio on October 03, 2006, 10:00:14 PM
Quote from: "RichardM"
I have no idea what the rules are, but here's a heavy duty one:http://www.udap.com/bearshock.htm


I can't imagine anyone actually carrying all that junk on a backpacking trip. A .454 Casull is smaller. lighter and a lot more effective.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: presidio on October 03, 2006, 10:01:55 PM
Quote from: "David Locke"
man, I swear, that looks like a scene out of a bad 70's horror flick  :shock:
(http://www.nostalgia.com/large/13332.JPG)


That looks just like the Basin Campground !!! :shock:  :shock:
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: homerboy2u on October 04, 2006, 08:37:19 AM
Quote from: "Undertaker"
Homerboy2u2, between the goat and beer can J's, I need to go camping and have dinner with you. Ok you feed the goat let him clean up, eat goat, got that from previous post. How do you get the beer can where it needs to be without getting killed? :shock:  :shock:

Let me guess, feed goat let goat clearn up, cook and eat goat, drink tequila, drink more tequila, have one more tequila, find drunk friend with half a beer and tell him how to cook beer in the rear J's, while taking video, photos etc.
 :lol:  8)


 Watch and learn....watch...an d...learn.  Will invite you to the next trip over here. Be pending.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: tjavery on October 04, 2006, 09:42:31 AM
Well, I wouldn't get too complacent in the backcountry. I left a tied-up bag of trash in the bed of my truck while I was on a short hike into ET. When I returned to my truck, this is what I found  :D

(http://texbrick.com/photo/bb_apr_06/report/bb_rpt_20.jpg)
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: haldodd on October 04, 2006, 10:17:23 AM
Any idea what got in your truck?

Didnt Rambo eat a pig that looked just like a J in First Blood?
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: Undertaker on October 04, 2006, 11:47:44 AM
Haldodd, you may be able to get BB map at REI or local store in Arlington, if not when you arrive at BB and register at PJ pick up one then. 8)
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: haldodd on October 04, 2006, 03:31:44 PM
I have a great map.  I have all the coords loaded in my GPS.  I have all my food and gear ready to go.  I just wish I could sleep before I go.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: Undertaker on October 04, 2006, 06:02:31 PM
Haldodd, may be to late but a post somewhere in this chat room had a ton of GPS locations in and around park. In either case have fun.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: haldodd on October 04, 2006, 06:22:59 PM
If anyone knows the location of that post I could sure use it. I'll post if I find it.
Title: tents and pigs
Post by: dave2 on October 05, 2006, 08:36:12 AM
Considering the damage these hog-like creatures can do, I recommend that you leave you tent flat on the ground at these campsites so the "shrews" don't rip them open.
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: RichardM on October 05, 2006, 09:25:18 AM
Quote from: "haldodd"
If anyone knows the location of that post I could sure use it. I'll post if I find it.

There are probably a few more topics with lots of GPS points, but I think the primary discussions were here (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/index.php?topic=208.0) and here (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/index.php?topic=65.0).
Title: Safety in the Basin
Post by: haldodd on October 05, 2006, 07:41:51 PM
Gracias, I am 2 hours closer and 800 feet higher than I was last time I posted.  We are headed out in the morning from Brownwood.

Seriously, if you are in the basin or anywhere and you see my white jeep with a tan top say hey.

Thanks for all your help prior to this trip.  I am sure it will make a big difference.