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Scariest Moment In Big Bend?

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Offline SA Bill

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Scariest Moment In Big Bend?
« on: June 10, 2006, 10:06:48 PM »
Big Bend is such a serene (mostly) place and I haven't actually had too many scary moments during my many trips. There was a hail storm one trip but it wasn't too bad. I've had a few punctures from the sticky flora but they weren't scary as much as an inconvenience. Had a tire flattened by some thorns when I pulled off to the side of the road to take a picture. Again, an inconveience, not really scary. Even in my climbs and scrambles throughout the park I've always stayed way on the safe side because I know that having an accident or fall out in the boonies could be really serious. That tends to make me very cautious, especially since I'm usually out there alone.

Anyway, I was thinking in the shower (best place to do that!! :D ) tonight as I washed off the smokey smell from grilling steaks outside (great center cut sirloins...yummy! :wink: ) and I thought that other than encountering one of the large cats or a bear, what is the most likely bad thing to happen to someone in Big Bend? Like I said, nothing too scarry has happened to me but maybe I'm just careful...or my time is coming.  8-[

Soooo...what is the scariest thing to ever happen to everyone else while in BB??  
  Curious,
     Bill
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Offline presidio

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Scariest Moment In Big Bend?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2006, 12:59:25 AM »
Some years ago we were on the Rio Grande just below the Terlingua Creek confluence, late in the afternoon. Our party included several pre-teens. One young girl was persistent in her desire to swim in the creek. We all discouraged her since the river was murky, as always.

She was not dissuaded and, living on a farm, was not in the least concerned about the water's appearance. Her mother reluctantly let her swim; it was oppressivly hot that day. Other than muddy, the water was low and slow moving.  Shallow enough that she could stand up with the water coming only to her knees. She was admonished to stay next to the shore, which she did.

Shortly after she entered the water I heard a change in the background noise and looked back toward Terlingua Creek to see a low wall of water rushing down. As anyone who spends time in deserts knows, flash floods can arise without any local manifestation of rain. There was no visible shower activity, but obviously it had rained far up the drainage.

Literally, in the couple of seconds it took to turn and yell "flash flood, get out" the water rose to the girl's waist. She knew she had to get out and tried to move to the shore. The water began pulling her away from the bank. Her mother was the closest and immediately jumped in and grabbed the girl. It took two others of us to wade in, grab the mother and pull both out.

It was a very close call. Had only a few more seconds elapsed we all had no doubt they would have been swept away. The girl was clearly very frightened by the experience. The mother was more angry at herself for letting the girl go in the water.

Once everyone was safe we watched the flood for quite some time. It gnawed away at the bank and quite a few cubic yards of the shore were eroded. More than a few trees went with it, though since they were tamarisks there was no great loss in this.

It was a very powerful example of what flash floods can do. It is amazing to me that many, perhaps most, desert travelers have never seen a flash flood. These rarely are the huge walls of water seen in movies, but only 6" of rushing water is enough to knock you down or make it impossible to move against the flow; a fact lost on the folks who drown each year trying to drive across flooded drainages with much deeper water.

The girl has made many more trips to Big Bend over the years, but she has never again wanted to swim in the Rio.

It was also a powerful example of knowing what do to and taking action without delay. There wasn't time for planning or evaluation, only time to do.
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Offline 01ACRViper

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Scariest Moment In Big Bend?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2006, 02:22:41 AM »
wow, that beats my story  :shock:

my story only involves a severly sprained ankle, coming off lost mine peak. i'me too tired to type it all out now, so i'll give the cliff notes.i sprained my ankle very badly nearly 3/4 of the way up the peak, which is at least 5 milrs from the lost mine trailhead. luckilly for me, it only hurt to turn it a certain direction, so i could walk normally. it still hurts to this day, and i still believe i tore something. i'll never know though :/ i WAS happy i was with a group of ~10 people, so i could have been helped off, though without me trail blazing it would have taken a while  :oops:

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Offline Bobcat

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Scariest Moment In Big Bend?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2006, 07:07:28 AM »
I don't remember ever being scared in BBNP, probably because I did a lot of research before the 94 trip. Being attacked by a coachwhip was more of a surprise than anything else.  I was worried about  the increasing size of hail once. And, I was very mad recently at the lack of civility of a certain person : X
Location Location Location

