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.

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Desert Hiking Safety Suggestions

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Offline steelfrog

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Re: Desert Hiking Safety Suggestions
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2013, 05:20:13 PM »
Then you can head down the west side and wind your way through the washes etc. you can see Trap mist if the wayang if course mule ears so getting lost would be pretty hard.

Thanks for the response Steel.  I've read the last half of this several times.  There must be some typos in here or some references I'm not familiar with.  It may need an edit.
  Nope.  Your two big landmarks are Trap Mountain, in the vicinity of the trailhead, and Mule Ears.  If you can see the two of them I think it would be impossible to be really lost.  And, this area has enough ruggedness and routefinding difficulty to make things interesting but I don't think you should be in danger.  Unless you do something dumb.  Then you have a good story to tell

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Offline Reece

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Re: Desert Hiking Safety Suggestions
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2013, 05:46:53 PM »
I think I get it, Steel. You're suggesting that a beginner should hike a location with good landmarks, like Mule Ears to practice navigation with map and compass? Harder to get lost.

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Offline kevint

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Re: Desert Hiking Safety Suggestions
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2013, 06:06:27 PM »
Then you can head down the west side and wind your way through the washes etc. you can see Trap mist if the wayang if course mule ears so getting lost would be pretty hard.

Thanks for the response Steel.  I've read the last half of this several times.  There must be some typos in here or some references I'm not familiar with.  It may need an edit.
  Nope.  Your two big landmarks are Trap Mountain, in the vicinity of the trailhead, and Mule Ears.  If you can see the two of them I think it would be impossible to be really lost.  And, this area has enough ruggedness and routefinding difficulty to make things interesting but I don't think you should be in danger.  Unless you do something dumb.  Then you have a good story to tell

I wasn't familiar with Trap Mountain. Still not sure about the mist and the wayang.
-- Kevin (W5KLT)

"It's not an adventure until something goes wrong."  --Yvon Chouinard

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Offline steelfrog

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Re: Desert Hiking Safety Suggestions
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2013, 10:56:11 PM »
I think I get it, Steel. You're suggesting that a beginner should hike a location with good landmarks, like Mule Ears to practice navigation with map and compass? Harder to get lost.
. Precisely. Although, as I said, pretty rugged terrain

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Desert Hiking Safety Suggestions
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2013, 10:58:43 PM »
Then you can head down the west side and wind your way through the washes etc. you can see Trap mist if the wayang if course mule ears so getting lost would be pretty hard.

Thanks for the response Steel.  I've read the last half of this several times.  There must be some typos in here or some references I'm not familiar with.  It may need an edit.
  Nope.  Your two big landmarks are Trap Mountain, in the vicinity of the trailhead, and Mule Ears.  If you can see the two of them I think it would be impossible to be really lost.  And, this area has enough ruggedness and routefinding difficulty to make things interesting but I don't think you should be in danger.  Unless you do something dumb.  Then you have a good story to tell

I wasn't familiar with Trap Mountain. Still not sure about the mist and the wayang.
<sigh>
Allow me to translate:  "mist if the wayang if" = "most of the way and of"

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Offline kevint

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Desert Hiking Safety Suggestions
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2013, 11:01:26 PM »
Richard,

Thanks.  I  don't know why I couldn't get that.
-- Kevin (W5KLT)

"It's not an adventure until something goes wrong."  --Yvon Chouinard

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Offline Hang10er

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Re: Desert Hiking Safety Suggestions
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2013, 10:59:41 AM »
Where's a good place for TOPO maps?  I've downloaded a few from BBRSP web site but only one has decent resolution.  In reading some of these strings it looks like you might be able to get them at the visitor's center (Warnock).  We are just doing some short 1/2 day hikes but I'd like to have a better topo to take with us.

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Offline kevint

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Re: Desert Hiking Safety Suggestions
« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2013, 11:11:11 AM »
Where's a good place for TOPO maps?  I've downloaded a few from BBRSP web site but only one has decent resolution.  In reading some of these strings it looks like you might be able to get them at the visitor's center (Warnock).  We are just doing some short 1/2 day hikes but I'd like to have a better topo to take with us.

You an always get them from here:
 
http://store.usgs.gov/b2c_usgs/usgs/maplocator/(xcm=r3standardpitrex_prd&layout=6_1_61_48&uiarea=2&ctype=areaDetails&carea=%24ROOT)/.do
 
Zoom in on the area, switch to the mode to place a marker and then click on that marker to see all the maps available.  I sometimes find that a slightly older map is of better quality and have features that are no longer carried.
-- Kevin (W5KLT)

"It's not an adventure until something goes wrong."  --Yvon Chouinard

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Offline dprather

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Re: Desert Hiking Safety Suggestions
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2013, 12:37:52 PM »
My amigo and I POUR over mapS of the area we're about to travel. 

