Big Bend Conservancy
Liberty to Ft. Davis State Park (enjoyable, but uneventful)Our new habit is to eat lunch a Lum's BBQ in Junction. There is a Cooper's BBQ right on the access road, but Lum's is a local place and an old place. You have to get off the highway to find it. Highly recommended. Ask for the medium rare BBQ brisket.
Relating to being tired during the drop into Panther Canyon, my number one piece of advice about doing Rancherias for the first time is: do not put yourself under time pressure on the first day. The first day is both the longest and most physically demanding of the trip. We started out 20 minutes after first light and got to Casa Reza with only an hour left of daylight to set up camp and get water. (We did dawdle at lunch though.) We were there just after solstice, but the days will inevitably be short during the times of year that the weather is cool enough to make the loop possible. We did our check-in at the Ranger station the night before and then stayed in Lajitas overnight so we could be up and on the road to the trailhead before dawn. If you start at 10 or later you run a real risk of not making it to Casa Reza before dark. The descent from the Acebuches/Panther saddle down to Casa Reza will take an hour and there is nowhere you could reasonably make camp until you get to the bottom, so if you are running out of daylight camp on the saddle and make the descent in the morning, even if you are short on water. That is not a section of trail you want to try to do in a hurry. If your logistics dictate a late or even borderline start it would be a good idea to bring more water than you think you will need in case you can't make it to Reza. Just my two cents,
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