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chisos_muse

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Scariest Moment In Big Bend?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2006, 10:02:46 AM »
Quote from: "01ACRViper"
wow, that beats my story  :shock:

my story only involves a severly sprained ankle, coming off lost mine peak. i'me too tired to type it all out now, so i'll give the cliff notes.i sprained my ankle very badly nearly 3/4 of the way up the peak, which is at least 5 milrs from the lost mine trailhead. luckilly for me, it only hurt to turn it a certain direction, so i could walk normally. it still hurts to this day, and i still believe i tore something. i'll never know though :/ i WAS happy i was with a group of ~10 people, so i could have been helped off, though without me trail blazing it would have taken a while  :oops:



Dude, what about the time you and your friend ran out of water coming off of Vernon Bailey, I believe? Hell that scared me just READING that story! :shock:

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Offline SA Bill

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Scariest Moment In Big Bend?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2006, 01:04:16 PM »
Wow! I didn't even consider the flash flood issue. Something to think about next time I'm back in some canyon in the nether reaches of the park.

Muse's mention of running out of water reminded me of a day hike to the south rim. Three of us set out fairly early with what we thought would be plenty of water. Of course it turned out that we should have had double the water we took. We weren't really in any danger but by the time we got back to the Basin, we were all showing signs of dehydration. Lots of water perked us right up but we were dragging the next day...might have been from the 13 mile (is that about right?) hike too.
   Bill
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SHANEA

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SCARED SHTLESS @ BGWMA
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2006, 02:02:18 PM »
ONLY time I've been truly scared in the Big Bend region is during our first, but not last, visit to BGWMA - Black Gap Wildlife Management Area.  

There was a large group of us Adventure Teamers there - tight knit group of friends who have been camping, canoeing, hiking - together for the better part of 20 years.  We decided we'd check out BGWMA as we, at that time, found the rules of BBNP too confining, ie. no camp fires.  There were probably about eight of us and we setup camp at #7 just off the main interior park dirt road.  To set the stage for this, this was back in the mid 90's.  We had seen quite a few of the Border Patrol agents all over the place in West Texas - very noticable presence.  In fact, there were two vehicles parked at the mailboxes when you turn off of 385 onto 2627 to head down past Stillwell to BGWMA and La Linda.  Anyway, to continue with the story, we were setup at camp#7.  It was during the winter with warm days and cool/cold evenings.  I remember this because of the amount of firewood we hauled in - probably 1/2 cord.  We had gone as a group touring around the area and checking it out and there were several border patrol vehicles patrolling the interior portion of BGWMA - we'd pass them on the road.  There was a "mountain/hill" that we decided we wanted to climb and we parked the vehicles and took off hiking - no trail, just cross country.

As we were nearing the peak of the unnamed mountain, we looked back at our vehicles and two border patrol vehicles had stopped there and the officers were looking in the vehicles to see what was in there.   One was a Chevy Suburban and the other was a big red Dodge pickup with a huge camper shell on the back - (pefect for transporting bales of "hay" and those desiring a better life in the states).  Anyway, we watched them from a distance and they finally drove off.

After we finished our climb and returned to our vehicles, TPWD biologist "Tom" was driving over the ridge and stopped to chat with us.  We asked him what he was doing and he indicated that he was out GPSing the roads and trails of BGWMA.  To this day, we still fondly refer to him as GPS Tom and when we are out doing nothing or scouting around, we are "GPSing".  Tom asked where we were camped at and told him we were @ #7.  He indicated that was not an official campsite for that time of the year and that we needed to move as they might do a controlled burn in that area.  He suggested that we go camp down by the river at one of the fish camps.

So, we went back to #7 and broke camp, loaded 1/2 cord of wood into the vehicles.  This was pre R2D2 camper days, and we carried just as much camping essentials then as now, plus the added inconvenience of having to break down large tents.  Off we went to the fish camps, no small short haul either.  We setup camp at one of the fish camps over looking the mighy Rio Grande (the fish camps have "shelters" of cinder blocks with tin roofs) and proceeded to unload all of the fire wood again.

We set about having a few drinks and cooking hamburgers.  I'd gone off to get something and when I came back everyone was very concerned as they had heard something down on the river that sounded like a boat scraping against the shore as it was "docking".  This was well after dark.  We sat  there for a few minutes and someone heard it again.  We went to DEFCON CONDITION ONE, Home Security Level RED, and locked and loaded and pumped.  We spread out in the area at different vantage points for what seems like hours, but was probably only 30 minutes or so.  We had doused all of the lights, so it was pitch black.  After a while, we didn't hear the sound anymore and no one came into camp, so we regrouped.

