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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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What do you know now, that You wish you knew then?

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Offline happyhiker39

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What do you know now, that You wish you knew then?
« on: January 11, 2007, 12:21:35 PM »
When looking back on your years of experience with BIBE, what things come to mind that you know now, but wish you had known back then when you were a newbie? Thanks for any thoughts. :)

HH

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Lemming_of_the_BDA

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What do you know now, that You wish you knew then?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2007, 12:49:36 PM »
Get outta yer car, get on yer feet.

That prolly seems obvious to most, but it was a hard lesson for me to learn.

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Offline Bluetex

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What do you know now, that You wish you knew then?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2007, 01:01:33 PM »
Don't cram your trip full of different things you feel you must do. Relax, hike, take time to stop and enjoy doing nothing. After your first trip you will want to go back because you didn't get to see____ or you still need to hike_____ trail. I've been to BiBe 8 times and leave everytime saying those exact words :D .
" 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 RichardM

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What do you know now, that You wish you knew then?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2007, 01:09:20 PM »
Wear proper hiking boots/shoes.  My first time doing the South Rim as a dayhike was done in a pair of high-top basketball shoes with an extra padded insert.  Super-comfy and adequate ankle support, but the lack of a firm sole (e.g. Vibram) meant every stone and rock I stepped on poked the bottoms of my feet.  By the time we got to the Pinnacles, my feet were not happy with me.  :x   The next day I wore my brother's LL Bean boots, which were a tad big for me.  Result was a big honkin' blister that developed and burst before I knew enough to do anything about it.  That was on the Window Trail.  I did the last hundred yards or so barefoot coming back.  Another lesson:  always carry at least a band-aid or two, even on a short hike.  Stop and treat any hot spots before they develop into blisters.  Don't wait until the pain makes you stop, because by then it's too late.

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Offline okiehiker

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Plan well
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2007, 01:22:53 PM »
But be flexible.  

You will encounter an unbelievable variety of terrain, plantlife, wildlife, etc.  Be prepared for the extremes of the desert and know your limitations, but never resist the temptation to see what is before you in its fullness.  If it means cutting a trip short, or failing to meet some "goal", you can climb that peak, or make that hike next time.  You may never see that peregrine, or be amazed by the rock formation or the clouds in front of you again.

I am obsessive planner, but I rarely end up doing most of what I have planned.  It just provides me with a framework within which to operate.

A couple of intereting reads are the recent hiker on Elephant Tusk, and this post:

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/index.php?topic=1824.0

Big Bend is as much a spiritual experience as a physical one.
Funny... I have a story about that...

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Offline randell

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What do you know now, that You wish you knew then?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2007, 01:24:21 PM »
No matter how long you plan on visiting for, it's not long enough.  You will always be sad when it is time to leave.
There's nothing like a good quest to get you intimate with a place. - Tom Clynes

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Offline jeffblaylock

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What do you know now, that You wish you knew then?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2007, 02:03:46 PM »
Cottonwood Campground can be very miserable in the summertime. I wanted to take some sunrise photos of Santa Elena Canyon and figured Cottonwood would put me close. I don't think the temperature dropped below 85 and the wind didn't blow at all. And the javelina wouldn't leave the tent alone.

Richard's advice on shoes is golden. And make sure the first time you wear them isn't the trek up Pinnacles Trail.

When hiking across the desert, the shortest distance is usually not a straight line. Follow the contours of the land, use arroyos, and know that sometimes the best way to go west is to go north.

Take a good map anywhere you go, even for a short hike.

Boot Canyon has some vicious mosquitoes.

The South Rim is the best place I can think of to watch a meteor shower

Don't give your car keys to someone if they're going to lock them in the car. Alternatively, take a spare car key and keep it on you at all times.

Take your time in any place. It will change as the sun moves across the sky or the moon rises.
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline Casa Grande

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What do you know now, that You wish you knew then?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2007, 02:30:56 PM »
Don't ignore the desert.

