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Rancherias Loop (2-19-12-17) Extended Version

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Offline dprather

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Re: Rancherias Loop (2-19-12-17) Extended Version
« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2017, 03:30:30 PM »
One of the disadvantages of solo is that you are never "off."  Accompanied on the trail by friends, you can share the "point," and share the load of trail-finding.  The concentration required to remain "on" is tough.  Then there is also the advantage of multiple eyes checking your work.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline Jimbow

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Re: Rancherias Loop (2-19-12-17) Extended Version
« Reply #31 on: March 01, 2017, 06:09:13 PM »
Those were years back. I'm older an with each year get more hesitant. I use to fly 40 to 45 times a year for business,  now flying leaves me too stressed. I have no idea how I've gotten to this spot.

The views expressed may not be mine in five minutes.

Everything is in walking distance if you have enough time.

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Offline dprather

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Re: Rancherias Loop (2-19-12-17) Extended Version
« Reply #32 on: March 01, 2017, 06:24:31 PM »
Jimbow - I'm there too.

The cautiousness that we did not like in our fathers is now ours.  So it goes.

Reading about the Talus Slope, I very deliberately buried the warnings deep I my mind.  When I arrived there, I did not let my terror simmer and boil over.  It was much more a mental challenge than a physical challenge.

I know you can do the mental part, but I'll not gloss over the physical challenge.
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

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Re: Rancherias Loop (2-19-12-17) Extended Version
« Reply #33 on: March 01, 2017, 06:25:53 PM »
Tandl - tell us bout your wife as your hiking partner...
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline miatarchy04

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Re: Rancherias Loop (2-19-12-17) Extended Version
« Reply #34 on: March 02, 2017, 06:41:31 AM »
dprather and tandl: I thank you for your kind words. This was the first time hiking I set a goal for myself and didn't achieve it, but it is a consolation to know I hiked the toughest section of the RL twice. I can't say I prefer hiking solo, but being retired I prefer to hike on weekdays when the parks are less crowded. Finding retired people willing to accompany me has been difficult. My wife absolutely washes her hands of any type of backpacking.

As I mentioned in my original post I made multiple navigation errors. I missed the trail out of Acebuches on the second day. To be more accurate, I saw the large cairn that marked the departure point, and I even saw the second cairn behind it. I simply couldn't believe that the very steep slope behind these cairns contained a route out of the canyon, so I continued on downstream. That mistake cost about 45 minutes.  If there is one piece of advice I could drill into the heads of novices like myself it is: "Trust the cairns and go where they lead you: that is the trail." That sounds simple and obvious, but tired and exhausted people often tend to walk the path of least resistance and allow momentum to carry you along without paying attention.

An interesting story about Casa Reza that I didn't find until my return:

"Catarino Reza, a son of Victorio Reza, recalled that his father settled on Section 504, T.C. Ry. Co., about 1907 and began ranching with goats. The family lived in a shelter cave where they made a kitchen and everyone slept. [This much is in Parent's guide to the trail, though he dates the homesteading to 1911]  . . . Margarita Madrid recounted a story about Victorio's wife taking care of the goats as a young woman and leaving a baby while she tended the goats. When she came back the child was gone and had been eaten by a lion."  (Archaeological Reconnaissance on Big Bend Ranch State Park, p. 190, references omitted)

Panther (or Leon, the Spanish equivalent) Canyon got its name for a reason. Recent years have seen Panther attacks on humans in BB but as far as I know this would be the only fatality, even if it is over 100 years ago and poorly documented.

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Offline Jimbow

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Re: Rancherias Loop (2-19-12-17) Extended Version
« Reply #35 on: March 02, 2017, 06:56:59 AM »
Thank you for sharing that story.

There is a balance between trusting cairns and trusting your eyes and experience. I think we all have talked ourselves into a tough lesson or two.

"The map must be wrong"
Me circa 2007 while leading some Scouts on an orienteering adventure.

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Everything is in walking distance if you have enough time.

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Offline dprather

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Re: Rancherias Loop (2-19-12-17) Extended Version
« Reply #36 on: March 02, 2017, 09:47:45 AM »
miatarchy04 - do not grieve your setback. 

