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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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Elephant Tusk to Smoky Creek?

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Offline TheWildWestGuy

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Re: Elephant Tusk to Smoky Creek?
« Reply #30 on: November 23, 2010, 07:16:15 AM »
I agree about Oak Springs not being Fossil Water but I wouldn't have expected it to be either.  It's the biggest spring in the Park after all.  That does not prove that other springs especially those with a baseline flow even during drought conditions (like Dominquez and Fisk) don't contain fossil water.  I am not sure about the age of the Hot Springs water - and of course I lent my pamphlet to someone yesterday.  Anyone know? 

All your proposed routes so far look interesting and you seem to be well prepared but I have never been around the front side (South side) of Dominquez and it looks like it could be rough going.  The hike across Jacks Pass into the Smokey Creek Valley is challenging but worth the effort and a very quiet and isolated area.   TWWG

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Offline TheWildWestGuy

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Re: Elephant Tusk to Smoky Creek?
« Reply #31 on: November 23, 2010, 08:54:36 PM »
Nice photo QS.  Several years ago I was basecamped at ET at the spring (#2) that is about 1/2 mile up the drainage from the Cottonwood tree.  This spring is usually reliable and has a good camping spot above it that I like better than the area near the cottonwood.  There is a large flat rock good for a table and a clear area for a tent on level ground.   I made basecamp the first day and then circum-navigated ET the second day going through the arroyo on the North side near where you picture was taken then dropping down into the drainage around Backbone Ridge and out into the alluvial plain below it.  There was flowing water in some spots in this drainage but it didn't look reliable in dry years.  I then cut across the ravines on the South side of ET back to the main ET trail and back to camp.  It was a challenging day hike especially the cross country on the S. side of ET where numerous ravines and arroyo's that are not apparent on the topo map exist.  A lot of treacherous obstacles can be hidden below the contour resolution.  In hindesight I should have gone down further onto the alluvial fan where things would have flattened out a bit but I hugged it too close to the Tusk and suffered the death of a thousand cuts from cats claw and several falls on the coarse conglomerates in this area.    TWWG

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Offline Al

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Re: Elephant Tusk to Smoky Creek?
« Reply #32 on: November 23, 2010, 09:35:38 PM »
QS, I don't think we have enough info to know if one or more of the unnamed springs are permanent for practical purposes.  I am like you and have found water, with great joy, during each of my several hikes to ET.

Al

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Offline TheWildWestGuy

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Re: Elephant Tusk to Smoky Creek?
« Reply #33 on: November 24, 2010, 07:21:49 AM »
Right now I would say there is a "good" (~90%) chance of finding water at the Tusk either from the Cottonwood tree spring (#1) or at spring #2 about 1/2 mile further North along the trail towards Fresno Creek.  That said bring enough to get back out in case I am wrong.  You could also go downstream from the Cottonwood tree into the canyon and look for tinajas holding water, as I recall there are several large one's, bring a light cord about 25' long to tie onto your water bottle so you can safely bail water out of them from above, they can be hard to get into.  This trick also works on the Mesa Anguila.
QS - I like that campsite in the saddle between ET and Fresno drainages as well and camped there once - it has much better views but is a longer trek to get water out of Fresno Creek.  It's a better site if one is throughgoing into Fresno rather than basecamping to dayhike around the Tusk.   Your right though it is a great spot, not many like it.   TWWG

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Offline Verduretiger

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Re: Elephant Tusk to Smoky Creek?
« Reply #34 on: November 24, 2010, 03:09:00 PM »
I will spend the night at that saddle or at the Dodson Ranch House on the third night.  A few years ago I spent two nights at the saddle in a three day rainy January trip.  It would let up in the PM and we explored till it started raining again.   We finally just hiked to Wilson and caught a ride.

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Offline badknees

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Re: Elephant Tusk to Smoky Creek?
« Reply #35 on: November 25, 2010, 08:02:59 AM »
Water info

Here are some quotes.....

Oxygen and hydrogen stable isotope data indicate that all
water samples from Big Bend are of meteoric origin (have participated
in an atmospheric cycle) and generally enter the surface
and subsurface water cycle as rainfall.

Water samples collected from BBNP show a large range of chemical compositions and complex histories of subsurface flow and reaction. Helium-tritium data show that most drinking water sources in BBNP are mixed waters with both young and older components. Exceptions are K-Bar water, which predates nuclear bomb testing (>50 yr), and Cottonwood well water, which is mostly young (0?5 yr). Noble gas solubility calculations show that RGV well water and Oak Spring water are recharged at higher elevations in surrounding mountains. Hot spring water found at RGV has a relatively long residence time during subsurface flow and is geothermally heated along the flow path, which probably follows N-S trending fault zones.


KBAR and PJ
Water from production wells at Panther Junction and K-Bar is produced from subsurface aquifers in tuffaceous sandstone of the Tertiary Chisos Formation (Abbott, 1983; Gibson, 1983); this water has reacted mainly with rhyolitic ash. Helium-tritium data indicate that K-Bar water is mostly older than 50 yrs and Panther Junction water is mixed water with roughly equal proportions of old water and young water. Panther Junction and K-Bar waters have some of the lowest dissolved solids in BBNP and are sources of good quality water.

Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
http://mirrormagic.com

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Offline Verduretiger

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Re: Elephant Tusk to Smoky Creek?
« Reply #36 on: November 26, 2010, 08:42:51 AM »
Will do. 

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Offline wild.open.spaces

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Re: Elephant Tusk to Smoky Creek?
« Reply #37 on: January 01, 2011, 04:44:49 PM »
Trip report has been posted in the trip report section! What a great trip!
« Last Edit: January 01, 2011, 05:29:57 PM by RichardM »

 


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