We're really not satisfied until we can recreate the field thoroughly in our mind.   

By doing this, with all of the necessary practice and skills necessary to effectively use map and compass int he first place, the terrain, criticle landmarks, and directions just sorta become part of you.  It's kinda like creating informed judgment and a test for reasonableness.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline Picacho

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Re: Desert Hiking Safety Suggestions
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2013, 12:53:54 PM »
Where's a good place for TOPO maps?  I've downloaded a few from BBRSP web site but only one has decent resolution.  In reading some of these strings it looks like you might be able to get them at the visitor's center (Warnock).  We are just doing some short 1/2 day hikes but I'd like to have a better topo to take with us.

You can download full blown USGS topo maps here.  I download them in .tiff format.

http://libremap.org/data/

Obviously the maps will be only as big as your printer.  You zoom in using the .tiff file (quality won't fade as you zoom in), take a screenshot and print it out.  Like the one I attached.

One other suggestion, if you are on a trail like Mule Ears or Elephant Tusk and you lose the trail, stop, go back and find the trail where you lost it, then look really hard for its continuation.  You will most likely lose the trail altogether if you keep going hoping you will find the trail again. 

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Online presidio

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Re: Desert Hiking Safety Suggestions
« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2013, 01:54:44 PM »
One other suggestion, if you are on a trail like Mule Ears or Elephant Tusk and you lose the trail, stop, go back and find the trail where you lost it, then look really hard for its continuation.  You will most likely lose the trail altogether if you keep going hoping you will find the trail again.

While it does take a bit of a practiced eye, especially if the majority of hiking experience is of the maintained trail variety, picking out a faint trail actually is fairly easily doable. Taking the big view and detecting the non-natural, non-random patterns usually will reveal the correct route.

Same technique is used by archeologists to scan an area and see the things that couldn't possibly be naturally occurring.

Faint game trails and foot trails are especially apparent in desert terrain.

This is like some folks being able to instantly see rock art and others asking "where?"
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<  presidio  >
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline Jonathan Sadow

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Re: Desert Hiking Safety Suggestions
« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2013, 06:43:47 PM »
Where's a good place for TOPO maps?  I've downloaded a few from BBRSP web site but only one has decent resolution.  In reading some of these strings it looks like you might be able to get them at the visitor's center (Warnock).  We are just doing some short 1/2 day hikes but I'd like to have a better topo to take with us.

As for the specific case of Big Bend Ranch State Park, topographic maps that cover the areal extent of the park are available at the Sauceda headquarters complex.  The rangers there can help you select the proper ones needed for your purposes.  The maps on the BBRSP website are from the "Discovery Map" of the park and only show contour intervals of 160 feet, not the 20-foot contour intervals typical of USGS quadrangle maps.

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Offline Robert

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Re: Desert Hiking Safety Suggestions
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2013, 08:07:23 PM »
Where's a good place for TOPO maps?

I order mine from MyTopo.com. You can create customized topos with options for shading, waterproof paper, or pre-folded and can upload your routes to be printed right on the map. Potentially you could save money if combining portions of the standard 1:24k maps into one map. Not free but for about $30 I can usually get my week long trips into 2 maps.

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Offline badknees

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Re: Desert Hiking Safety Suggestions
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2013, 08:28:59 PM »
Try this..

http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/

You can roll your own and if you want to print them on some waterproof, tough-ass paper, try this:

http://www.natgeomaps.com/adventure_paper.html It is available in 3 sizes and available online or at REI. I've even found it at BassPro occasionally.

You can throw this stuff in a bucket of water overnight and it won't bleed, run or tear.
Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
http://mirrormagic.com

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Offline halljf

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Re: Desert Hiking Safety Suggestions
« Reply #29 on: December 22, 2013, 02:48:42 PM »
My wife and 21 yro daughter have been vacationing in The Big Bend since the mid-90s and discovered BBRSP 8 years ago. Our day hikes in BBRSP always include gear/provisions in case we are forced to overnight in the backcountry.  Long underwear, multiple clothing layers, bivy blankets, hi-energy bars, extra water, GPS, detailed maps, SAT phone, etc.  I also required my family to read "Death in the Big Bend" which details SAR/Rs that occurred in BBNP over the last 20 years.  This is no country for old men and/or unprepared novices.  The Big Bend of Texas is a wonderful place to visit but I do not want to die there.

J. Hall

 


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