My first major Bend backpacking adventure was an OML failure.  I credit that "failure" with all of the successes that I've enjoyed since.  In a very real sense, that failure was no failure at all, but a necessary learning experience.  I wasn't ready before; I got ready after. 

In this way, backpacking is not like life, it is life. 

Treat yourself gently, savor the great moments (I know there were several), critically ask the "What do I need to do better?" questions, and get back out there.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline tandl

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Re: Rancherias Loop (2-19-12-17) Extended Version
« Reply #37 on: March 02, 2017, 11:52:07 PM »
"Tandl - tell us bout your wife as your hiking partner..."

WARNING - Much of the following long post is me going on about how cool my wife is!

I guess I'm just lucky.  She is really active, does triathlons and marathons, and took to backpacking like a duck to water.  (She was a camp counselor during college, so she already knew how to go to the bathroom in the woods, which for women has a learning curve to it that men don't always appreciate.)  She says she likes that she can get a workout, see beautiful places,  learn new skills that make her feel powerful and self-sufficient, and feel like an explorer, all while spending alone time with me.  She likes feeling like a bad-ass when she does a hard section of hiking, (she felt like a superhero after Rancherias!) and refers to our trips as adventures, as in "We're going on an adventure in Big Bend for Christmas!"  She knows it isn't nice of her, but she enjoys the slightly smug feeling of superiority she gets when we drive past the RVs to a trailhead, and she knows it is cliche but enjoys shopping for gear. 

She likes to organize and make lists, which I do not, so she is in charge of planning out and packing all the meals, while I am in charge of selecting and maintaining the major gear systems and planning our routes.  She is a Type-1 diabetic, so has been forced to become meticulous, careful and analytical about things, so she is a great complement to me both on the trail and in life, since I am a more loosey-goosey kind of person.  She is goal oriented where I am more go with the flow, and she can be a bit stubborn about mileage goals, etc., so it is usually up to me to be the one to make the calls about stopping for breaks or changing our plans during a hike because of the circumstances at hand.  She gets scared on steep descents and by sharp drop offs (as should any reasonable person, IMO) but doesn't want to feel later that she wimped out or couldn't do something she set out to do, so it is my role to be the voice of reason sometimes.  (Once on the Superior Hiking trail in Minnesota she twisted her ankle slightly and I had to be the one to force her to bail out and cut the trip short rather than hike another 8 miles on a swollen ankle.)

She is getting better at leaving stuff out of her pack the more she backpacks, and is recovering from what she calls "purse syndrome," the propensity to carry around a mini drugstore/hardware store in her purse "because you never know when you might need a third chapstick or a tiny screwdriver."  Her base weight is now around 12 lbs, while mine is 22-26 depending on where we are going.  My pack is a ten year old 68 liter beast that I trimmed down to a "mere" 6 lbs by cutting off all the extra straps and removing the lid, while hers is a much newer and higher-tech 2 lber wonder-pack.  (She also gets to drive the newer car, which is a thing common to all marriages apparently.)

I carry the tent, sleeping bag and pads, stove and cookpot, water purification and most of the clothes, while she carries the layers we are not wearing, rain gear, what she calls the "cosmetics bag" which has the hygiene stuff plus contacts, blood kit, back-up diabetes supplies and blood sugar control snacks, which we count as base weight since they are a medical requirement for her and go with us even on day hikes.  She also has the sunblock, chapstick, sunglasses, hand sanitizer, car keys, headlamps, cell phone and backup battery, since I am prone to losing those kinds of small items.  I carry and am responsible for packing the first-aid kit because it would weigh ten pounds if she put it together  ;).  When we load our packs for the trail she gets most of the consumables and all the stuff we need easy access to, while I have the bulky stuff since my pack has much more volume but is harder to get in and out of.  We split the water, but she often carries the 6 L Dromedary we use since it fits in her sleeve better than in mine and her base weight is so much lighter than mine.

For Rancherias we had 10 ish L of water capacity between the 6 L Drom that you can never quite get all six into, as well as 5 1 L Smart Water bottles, which we like because they are light, indestructible, and fit perfectly in the side mesh pockets of our packs.  For Rancherias my trail weight was maybe 35 lbs at start and hers was around 30.  She doesn't mind starting with her pack as heavy as mine, since she wants the workout and because she knows her pack gets lighter as we go, while mine stays the same the whole trip.