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SHANEA

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Relate
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2007, 03:08:58 PM »
Quote from: "jeffblaylock"
Take a good map anywhere you go, even for a short hike.  
 8)

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Offline Al

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What do you know now, that You wish you knew then?
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2007, 03:23:30 PM »
Always bring more stuff than you think you will need.  Even then there is a good chance you will forget to bring something you will need.

For example, when day hiking, even when you plan to be back well before dark, bring a flashlight and some winter warm clothes/a space blanket (this time of year) in addition to more water and snacks than you think you drink and eat.  Bring a map, pancho, toilet paper, duct tape, etc., etc., etc.  It can be the difference between a good trip and a bad trip.

Al

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Offline RichardM

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What do you know now, that You wish you knew then?
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2007, 04:47:15 PM »
Another lesson learned:  no matter how hot it gets on long hikes, don't forget to eat even if you're not hungry.  Lots of minerals, etc. are lost while sweating and need to be replaced.  Water alone can actually kill you (see hyponatremia and water intoxication).

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Offline randell

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What do you know now, that You wish you knew then?
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2007, 04:55:13 PM »
Bring a wide-brimmed, well-ventilated hat.

Bring pants.

Use trekking poles on steep hikes (saves your knees, your energy, and helps you enjoy the hike more).

Always have your camera at the ready (and practice taking good photos - read a book, surf the web photo sites, and/or take a class to learn the basics of composition so you can have good photos to remember your trip by).

Wake up early to catch the sunrise.

Never miss a sunset.
There's nothing like a good quest to get you intimate with a place. - Tom Clynes

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Offline bdann

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What do you know now, that You wish you knew then?
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2007, 06:31:37 PM »
If you have a high clearance vehicle, get out on the backroads and explore.  Spend one night at the minimum away from the developed campgrounds (RGV, The Basin, Cottonwood).  There's nothing like camping out in the backcountry away from everything.  

Lying flat on the ground, middle of the night, no lights, staring at the stars...bliss.
WATER, It does a body good.

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SHANEA

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Re: What do you know now, that You wish you knew then?
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2007, 06:47:48 PM »
Quote from: "happyhiker39"
..but wish you had known back then when you were a newbie?...HH


I wish Al Gore had of invented the internet 25 years earlier http://tinyurl.com/7l7b8 so that Casa Grande could have had BigBendChat up and running and I would have known a lot more about the place.  I have a "gap" in my visits to BIBE because I mistakenly thought I'd done most of it and that's all there was to see - drive from one roadside exhibit to another.  Wasn't into backpacking at that time and didn't know another world existed off the roadway and especially into the other world that exists above the Chisos Basin.  Was always there around the busy times and there was way too many people for my liking at the basin campground - I was getting away from people and not going to see more people.  Plus, for a long time I couldn't fathom camping w/o a campfire.  But, I used those years that I was not in BIBE to good use by exploring BBRSP and BGWMA.    Of course, if it had NOT been for CASA GRANDE, whom I owe a great deal of grattitude too, I might still be hanging out else where instead of visiting BIBE 6 times in 2006. :D   Thank You David and Sara Locke AKA Casa Grande.  8) (and thank you Al Gore too)  :D

Heck, if it wasn't for CASA GRANDE, we'd still be waiting for the old chat board to come back up and be unmoderated.  Remember the FRUSTRATION of the old board going up and down all the time, all the spam, etc.  Then, the old board went down and was down for what seemed like forever, then one day in the email box, CASA GRANDE announced he was having a "Supreme Grand Opening".  Ah, what a day that was.  The world just hasn't been the same since then.  :D

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Offline Roy

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What do you know now, that You wish you knew then?
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2007, 08:06:25 PM »
Wish I'd done some of the longer desert hikes.  Don't have what it takes to do them anymore.  I read posts by TWWG and others and realize just how much of the park is closed to me.  Do it while you can.

 


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