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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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BBRSP tips?

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Offline MikeW

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BBRSP tips?
« on: March 14, 2011, 02:45:58 PM »
Y'all,

I've just booked campsites for a trip to the Ranch for next week starting Sunday night. I've got two nights at Guale 2, two at Yedra 2, one at Chorro Vista.

It's my first visit to the park. The purpose is to experience the place and do some photography, both nature and landscape.

Thoughts, suggestions, tips on things to see?

Mike

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Offline Native Texan

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Re: BBRSP tips?
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2011, 07:46:03 PM »
Can't comment on any sites other than Guale 2 and getting there, but here is some general things we experienced...

4X4 roads in the Nat'l park are like super highways compared to the SP roads.

Bring 2 spare tires AND a 12V compressor.  We had 2 flats while in the park, one with slow leak we where able to pump up every day, the other was a cut 1/2" long.  Fix-a-flat don't help there.

Make sure to check in & out with the Rangers...

Your vehicle is going to get SCRATCHED!  Wheels, paint, etc... is no match for creosote bush, cacti, etc...

Bring something to create a lean-to with as shade is NO WHERE and your tent is an oven during the day.

2 people, 5 days, we had 6 gallons of water for general purposes and 8 gallons of drinking water, we had < 2 gal.  of each  on the way out.

Ice, Ice, baby... Although not a necessity, we packed 2 Coleman Xtreme 6 day coolers with ice as instructed and the 4th day things were warming up and the 5th day all ice was gone even though we kept the coolers under the lean-to.
You'd be surprised how nice an ice cold beer is after a day in the desert!  :eusa_dance:

Daytime heat and wind, night time cool and calm(er).  Bring Lip balm and moisturizer/sunscreen /wind burn preventitive stuff...
Get ready for sunsets (especially) and sunrises that will knock your socks off!

The only critters we had issues were foxes and they will check out your stuff so baton down your food containers.

We also had inverters to charge camera batteries, etc along.  Oh and one less thing, if you got a telescope BRING IT! the night time skies are some of the best I have seen...
 

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Offline MikeW

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Re: BBRSP tips?
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2011, 08:21:41 PM »
Thanks so much! I appreciate it. I had some of that covered but not all. Will update my packing!

Mike

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Offline MikeW

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Re: BBRSP tips?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2011, 06:56:46 AM »

Hey - got any tips on where to view / photograph wildlife?

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Offline Native Texan

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Re: BBRSP tips?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2011, 05:22:51 PM »
Mike,

We saw deer, various birds (ravens, wrens, etc..) around the Guale 2 site even in mid-day, but I think you may have better off near some of the tinajas of other sources of water.  Bring a wide angle lens if you got it, there is plenty of landscape shots and sunsets are sah-weet!

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Offline DerrickB

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Re: BBRSP tips?
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2011, 11:01:18 AM »
Critters are everywhere.  It's quite different from recent experiences at the NP - you will likely see mule deer and javelina off the main road. Have your camera ready in the car.

May go without saying, but know how to read a map, use a compass and how to use a GPS.  There is not much infrastructure at the SP, so if you get yourself into a pickle, you are going to be in trouble quickly.  There are landmarks in the SP that you can use to orient yourself, but they are not as obvious as places like the Basin, Mule's Ears, Santa Elena Canyon, etc.    There is no gas in the park, so make sure you top off at Presidio if you think you're going to do a lot of driving around. 

Check in and out at the Ranger station at Sauceda, as mentioned above, and you can always ask them for advice as to where to set up, take pics, etc. 

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Offline MikeW

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Re: BBRSP tips?
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2011, 02:50:34 PM »
I am sorry to say that a couple problems at work and home led to me not making this trip. Yet! I appreciate the advice and it'll be put to use in the future.