Being married to my hiking partner really saves weight because of how many things we only need one of.  We have a two person sleeping bag (Sierra Designs Duo) that weighs two and a half pounds and allows us to sleep cuddled up the way we do at home and keeps us much warmer than the bag is rated for because of two bodies in the same bag.  We put two Therma Rest air mats into its integrated pad sleeves and the setup exactly fits the footprint of our 1 lb 12 oz tarp-tent with a couple of inches to spare on the sides.  Our entire sleep and shelter setup, nose to tail, runs us about 7 or 8 lbs. If we are 100% sure it won't rain (like last Christmas at Fresno Canyon) we leave the 1 lb tarp portion behind and just use the bugnet part of the tent and sleep under the stars.  (There aren't a lot of mosquitos in the Bend, but the thought of a tarantula or scorpion crawling over our faces rules out cowboy camping.)  It also allows us to shave weight by sharing little things that COULD be shared by a regular hiking partner but would either be uncomfortably intimate, like chapstick, or require too much coordination ("I have the pocket knife, Bob has the sunblock, and Jim has the cathole spade.")

We spend a lot of our major holidays like Christmas backpacking, (family gets Thanksgiving).  We usually do a trip for her birthday, and we got married on Labor Day weekend, so our Anniversary always falls around a three day weekend, and we have spent five out of the eleven on backpacking trips.  People make jokes about the "ball and chain" or about how marriage is the end of all the fun in your life, but I'm here to tell you that its the best thing I ever did.  Some people are born rich, or good looking or really smart,and good on them, but I got lucky in love, and would not be willing to trade!
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 12:00:50 AM by tandl »

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Offline Jimbow

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Re: Rancherias Loop (2-19-12-17) Extended Version
« Reply #38 on: March 03, 2017, 05:51:04 AM »
I can echo that having a spouse who also backpacks is a great treat.



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Everything is in walking distance if you have enough time.

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Online mule ears

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Re: Rancherias Loop (2-19-12-17) Extended Version
« Reply #39 on: March 03, 2017, 06:15:12 AM »
Beautiful tribute to your wife, you sound like a lucky guy for sure.  Great distribution of responsibilities and gear too.

My wife used to backpack but after we lived in a tent for 8 months and without running water for a year and a half while building our house and starting the farm she is mostly done with camping.  We have worked together 24/7 for 35 years so when I go backpacking she is fine with some time alone.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline dprather

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Re: Rancherias Loop (2-19-12-17) Extended Version
« Reply #40 on: March 03, 2017, 08:11:42 AM »
Tandl - great, great story about a great, great wife!
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline VivaTerlingua

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Re: Rancherias Loop (2-19-12-17) Extended Version
« Reply #41 on: January 17, 2018, 02:22:04 PM »
Failure number two I didn't realize until I got to Casa Reza and made camp. My sleeping bag, which was strapped to the bottom of my pack, had worked loose and fallen about halfway into my hike. I know this because that is where I picked it up the next day.

This is an older thread, but I just now saw it.  I found a sleeping bag once on the Rancherias Loop.  It was at the beginning of the descent into Acebuches canyon.  We were doing an out and back day hike and saw it on the way in.  We weren't sure what to do with it because we didn't know what direction the person who dropped it was going.  We would hate to pick it up and have them come back for it and it not be there, so we left it.  We didn't see anybody else the whole day we were hiking and it was still there on our way out.  We went ahead and picked it up and turned it in at the Warnock center but they did not have a report of a missing sleeping bag.  It was an inexpensive one, so I don't think anybody was out too much money but I hope they lost it at the end of their trip and not the beginning.

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Offline Ranger Tim

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Re: Rancherias Loop (2-19-12-17) Extended Version
« Reply #42 on: January 18, 2018, 08:31:28 AM »
Viva, I think that we may even still have that sleeping bag. I have found two additional bags and a tent out there and I have always wondered about the miserable nights that followed after losing such a key piece of gear. Keep your friends close and your sleeping bag closer!
"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 dprather

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Re: Rancherias Loop (2-19-12-17) Extended Version
« Reply #43 on: January 18, 2018, 02:53:24 PM »
I have checked my stuff - it isn't mine!
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

 


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