Friends of Big Bend National Park
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.


What first drew me to Black Gap and then Big Bend

  • 6 Replies
  • 311 Views
*

Offline Shocky1352

  • Kangaroo Rat
  • *
  • 10
What first drew me to Black Gap and then Big Bend
« on: November 11, 2017, 09:07:36 AM »
What drew me to Black Gap, and Big Bend as well, in the first place was an article in a fishing magazine.

I worked with a bunch of fisherman. These guys would sit and argue about, to me, the stupidest stuff, like whether a purple worm or a silver spinner was better for catching bass in the morning as opposed to the afternoon on days beginning with the letter 'S' in months beginning with the letter 'M'. Or at least that's what it sounded like to me.

 My idea of fishing is a cane pole, a short length of line, a bobber, a hook, and a worm. So whenever these guys started talking fishing I tuned them out or went off elsewhere.

One day I spotted a magazine laying there in the pile of other fishing related mags with the cover story "Catfishing the Rio Grande". I picked it up and went to the article.

It was a story about some guys going to a place called Black Gap Wildlife Management Area out in west Texas. They were in a couple of pickups, one pulling a trailer. They described how desolate and isolated the area was, and the fact you needed to bring EVERYTHING you would need for the trip including water, bacause there was none available in Black Gap. They were heading for some fish camps on the Rio Grande, about 26 or so miles away from the headquarters, which itself is about 20 miles down State Road 2627, off of 358 just before you get to Big Bend National Park.

The part that really grabbed my interest was their description of finally reaching the fish camps, and setting up camp. They had apparently just started looking around, and described how eerily quiet it was, just the sound of the river flowing by, when across the river from the Mexican side came two riders on horseback, both heavily armed with rifle and pistol. Neither spoke English but were trying to get some point across. The writer said it was a nervous few minutes before the riders finally managed to get the point across that they were looking for some goats that had strayed across the river. He said they gratefully accepted a cup of coffee, and then went back across the river and disappeared from view.

I said to myself at that moment "I have got to see this place!". But I also made a mental note to be uh, well, well armed myself. At this time Texas had not enacted its CHL program, so the only really legal way to be armed on the site was to have purchased the hunting version of the annual permit, and to be here during a designated hunting period. Now your CHL/LTC allows you to be legally armed in the WLMA even outside of hunting periods.

So in 1985, in my brand new 1985 Subaru station wagon, I made my first of many trips to Black Gap WMA. I had obtained the required permit, and after signing in at the sign-in structure, and studying the rather crude (but a heck of a lot better than I could have ever done) hand-drawn and xeroxed map of the facility provided, started off for the fish camps.

I can't remember how long it took to get there, but it was longer than it should because the map didn't show every road on the site, so more than once I turned onto a road, thinking it was one shown on the map, only to find out it wasn't, and having to backtrack. Fortunately my little 1985 Subaru wagon was fairly easy on the gas, as well as having 4WD with low range. More than once I also ended up sitting in the middle of a rocky intersection trying to calculate with the ruler on my compass, the rough scale on the map, and the trip meter on my car whether this was the road I was looking for or not.

I finally made my way there, and as advertised it was almost surreally silent. I could definitely hear the ringing in my ears caused by naval gunfire in my Navy days. I don't hear it in normal city background noise. You really could hear the river as it flowed by. I saw some horses grazing on a mountainside on the Mexican side, but no sight of human activity.

After waiting awhile to see if anybody would come across, I started back to the headquarters, and my chosen campsite for the night. The campsites at Black Gap have fire rings, and campfires are allowed, as opposed to the ones at Big Bend, so I always enjoyed camping there at least a couple of nights out of every week long trip to the area.

I've never made the trip back to the fish camps again, but it was a good memory.

*

Offline Slimkitty

  • Coyote
  • *
  • 142
Re: What first drew me to Black Gap and then Big Bend
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2017, 12:59:12 PM »

I finally made my way there, and as advertised it was almost surreally silent. I could definitely hear the ringing in my ears caused by naval gunfire in my Navy days. I don't hear it in normal city background noise.

+1 This.  I spent an evening at Elephant Tusk and experienced this same silence, ringing ears and all.  The only other time I experience that kind of silence is when the power goes out in my house in the middle of the night.



Sent from the future.

*

Offline rocketman

  • Off-Grid Space Cadet
  • Coyote
  • *
  • 186
Re: What first drew me to Black Gap and then Big Bend
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2017, 05:38:44 PM »
One thing I cherish about the Bend is that silence. I once heard a mosquito at 6 feet away, just before he landed on my ankle and bit me.
Making ice cubes FROM THE SUN!!!

*

Offline Shocky1352

  • Kangaroo Rat
  • *
  • 10
Re: What first drew me to Black Gap and then Big Bend
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2017, 12:30:00 AM »
One thing I cherish about the Bend is that silence. I once heard a mosquito at 6 feet away, just before he landed on my ankle and bit me.

I'm sure that lonely mosquito very much appreciated whatever sustenance you provided before you either swatted it away or smashed it.

*

Offline rocketman

  • Off-Grid Space Cadet
  • Coyote
  • *
  • 186
Re: What first drew me to Black Gap and then Big Bend
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2017, 07:12:55 PM »
Well, it didn't get much, that's for sure.
Making ice cubes FROM THE SUN!!!

*

Offline Buck

  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 709
  • Jose' is Lonely
Re: What first drew me to Black Gap and then Big Bend
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2017, 11:25:03 AM »
Reminds me of a sunset on the backside of Mariscal Mountain on one clear, November evening when the mountains way down in Mexico were visible.
"Hey, how 'bout a Fandango..?"

*

Offline BlindWilly

  • Overlander
  • Coyote
  • *
  • 208
    • TXpedition Offroad & Overland
Re: What first drew me to Black Gap and then Big Bend
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2017, 09:54:07 AM »
You've made me want to visit Black Gap WMA even more.
I was planning a trip out this year between Xmas and NYE, but a family member's health issues changed those plans.
So, as of now, it's next year (2018) that I'm planning 2 or 3 nights at Black Gap, then heading west toward the state park and finding Casa Ramon.
Granted, I might do that in reverse, but the thought of those two remote places is tugging at me.
"No matter where you go, there you are"
-Buckaroo Bonzai

www.txpedition.com

 


©COPYRIGHT NOTICE

All photographs and content posted by members are to be considered copyrighted by their respective owners and may not be used for any purposes, commercial or otherwise, without permission.

+-Calendar For Sale

 2017 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!

Powered by EzPortal

Facebook Comments