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All hikes begin in Big Bend

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Offline Keepa

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All hikes begin in Big Bend
« on: February 14, 2019, 07:43:21 PM »
I will be in Big Bend on March 10, on my way to Arizona. I will be starting my thru-hike of the Arizona Trail on March 23. I am going to do a small loop hike in BB to test-run my AZT gear. One option for the loop is from K-Bar to Banta Shutin, to Grapevine hills, to Lone Mountain, to Panther Junction, to K-Bar.

My question is: how reliable are the following springs?

Quail Spring
Hannold Spring A
Hannold Spring B
Neville Spring
Fertile Sands
Grapevine Spring
Estufa Spring

I can cache water at Nina Hannold's grave (from death comes life!) if I have to.

Another issue is it will be spring break. Aside from the long lines, I should have no problems getting zone camping permits.  I can arrive 1-3 days later, if that would help with avoiding the crowds.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2019, 08:09:24 PM by Keepa »

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Offline mule ears

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Re: All hikes begin in Big Bend
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2019, 05:47:18 AM »
Sounds like an interesting loop and you will have no trouble getting any permits for that even during spring break.  Could be hot down that low though.

Unfortunately none of those springs will have any water with the exception of Grapevine Hills.   I was at all of them (except Grapevine and Estufa) in Dec. after a wet period and year and none had water.  I have never heard a report of water at Estufa but badknees or someone else may have better info.  Caching will be your friend except that technically you have to cache even water in a bear canister.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline badknees

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Re: All hikes begin in Big Bend
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2019, 07:43:54 AM »
Sounds like an interesting loop and you will have no trouble getting any permits for that even during spring break.  Could be hot down that low though.

Unfortunately none of those springs will have any water with the exception of Grapevine Hills.   I was at all of them (except Grapevine and Estufa) in Dec. after a wet period and year and none had water.  I have never heard a report of water at Estufa but badknees or someone else may have better info.  Caching will be your friend except that technically you have to cache even water in a bear canister.

I think Estufa is a zero chance.
While I defer to ME's latest on-the- ground report, I was surprised that there was zero water at Neville.

However, I have had multiple occasions to find water at an unmarked spring. It is near 2 marked springs (Quail and Fertile Sands), where I have never seen water.

It is located in a small canyon at N29.37725 W103.18106

I found water there in the month of August and the also in the month of February, years apart.

Month of August


Month of February


This spring is pretty close to Nina Hannold's grave, so caching may still be appropriate due to the fickle nature of springs. But It is probably worth a look to check the status.
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Offline Keepa

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Re: All hikes begin in Big Bend
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2019, 09:18:42 AM »
Thank you Mule Ears and Badknees. I will check out that unnamed spring before I start my hike, it's just one mile from the road.

I am counting on Banta Shutins and Grapevine Hills Spring having water, so I really don't have to cache.


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Offline Flash

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Re: All hikes begin in Big Bend
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2019, 09:23:43 AM »
In April of 2018, I passed by Estufa Spring, found no water, but there was lots of thriving plant life.

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: All hikes begin in Big Bend
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2019, 02:17:15 PM »
This is gonna be a great trip. Sounds like you have the  bare minimum of water sources nailed. including PJ, too, right?  I hope you get a chance to report back on BK's unnamed spring. That one's new to me, too.

Impressive that this tough BiBe hike is only a shake-down before your AZT. Hope you can post a report on that one, too, when you're done. Good luck, Keepa!
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Keepa

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Re: All hikes begin in Big Bend
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2019, 03:05:20 PM »
This is gonna be a great trip. Sounds like you have the  bare minimum of water sources nailed. including PJ, too, right?  I hope you get a chance to report back on BK's unnamed spring. That one's new to me, too.

Impressive that this tough BiBe hike is only a shake-down before your AZT. Hope you can post a report on that one, too, when you're done. Good luck, Keepa!

Yes, I will stop by PJ.

I will post my AZT report after I finish at the end of May. I am very excited about this. I have been wanting to do it for 2 years. This year it seems everything converged and made it possible.

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Offline Keepa

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Re: All hikes begin in Big Bend
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2019, 05:49:54 PM »
For those who are interested, here's my gear list for the Arizona Trail.


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Offline mule ears

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Re: All hikes begin in Big Bend
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2019, 07:29:59 PM »
Pretty sweet list.  Have you use the Arc Haul much?
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline Keepa

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Re: All hikes begin in Big Bend
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2019, 08:08:37 PM »
Pretty sweet list.  Have you use the Arc Haul much?

