Friends of Big Bend National Park
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.

+-Calendar for sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!

Trail Report: Rancherias Loop 12-26 - 12-28

  • 2 Replies

Offline MedMoneyCat

  • Kangaroo Rat
  • *
  • 14
Trail Report: Rancherias Loop 12-26 - 12-28
« on: January 10, 2019, 03:19:14 PM »
Planned for OML but Shitdown diverted us to BBRSP. Very impressed. Good time was had. TL;DR: Would do Rancherias.

TR: Rancherias Loop
Date: 12/27/2018 – 12/29/2018

Gear list:

SWD 40L w/Frame
Gossamer Gear Kumo 36L Frameless

MLD Sil Nylon Duomid

Sleep System:
TNF Kilo Bag (32 deg) + Gossamer Gear 1/8 in pad + Zlite
Nunatak Arc UL L/W (20 deg+1oz in footbox) + Thermarest Xtherm
PolyU Window Wrap as a ground sheet

Brion Pants + PFG + Darn Tough Hiking Socks + Brooks Vascadia 12s + Dirty Girl Gaiters + Baseball Hat + Locus Gear Caron Trekking Poles

Brion Pants + Outdoor Voices Merino LS Shirt + Darn Tough Hiking Socks + Brooks Caldera + Dirty Girl Gaiters+  OV  + REI Alumnium Trekking Poles

Packed Clothes: I packed a lightweight merino wool baselayer and didn’t use it until day 3 (wouldn’t pack again)

Active Layers:
Melanzana Microgrid Hoodies

Insulation Layer:
I doubled up the Melly by adding another melly fleece and paired with OR Helium 2

She wore a MHW Ghost Whisperer Hooded Jacket

This was plenty warm for us. Had it gotten colder, I would just use my sleeping bag as another insulation wrap.

4 X 1L Spring Water Bottles each + 2.6 L capacity extra in soft bladder.
Katydyn Befree Filter

We each had plenty of water capacity for winter on this trail. That changes depending if water available on trail.  Talk to rangers and find out before going.

Could probably make first source with 1.5L. Would definitely take 4L with me leaving CR as we could not find the Rancherias Spring on Day2.

Soto Windmaster + Small Gas Canister + Evernew Ti pot 650ml for boiling water
She used a Sea to Summit Bowl and Toaks Ti Spork
I used a folding Tuna spoon and a Talenti Jar.

Would probably just cold soak and leave all that behind. Or eat nothing but snacks.

Breakfast: 2x Instant Oatmeal, some granola
Lunch: 1 Tuna Pack + Avocado + Cheese + Tortilla (took 4, would reduce to 2)
Snacks: 2 Rx Bars + 2 Justin Nut butters + Chips (Fritos and Takis) + GORP + Sausage and Cheddar Cheese
Dinner: 1 x Ramen per person  + Tea with supplement from snacks.

Day one:
Perspectives: Trail included river washes with soft gravel, some soil trail, some incline, some canyons, and some decline. Cairns were intact for most part. We missed a cairn on the right hand side early in the morning when we were to leave a wash and ended up off track. We ended up in a deadend canyon and had to navigate back not a big deal but it took time. Do not do this. Trail for most part was in good condition and easily navigated. Few cairns have been occluded by foliage. Arrived at Casa Reza around 4:30 PM. Flat ground for camping can be found if you cross the springs. You will likely find an occluded trail/cairn waiting for you as you move away from casa reza and away from the spring. We camped with 3 different parties.

That evening, I estimated low 40s with perhaps a dip into high 30s. I slept fine using a Zlite and a 32 deg TNF Kilo down bag from about ten years ago. The GF was warm in her set up.

Day two: Casa Reza to about 15 min from West TH.

Perspectives: Begin at Casa Reza. Camped at about 15 min from West TH. Very windy evening blew in a cold front the next morning. With an earlier start and steady pace we really moved well through the second day. I would reign in the pace a bit once on the Mesa and opt to camp off trail by the cliffs. Once you’re off the mesa, the ground really hardens and staking down your set up becomes very hard. Also not a lot of wind block available once you’ve made your descent from Mesa.

Begin at 8AM at Casa Reza. Ate breakfast and packed up. Filled Water. Only took 3L from CR. Would take 4L as we missed the Rancherias Springs. We also missed the pathways Guale Campsites. No clue how to get there.

 Trail started in canyons and river washes, and follows a jeep road for a long time after Javelina signage. Some spots were marked with cairns while others had a metal arrow. Lots of gravel, some incline, some canyons. Nothing too technical and nothing too intense.
Cairns were intact for most part. Again, we missed a cairn on the righthand side leaving a wash late in the day ended up off track further down the riverbed. Trail for most part was in good condition and the cairns were reliable. Few have been occluded by foliage. Could have made the TH West. Really no point though, as you’d have to hike or hitch to the car.

Day three:

Woke up early to cold and hazy conditions. Packed up after eating breakfast. Had run out of water. Hiked to Trail Head. Took no more than 15 min. Included some wash hiking and some gentle up and down. Nobody at the TH. Had to hike back to starting TH. State Trooper gave us a hitch about the last quarter mile.

Overall impression is that Rancherias loop is a fantastic way to spend 3 days in the backcountry. The loop is more of a horseshoe. If you hike with multiple parties and have two cars, I suggest leaving one car at both TH. I am not in particularly good hiking shape and we could have finished this loop in two days. Why do it though? The canyons are gorgeous. The mountains and horizon shots are gorgeous. The cliffs are inspiring. Low Guale Mesa is a beautiful place to spend time. Overall, this is a crushabley moderate hike distance with little technicality and some difficulty.  Suggestion, slow down and enjoy the time. Hike your own hike and enjoy the experience.


Offline House Made of Dawn

  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2966
  • Backpacking since '78, Big Bend since '95.
Re: Trail Report: Rancherias Loop 12-26 - 12-28
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2019, 03:43:43 PM »
 :great:  I'd be willing to give my left arm for a girlfriend that backpacks.  :eusa_dance:  Alas, I am two-armed, married, and solo on the trail.  :notworthy: 
Well done!
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."


Offline mule ears

  • Global Moderator
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 4269
  • "He had to leave Texas but won't say why" McMurtry
    • 40 years of walking
Re: Trail Report: Rancherias Loop 12-26 - 12-28
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2019, 03:51:58 PM »
Thanks for the report, sounds like you spend some time on Reddit ultralight.

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Big Bend Chat mobile app

temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water



All photographs and content posted by members are to be considered copyrighted by their respective owners and may not be used for any purposes, commercial or otherwise, without permission.

+-Calendar For Sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!

Powered by EzPortal

Facebook Comments