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Looking at the Rancherias Loop

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Offline dprather

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 1617
Looking at the Rancherias Loop
« on: February 10, 2017, 09:59:08 AM »
Ranger Tim (who has taken the mantel of Ranger Rob as public servant most sympathetic to backpackers) has convinced team Bob Marley (we'll get our lively on beginning February 18th) to do the Rancherias Loop in BBRSP. 

Any advice, head's ups, or etc. would be appreciated.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself and to be amazed.

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Offline catz

  • Golden Eagle
  • Black Bear
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  • Old enough to know better, but...
Re: Looking at the Rancherias Loop
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2017, 10:45:15 AM »
There are two and only two reliable water sources.  Fortunately they are at about the 1/3 mark and the 2/3 mark.  Camp in the vicinity of each, although they make it difficult to camp "legally" near the first one (going counter clockwise) because they don't want you camping in the immediate vicinity of the spring or up by the old ranch house.

The hike is almost completely exposed.  I would not attempt this hike after March or before November.  Even March, especially later in the month, can be iffy.

The "normal" way is counter-clockwise.  That means the first day is, by far, the most difficult.   The trail can get a bit difficult to follow between the two springs.  Just be sure to keep a sharp eye out for the cairns.   
Wake me when it's time to go.

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Offline dprather

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 1617
Re: Looking at the Rancherias Loop
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2017, 01:03:42 PM »
I want to HIGHLY COMPLIMENT the state park rangers.  By comparison, the NPS people, who do a pretty good job, come off poorly.  The TPWD people really are backpacker-friendly and evidence a super customer-service ethic.

In my pre-trip planning, not only Ranger Tim, but also the other guys and gals at Barton Warnock have been outstanding.

Ranger Tim was willing to briefly review our planned itinerary by email, and made comments/suggestions.

One guy at the Barton Warnock desk kept me on the phone 10+ minutes this A.M. with wonderful suggestions and wonderful "Have you though about...?" questions.  He was obviously invested in our safety and enjoyment. 
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself and to be amazed.

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Offline dprather

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 1617
Re: Looking at the Rancherias Loop
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2017, 02:33:01 PM »
There are two and only two reliable water sources.  Fortunately they are at about the 1/3 mark and the 2/3 mark.  Camp in the vicinity of each, although they make it difficult to camp "legally" near the first one (going counter clockwise) because they don't want you camping in the immediate vicinity of the spring or up by the old ranch house.

The hike is almost completely exposed.  I would not attempt this hike after March or before November.  Even March, especially later in the month, can be iffy.

The "normal" way is counter-clockwise.  That means the first day is, by far, the most difficult.   The trail can get a bit difficult to follow between the two springs.  Just be sure to keep a sharp eye out for the cairns.   

Thanks Catz - follow-up question: how reliable are the water sources?  There will be three of us.  Will the two springs have adequate water to supply all of us?
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself and to be amazed.

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Offline bracketboy89

  • Jack Rabbit
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Re: Looking at the Rancherias Loop
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2017, 07:00:43 AM »
The people at the state park are great. We met a ranger the other day when we camping and chatted with him for a bit. They were so layed back. Then as luck would have it he was playing music at Starlight when we went over there for some beers and we chatted with him for a good while.

Then we went to the NP and the ranger we talked to was a straight up A**. I really wanted to give him a piece of my mind but at the same time the place was full of weekend warriors so I kind of get it.

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Offline Juan Cuatro Lados

  • Diamondback
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Re: Looking at the Rancherias Loop
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2017, 11:47:44 AM »
A friend rode his bicycle on the Epic Tail through the state park yesterday.  He posted a photo on Facebook of a thermometer on his cyclometer at 105 degrees.  The last nine miles of the hike, beyond the (last) waterhole at Rancherias Spring are beeeeyoootiful, but they can be hard to follow in places and are completely exposed to the afternoon sunshine.  Since that part of the trail leads mostly southwest, you get the full effect of the sun and heat.  Be prepared to hike early and late and chill in mid-day. 

Sadly, I have to agree that it's a distasteful process to get a permit from the NPS.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2017, 11:53:44 AM by Juan Cuatro Lados »

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Offline dprather

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 1617
Re: Looking at the Rancherias Loop
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2017, 02:24:56 PM »
Gracias for the heads up.

The big question - did he find water in that spring???

Another question - are there side-trips of interest along the Rancherias Loop?

This is our itinerary - we are depending on those springs

Leave East Texas on Friday, the 17th...spend the night at Davis Mountains State Park.

Drive to either Barton Warnock Center or Ft. Leaton on Saturday to permit...get on the trail about noon...do half or better of the traditional first day/get half-way or better to the first spring.

On Sunday, get to the first spring...take it easy while we filter/treat...go a bit farther

Monday looks like Sunday, except it'll be the second spring

Tuesday...saunter out - our plan is to do that final super exposed section JQL warns about in the AM...


Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself and to be amazed.

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Offline catz

  • Golden Eagle
  • Black Bear
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  • Old enough to know better, but...
Re: Looking at the Rancherias Loop
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2017, 03:33:47 PM »
I think the two springs are reliable.
Wake me when it's time to go.

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Offline Schroeder

  • Coyote
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    • Schroederworks
Re: Looking at the Rancherias Loop
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2017, 12:06:57 PM »
Hi There,
I was just in that area two weeks ago. At the rancherias spring on the map there is some water. If you walk downstream there is PLENTY. If you go far enough, there are huge deep pools of water. I have photos if interested.
I followed the creek all the way down to the top of rancherias falls. If you have the time, I highly recommend it. I saw lots of mountain lion tracks and even a pool of blood on that hike. Also, I saw a really cool aoudad skull. There are some small water falls, pools and cascades along that route. If you are hiking east to west you can incorporate that hike into the loop. You would follow downstream, but on return take the west canyon and climb out back to the trail.
I have gpx tracks if interested....
Scott

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Online Chireaux

  • Kangaroo Rat
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  • 24
Re: Looking at the Rancherias Loop
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2017, 11:25:46 PM »
Photos would be awesome!!!



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Offline Schroeder

  • Coyote
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  • 195
    • Schroederworks
Re: Looking at the Rancherias Loop
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2017, 09:39:43 AM »






Cool area.
Scott

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Offline Reece

  • Black Bear
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  • 605
Re: Looking at the Rancherias Loop
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2017, 10:02:27 PM »
I'd be interested in GPS tracks.


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