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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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1st info & suggestions

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Offline Jswharton

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1st info & suggestions
« on: January 09, 2016, 06:33:15 PM »
So am planning my first trip to BBRSP arriving probably Jan 18th.  I'll be traveling with a Truck Capmer and can travel on most 2wd roads.  With that much weight I maybe could do a 4wd road but not 4wd high clearance.  It will take 2 days to get there and plan being there 10 to 14 days.

So, I'm getting back into backpacking at the age of 62 and want to test mostly my conditioning and some equipment.  I plan on mostly day hiking with a full pack and may do a 1 or 2 day overnights.  I need to figure out where I'm at because the plan is to spend 2 months in the CO San Juans next summer multi-day backpacking and fishing.  I comfortable hiking 10 miles per day.

What are the must do day hikes?  I can carry all the water needed on the day hikes but would also like to know the locations of reliable water.  If I know that I can plan some overnight routes around the water sources.

I've printed out all the maps from the web site.  I use CATopo for route mapping and want to get some topo maps printed out before I leave next weekend.  Thanks in advance for any insights👏🏼

Oh, almost forgot,with the Truck Camper I really don't need any hookups and have enough water etc on board for a couple weeks.  I assume you can park your vehicle at the designated parking areas while you're out overnight. If I'm day hiking is it OK to stay overnight in the parking areas / trail heads?

Scott

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Offline Ranger Tim

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Re: 1st info & suggestions
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2016, 11:44:59 AM »
Sounds like the makings of a fun adventure. If you are at the front end of reconditioning, I would suggest driving in to Sauceda and staying at either La Posta or South Leyva as a base camp. From there you should hike the Horsetrap trail for starters, the Fresno Overlook and/or the Cerro Chilicote Loop, and the Escondido Loop trail from Cinco Tinajas. If you don't have one already, plan on picking up a BBRSP Exploration Map and a compass to start practicing your basic navigation skills. We also have a series of trail specific pamphlets at Sauceda that have small scale maps for each of the trails I mentioned. Lastly, call or come by the Barton Warnock or Sauceda Ranger Station for more specific details.

As far as camping goes, you will not have access to hookups, though there is very good water at Sauceda. We really don't like people to camp at the trailheads, but it is only a very short drive from the camps that I mentioned. Most of the trailheads do have parking if you plan on being out overnight. Water sources are denoted on the Exploration Map and all seem to be flowing pretty well right now.
"The greatest happiness possible to man ... is to become civilized, to know the pageant of the past, to love the beautiful,... and then, retaining animal instincts and appetites, to live in the wilderness"
- J. Frank Dobie

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Offline Jswharton

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Re: 1st info & suggestions
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2016, 03:24:04 PM »
Tim, thanks for the info.  I'll be coming in from Houston and was thinking starting at Lajitas, west along 170, north on Bofecillos Road and finally east on the main park road.  so far I thought of 3 hikes along 170, 7 mi up/back East Contrabando Trailhead, 10 mi West Contrabando Trailhead around the dome and back, and 10 mi u/back Rancherias Canyon.  What are your thoughts about Tapado, Las Burras, or Auras Canyons?

I'm planning a couple overnights and thinking the Fresno Canyon area would be good, lots of interconnecting trails, water, etc.

I've printed out the Discovery and Exploration maps and have a question about water.  When a point is referenced in BLUE like a name like Bofecillos Spring or GPS coordinates, is that a reference to generally available water?

Map skills are rusty, so I'll stay in mostly well marked areas and have a GPS as backup.

Anyway thanks for the info and will look you up when I get down there.

Scott

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Offline Ranger Tim

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Re: 1st info & suggestions
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2016, 03:37:33 PM »
The marked points in blue generally refer to water, though I would suggest referring to the spring symbol in the map key. Your three FM170 hikes sound good in terms of increasing difficulty. On the second hike I would suggest hiking the Fresno Divide up and taking the West leg of the Dome Loop back around to the West Main Trail. Also, Rancherias Canyon is pretty tough but it is easy to navigate provided that you don't get out of the canyon (e.g. go upstream and back down to finish). I should be around on the 18th so pop in and we'll set you up with a nearby campsite and get you on your way. It is tough terrain out here but it should provide a good training ground for the San Juans.
"The greatest happiness possible to man ... is to become civilized, to know the pageant of the past, to love the beautiful,... and then, retaining animal instincts and appetites, to live in the wilderness"
- J. Frank Dobie

 


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