Some were ready to just stick it out there for the night and post a guard or two.  Most were convinced we needed to get the heck out of there and into the interior of BGWMA as no one would sleep that night.  I ended up tossing my cookies as I was so spooked.  So, once again we broke camp and loaded up all the fire wood, broke the tents, and headed into the interior of BGWMA in the middle of the night and setup camp once again at a roadside campsite several miles from the river.

NEXT morning, I was sleeping on a cot out in the open with "betsy" next to me when a vehicle drove up and a man got out wearing a hat and was well heeled (armed).  He was driving a red mini Broco II and identified himself as being with the Border Patrol.   He was not in the typical border patrol uniform, but did have his gun and a badge.  He asked if we'd seen anyone walking along the road in the middle of the night.  We told him no, but recounted our experience along the river and he indicated that in all probablility somone had ran some crossers down stream from the La Linda area and had placed them down at the fish camps, in which case they would walk on in.  He spent a lot of time looking along the road for footprints, etc.  He seemed to believe that some had crossed by there in the night and had just circumvented our campsite.  He got in his vehicle and drove off.

That's about it.  It was spooky spooky spooky.  There is another incident that I'll recount later on some others that I was with being spooked at BBNP, but I wasn't phased - think they had an overactive imagination.  Probably the most frightened I'd ever been was when we were kayaking/canoeing on the Whiskey Chitto in Louisiana, but, thats an entirely different story.

 8)

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Offline Buck

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Scaredness
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2006, 03:29:52 PM »
Redacted
« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 06:47:34 AM by Buck »
"Hey, how 'bout a Fandango..?"

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SHANEA

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2nd Most Scariest @ BIBE
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2006, 03:39:51 PM »
OK, if no one else is going to post and while I'm waiting for it to cool off so I can mow the yard - say it ya-rd - kinda like Chief Brody in JAWS.

First visit to BIBE back in the mid 80's.  We were camped over at one of the Pine Canyon sites.  It was in Feb if I recall correctly.  I was just in such awe of the place and how huge it was and how long it took to get from point A to point B.  We had a campsite setup, this was real tent camping and not two tons of gear.

We were all asleep in the tents and the bbq pit cover fell off.  Three of the compadres could have swore that they heard footsteps and someone had been in camp.  Call to arms.  Kinda like being on a naval ship when the alarm klaxons go off.  Everyone assembled outside.  I hadn't heard a thing and probably wouldn't have even woke up if it had not been for the others "on guard".  We stood out there for a while and there were vehicles in the distance coming back to their camp - this was midnightish and it was pretty cold outside - on one of the nights there was snow at the higher elevations.

Anyway, everyone crawled back in bed except two who kept constant villigance during the night.  I slept like a baby who had had 2-3 too many tequilias...

 :lol:

Other than that and the BGWMA "incident", I've always felt perfectly safe at BIBE.  A buddy of mine who was camped down along the river had an experience of his tent being "clouted".  He also had a very bad experience driving down the river road when a group of horseman surrounded his vehicle.  They finally got the heck out of dodge and reported the incident to the rangers.  Rangers told him that there were some people on the other side of the river that were upset that the course of the river had changed the boundries and that they considered him tresspassing.  

Now, let me clarify "perfectly safe".  (1)  I would NOT camp along the river unless  I was going  to be in camp 100% of the time.  It just doesn't seem "safe" - although it probably is "ok", depending on the site, etc.  But why camp there anyway?  It's so dang far from virtually any river site to anywhere else that you'd spend all of your time on the road going from point B to point C.  (2)  I always watch my back and am generally on threat condition BLUE, probably YELLOW in the back country, and GREEN while in the Basin.


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SHANEA

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Re: Scaredness
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2006, 03:54:08 PM »
Quote from: "Buck Nekkid"
Before long we had decided it would be great fun to hike 'Buck Nekkid' to Devil's Den


Ah, so now we finally get "the rest of the story"....

Quote from: "Buck Nekkid"
It was going to be difficult explaining to rangers and his wife why he was naked and dead in the middle of the Chihuahuan desert.