Mike

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Offline DerrickB

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Re: BBRSP tips?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2011, 10:51:29 PM »
Sorry to hear that!! Keep it on the list and get out there soon.  It's worth it. ;)

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Offline levisurfer

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Re: BBRSP tips?
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2011, 12:06:11 PM »
WOW!!
Gonna need a rethink!
Hiya guys
I'm from the UK
 I have had some scary moments on my travels and this is making me think big time!
I am hoping to travel to Texas and the BB Park in early 2012.
I am currently trying to explore as many sights as possible to check out what I should see, where I should stay, how to get about etc etc.
I will be travelling alone and don't know whether to camp out a bit, get a 4x4 for those hard to get to places or even where to start!
Any pointers please?
It will be in a Rental car so I don't know about all the scratches and flats you mentioned!
And as I am travelling in I won't have all the gear that you guys have who do this kinda thing regularly.
Should I keep to posted roads only?
Is it really safe to do alone?
What about organised trips to the more remote locations or along the river?

And like you guys  I am an amateur photographer and love the images you guys post!!  I hope to get some as good as yours!!
So any pointer here as well would be great.
I know this is a lot to ask but if you can point me in the right direction I would be most grateful!
Thanks
Paul
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the places and moments that take our breath away." (Hilary Cooper)

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Offline RichardM

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Re: BBRSP tips?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2011, 04:29:20 PM »
There are a few day hikes accessible from the main road in BBRSP (Cinco Tinajas, Ojito Adentro, etc), but a lot of the good stuff will require a vehicle more substantial than a rental car. I've only been to BBRSP once and that was over a decade ago, so I'll have to let someone else chine in with better advice.

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Offline Ay Chihuahua!

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Re: BBRSP tips?
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2011, 09:30:18 PM »
levisurfer, I might be reading something between the lines that's not there, but just to be clear, there are two large parks in the Big Bend - the national park and the state park.  The national park has more places that are more easily accessible.  The state park is more undeveloped with many roads that are nothing more than old washed out ranch roads that are rocky, rutted and can only be accessed by 4x4.  However, like RichardM said, there are plenty of places that can be accessed from the main road in the state park.

Sorry, if I read confusion where none exists.  If so, just ignore my post.  :eusa_shifty:

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Offline DerrickB

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Re: BBRSP tips?
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2011, 09:57:14 PM »
There are plenty of hikes you can do off the main road at the Ranch, and if you feel the urge to go further off the beaten path, the park has 1/2 day and full day 4x4 trips that you can arrange.

There were some folks at the ranch when I was there in February who were driving a small rental sedan, and they made it just fine down the main road - but keep in mind they drove a lot slower than I did in my truck. ;)

And don't worry about camping gear, you can book a room at the bunk house that has all the conveniences of home. 

Good hiking shoes, sturdy pants, big hat, a way to carry water and a long sleeve shirt are on your MUST have list.

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Offline levisurfer

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Re: BBRSP tips?
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2011, 05:01:22 PM »
Thanks guys for the advice and the words of encouragement.
Still many months away yet but certainly been given plenty of food for thought.
Will defo stay in touch and keep you posted.
Thanks
P
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the places and moments that take our breath away." (Hilary Cooper)

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Offline catz

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Re: BBRSP tips?
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2011, 02:49:43 PM »
I just want to suggest that if you can only do one, you should plan on visiting the National Park over the Stae Park (referred  to in some of these posts as "the ranch").  While both parks are rugged, the National Park has many more features accessible in a plain jane sedan; it also has a far more developed trail system.  The National Park has all the desert hiking that the state park has, but it also has the fabulous Chisos Mountains and its excellent trail system.

Don't know when in 2012 you intend to be there, but whether it's the National Park or the State Park, you should try to time it for between early November and early March.  The heat can be unbearable at other times of the year, although the Chisos Mountains and some of the canyons in the National Park can provide some relief.  I don't know of any place in the State Park where you can escape the heat.  If you are in either place during the spring/summer/early fall, be sure to begin your hikes (especially the ones in the desert) as early as possible in the day, drink plenty of water, and plan on finishing by noon or shortly thereafter.
Wake me when it's time to go.

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Offline MikeW

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Re: BBRSP tips?
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2012, 02:30:50 PM »
This thread is back from the dead. At long last I made it to BBRSP for a fantastic week of back-country camping and exploring. I'll get a trip report out in the future, just wanted to post up a pointer to my three fav photos from the trip.

Thanks for the advice that was given in this tread. In the end it did not go to waste.

Mike

http://www.flickr.com/photos/28673298@N03/sets/72157629982971925/

 


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