Yes, a few times. The first time I used it was in Big Bend last February. I was amazed by it's fit and comfort, as well as it's ability to carry the weight without my feeling it. We'll see how it feels over the long haul. I have high expectations.

ZPacks is blowing everyone away with their products.

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Offline Keepa

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Re: All hikes begin in Big Bend
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2019, 08:14:13 PM »
I will be using a wood stove for all parts of the AZT except the Grand Canyon (I have two gel packs for that). So I am not carrying any fuel. Plus having a fire, even a small one, is relaxing  :icon_smile:

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: All hikes begin in Big Bend
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2019, 02:47:58 PM »
Thanks for posting your equipment list, Keepa. Fascinating and really well-thought-out. I've heard of the Caldera Cone for years, but never really taken a good long look at it because most places I go don't allow alcohol or wood-burning stoves. I did have a Sierra Zip stove for years, but I can't remember the last time I used it. But your Ti-tri intrigued me. I spent a good couple of hours researching it and similar stoves. Well-spent time that I wouldn't have done otherwise. I have a home-made titanium windscreen and the Caldera Cone and Ti-tri have given me all kinds of ideas. Thanks!
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Keepa

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Re: All hikes begin in Big Bend
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2019, 06:16:16 PM »
Thanks for posting your equipment list, Keepa. Fascinating and really well-thought-out. I've heard of the Caldera Cone for years, but never really taken a good long look at it because most places I go don't allow alcohol or wood-burning stoves. I did have a Sierra Zip stove for years, but I can't remember the last time I used it. But your Ti-tri intrigued me. I spent a good couple of hours researching it and similar stoves. Well-spent time that I wouldn't have done otherwise. I have a home-made titanium windscreen and the Caldera Cone and Ti-tri have given me all kinds of ideas. Thanks!

You are welcome! I have used the Ti Tri many times with the alcohol stove, and once burning wood. It's fast to setup, has great wind protection, and weighs next to nothing. For alcohol mode (just the cone and stove) it weighs only 1.5 ounces! In wood mode all pieces are required except stove and stakes. It's 2.8 ounces. The floor is optional, but I bring it to avoid burning the ground.

Though I will be using wood, I am bringing the alcohol stove just in case. At .4 ounces it's not a weight hit. But I will not carry alcohol unless I decide to switch.

Random tip: a cotton swab burns for 40-60 seconds, giving you a very long lasting match -- and also doubles as a wax remover  :icon_biggrin:
« Last Edit: February 16, 2019, 06:47:06 PM by Keepa »

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Offline Keepa

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Re: All hikes begin in Big Bend
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2019, 02:10:28 PM »
Tip: the Planters Peanuts jar has the same cap and thread as a Nalgene bottle, but weighs more than half as less as the lightest Nalgene bottle (the white Nalgenes weigh 3.8oz, the colored, clear ones weigh 6oz, last time I checked).

The wide mouth of the jar allows me to use my Steripen, if need be.

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: All hikes begin in Big Bend
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2019, 02:49:47 PM »
Tip: the Planters Peanuts jar has the same cap and thread as a Nalgene bottle, but weighs more than half as less as the lightest Nalgene bottle (the white Nalgenes weigh 3.8oz, the colored, clear ones weigh 6oz, last time I checked).

The wide mouth of the jar allows me to use my Steripen, if need be.

:great:

Look what I stumbled upon last night: 0.5 ounce per liter bottle!!!!  Sadly, the narrow mouth probably won't work with a Steripen, but still.......wow.

https://www.rei.com/product/153059/sawyer-1-liter-ultralight-squeeze-pouches-32-fl-oz-package-of-3?sku=1530590001&store=45&cm_mmc=PLA_Google_LIA|404_1050507823|1530590001|none|2cfc797a-6ab0-4d94-9a46-13030a4e0b26|aud-363396065004:pla-390185643510&lsft=cm_mmc:PLA_Google_LIA|404_1050507823|1530590001|none|2cfc797a-6ab0-4d94-9a46-13030a4e0b26&kclid=2cfc797a-6ab0-4d94-9a46-13030a4e0b26&gclid=CjwKCAiAhp_jBRAxEiwAXbniXQ1IBLBHgI5mcnQWEhYp6QGwK-xXO5pcOnp4fv-7lSQ2E6K493uTABoCvXsQAvD_BwE
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