Actually, probably wouldn't be that hard to explain.  Now, it might be hard to explain why both of you were Buck Nekkid :oops: , but, seems like a lot of folks in their final moments before death, be it atop Everest @ 100 below windchill or in the desert will "madly" strip off all of their clothes and go runnning off until they collapse dead.   8)

Of course, when the rangers found ya'll you might have been able to blame it on the Peyote 8)

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Offline presidio

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Scariest Moment In Big Bend?
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2006, 05:46:26 PM »
Quote from: "SA Bill"
Wow! I didn't even consider the flash flood issue. Muse's mention of running out of water


A common desert problem. Either too much or not enough water.
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
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--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline RichardM

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Scariest Moment In Big Bend?
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2006, 10:03:51 PM »
My scariest (or at least most worry-ful) moment was when my Dad and I made our first attempt at climbing Casa Grande.  He was 66 at the time and we goofed and went up the false summit via a steep gully full of loose rocks.  Having had a friend who died at the age of 23 in Big Bend after falling off some loose rocks had me extremely nervous.  My Dad tried not to show it but I could tell he was more than a little concerned.  We had gone far enough up the gully/chute that I felt it was safer to keep going up than to try climbing down.  My Dad's vision and balance wasn't quite up for that.  As it was, I'd climb up a ways and pick out the safe handholds (lots of holds broke off as soon as I put any weight on them), then climb back down and spot my Dad as he climbed up, directing him where to place each foot and hand as we went.  I told him after that I spent a lot of the time trying to figure out how I was going to tell Mom I got Dad killed.  He said he was thinking the same thing.

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Scaredness
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2006, 10:11:12 PM »
Quote from: "Buck Nekkid"
He increasingly complained about feeling faint and then started worrying about 'dying out in the desert', so I found the tallest, widest bush/cactus around and parked him in the shade beneath it and started pouring water down his gullet as fast as I could get it out of the gallon milk jug.  It was going to be difficult explaining to rangers and his wife why he was naked and dead in the middle of the Chihuahuan desert.  After a few minutes he felt good enough to start back to the camping area, but that was pretty much it for him as far as hiking in the desert sans clothing in the summertime in Big Bend was concerned.

Another thing to worry about when fighting heat exhaustion is water intoxication.  I'd have to go Google up the details, but the basic idea is that if you're drinking only water in extreme heat, you end up flushing out all the electrolytes, potassium, etc and can die pretty easily.  That's why I always carry Gatorade as well as water.  When we went to Grand Canyon NP there were warning signs at lots of the trailheads  informing hikers of that danger.  Closest I've come was when we hiked the Rancherias Canyon trail and were out a couple of hours longer than expected.  We had plenty of water but had finished off the Gatorade.  Towards the end I got to a point where I was extremely thirsty but the water did nothing to quench my thirst.  I could tell my blood chemistry was out of whack, so I drank sparingly.  I wasn't anywhere close to being dehydrated as I'd drunk a lot of fluids throughout the day, but was pretty close to water intoxication.

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Offline Doc Savage

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Scariest Moment In Big Bend?
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2006, 08:16:01 AM »
Well for me, on my first trip to BIBE I Camped the first full day at Elephant Tusk. Middle of nowhere. Well got there and there was a SUV parked. Went hiking some, got back pitched camp, ate. Still no sign of my campmates. That night (not knowing about javelenia) heard the snuffling around the tent late at night, wasn't sure what it was, but just kept quite. Got up, packed camp, and still no campmates. Before I left, I noticed that the receipt tag in the window was sunbleached completely white. The SUV had apparently been there awhile. Reported that to the rangers, wonder if someone was laying just outside camp dead.

Wife got the bejeebus scared out of her on our last trip when she went to take pictures of one of the horses we saw on River Road. After hiking about 100 yards off the road, she got close enough to notice that the horse had a halter and appeared to be tied to a bush. As we were close to the river, she just imigined someone sitting in the brush watching. She wanted to run, but remembered that running triggers the chase mechanism in mountain lions, so she calmly turned and walked back, about which time the horse spooked and bolted. He had not been tied, but had the rope trailing loose.

Robert
Enjoying the Texas life!

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Offline Casa Grande

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Scariest Moment In Big Bend?
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2006, 10:32:27 AM »
ok, these are all really good stories....not sure how mine measures up, but here it goes....

The few handful of times I've been scared in the park was due to mother nature.   Once, in October of 200?  I was camping at SW4 with a friend.  We heard the distant thunder roll in.  It was hell for about 2 hours.  It hailed on us, lightening around us...the thunder went right through you. And judging on the timing of the lightening and thunder, it was right on top of us!  There was flashing all around, our tents got flooded and everthing was wet when it was finally over.  There is nothing like the feeling of helplessness in the nature when you really feel vulnerable.  My other two scary moments were the thunderstorms in the high chisos as well....i really hate being up there during a violent t-storm!

 


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