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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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Water Sources in the Contrabando/Solitario - December 2019

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Offline liljavelina

  • Kangaroo Rat
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Water Sources in the Contrabando/Solitario - December 2019
« on: December 02, 2019, 04:40:47 PM »
Hi Benders,


I'm currently routing a 3-night 4-day from the Contrabando system up through the Solitario via the Lower Shut-up. There was a great trip report awhile back ("Shut-Up Not Shutdown"!) but I can't find it despite my best efforts––anyone been on the east side of BBRSP lately and have anything to report?


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Offline DesertRatShorty

  • Diamondback
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    • Who was Desert Rat Shorty?
Re: Water Sources in the Contrabando/Solitario - December 2019
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2019, 09:51:48 PM »
Here's the report you mentioned. Last year was an above average rainfall year whereas this year is about average.
I roamed and rambled, and I foller'ed my footsteps
   To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
   And all around me a voice was a'sounding
   This land was made for you and me

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Offline Ranger Tim

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  • Vulpes vulpes
Re: Water Sources in the Contrabando/Solitario - December 2019
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2019, 09:16:18 AM »
Fortunately, our late rains have left abundant water in creeks, springs, and tinajas across the park.  As such, there are literally too many water sources to describe in the text of this response. If you have the BBRSP Exploration Map, you will find the springs marked with a little blue squiggly symbol, and most of the marked springs should have at least a little water right now. It has been a few years since I have traversed the Lower Shutup, but there was water in the channel in numerous locations, as well as in the deep tinaja below the house sized rock that obstructs the drainage about 1.5 miles from the Lower Shutup Trailhead. The most dependable water in the Solitario is at Tres Papalotes, though be advised that we have had many recent bear sightings in that area as well.

My greatest concern about this proposed route is the Lower Shutup itself. The LSU is a tricky and dangerous place. I've never gotten a satellite phone to function within its confines, and GPS signal is sketchy and inaccurate at best. There are also a few weird, tricky moves that one has to do to cross it, the most dangerous being that house-sized rock. If anything goes pear-shaped inside the LSU, there are no comms, no access, no place to land a helicopter, and no place to extract a wheeled litter. When you are in the LSU, you are on your own in every sense of the phrase. Remember where you are at all times and make good decisions.
"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 steelfrog

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Re: Water Sources in the Contrabando/Solitario - December 2019
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2019, 09:46:10 AM »
The way you describe it Tim, it just rocketed to the top of the "To Do" list!

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Offline liljavelina

  • Kangaroo Rat
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Re: Water Sources in the Contrabando/Solitario - December 2019
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2019, 02:36:22 PM »
Thank you so much Ranger Tim & DesertRat––trip postponed a few days so I can do more research and planning! I'm super excited & will link to a trip report when the time comes.

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Offline Ranger Tim

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  • Vulpes vulpes
Re: Water Sources in the Contrabando/Solitario - December 2019
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2019, 08:19:26 AM »
Please make sure and check in with us at the Barton Warnock Center to file your trip itinerary when you get your special use permit.
"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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