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Ernst Basin trails and Carlota tinaja

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Offline mule ears

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Ernst Basin trails and Carlota tinaja
« on: July 28, 2013, 03:45:42 PM »
So I am working on this winters trip plan and am looking for any information on the Ernst Basin trails from say Willow Tank all the way to the Old Ore Terminal.  I have see all the posts concerning Old Ore to and from the Bouquillas road but none from Old Ore Terminal north.  Anyone walked these?  Of course I have Parent's descriptions but any other thoughts, things to check out?

As to Carlota tinaja, how reliable is it to have water in December?  I know it depends on the year but is it like Ernst tinaja that almost always has water?  Do the rangers check it out often enough to have reliable info about it?  It would make the water carry much easier if we can get some water from Carlota.

As always, looking for your collective wisdom and experience.   :notworthy:
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: Ernst Basin trails and Carlota tinaja
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2013, 03:55:01 PM »
So I am working on this winters trip plan and am looking for any information on the Ernst Basin trails from say Willow Tank all the way to the Old Ore Terminal.  I have see all the posts concerning Old Ore to and from the Bouquillas road but none from Old Ore Terminal north.  Anyone walked these?  Of course I have Parent's descriptions but any other thoughts, things to check out?

As to Carlota tinaja, how reliable is it to have water in December?  I know it depends on the year but is it like Ernst tinaja that almost always has water?  Do the rangers check it out often enough to have reliable info about it?  It would make the water carry much easier if we can get some water from Carlota.

As always, looking for your collective wisdom and experience.   :notworthy:

I think Carlotta is more exposed to the sun and evaporation than Ernst. I don't know if there is faulting there either. My last visit there was in November and it was still holding lots of water. I suspect that with some summer and/or fall rains, December would be OK. You should be able to put out a request for reports and get some feedback from anyone who drives the OOR. The tinaja is visible from the road.
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Offline Zopilote

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Re: Ernst Basin trails and Carlota tinaja
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2013, 08:45:58 AM »
"Trails Illustrated" gives a good idea of the trails to the Ore Terminal. I have hiked all of them and then some. Check out GoogleMaps, those are old roads in Earnst Basin ("ValleVerde"). From Willow Tank you can follow the old road or take the canyon to Carlota. Lots'a shade and stuff in the canyon. There is a cutoff road that bye-passed the switchback on Old O R. It is S. of Carlota Tinaja. I have taken the trail from De Leon into E Basin over to the more northern road to the Terminal, then out the southern way to Ernst. The fastest way to the Terminal is the trail 3/4 miles up the Boquillas overlook road. I've hiked Ernst Ridge from the tunel over to the OreT, then out the canyon trail to Boquillas overlook rd. My least favorite route is the "official" Terminal trail. It just seems long and boring. Back to Trails Illustrated, it gives a good idea of the area. Easy to cache water. Enjoy:  Z

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Offline The Scorpion

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Re: Ernst Basin trails and Carlota tinaja
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2013, 10:20:16 AM »
there was a fair amount of water there this past march. I will be there again at the end of August and will report back. I know from August to December things can change, but at least it will give you an idea.


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Offline mule ears

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Re: Ernst Basin trails and Carlota tinaja
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2013, 01:19:14 PM »
Great stuff so far, keep it coming.  :13:

... take the canyon to Carlota. Lots'a shade and stuff in the canyon....

It does look like good things to see in Carlota's wash and canyon.

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Easy to cache water. Enjoy:  Z

Only if you have a high clearance vehicle to drive the OOR which I won't have, which is why water in Carlota is important.

Thanks BK and SV, I didn't realize you could see it so easily from the road so maybe I can easily get some accurate reports in Dec.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline WayPoint15

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Re: Ernst Basin trails and Carlota tinaja
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2013, 02:49:25 PM »
I will be in the area mid-August, I will post a report for Ernst and Carlota.

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Offline The Scorpion

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Re: Ernst Basin trails and Carlota tinaja
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2013, 10:09:54 PM »

Only if you have a high clearance vehicle to drive the OOR which I won't have, which is why water in Carlota is important.

Old Ore Road is not that bad, depending on the car / tires you have you could probably make it back there. I have seen mini vans and other small cars back there, so its not at all impossible, they just state a high clearance vehicle is recommended to cover their ass.  There are really only a few spots of concern for low clearance vehicles out to Carlota from where you enter from the park road near the RGV area.
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Offline mule ears

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Re: Ernst Basin trails and Carlota tinaja
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2013, 06:04:56 AM »

Only if you have a high clearance vehicle to drive the OOR which I won't have, which is why water in Carlota is important.

Old Ore Road is not that bad, depending on the car / tires you have you could probably make it back there. I have seen mini vans and other small cars back there, so its not at all impossible, they just state a high clearance vehicle is recommended to cover their ass.  There are really only a few spots of concern for low clearance vehicles out to Carlota from where you enter from the park road near the RGV area.

It is these kinds of posts that make me not want to take a rental car down it.

Yeah, Old Ore is gonna be a bit of a stretch. I would vote against it.  Save it for another trip.

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I agree. There is a really rocky stretch on the south end not far from the blacktop. High clearance will save an oil pan or a tranny housing. Still it can probably be done and I have done it in a car before. I would not choose that option again. From Ernst northward is a definite high clearance road over much of the distance.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline Juan Cuatro Lados

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Re: Ernst Basin trails and Carlota tinaja
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2013, 07:27:37 PM »
Have walked from the Ore Terminal to Willow Tank a goodly number of times (wrote the trail description for the hiker's guide), very do-able and a fine walk along old roadways, boredom depends on the eye of the beholder - if you don't like walking through the desert, why go there anyway?.  Haven't been to Ernst or Carlotta Tinajas this summer but with a couple of normal cloudbursts and good runoffs through the canyons there oughta be water.  Ought to.  Be ready to filter or treat it, I well remember having to help remove a long-dead mule deer buck from Ernst.
You might be well-advised to stash some agua for the hike.

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Ernst Basin trails and Carlota tinaja
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2013, 07:53:30 PM »
...boredom depends on the eye of the beholder - if you don't like walking through the desert, why go there anyway?...  .

Thanks JCL, always a good insight into the area. 
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline stingrey

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Re: Ernst Basin trails and Carlota tinaja
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2013, 12:03:45 PM »
I made it to Ernst Tinaja in my Acura RDX just fine. I may be the ONLY person who has taken an Acura off road (two times in two different Acuras, took my TL down that unpaved road across from Sam Nail). Point is that you can EASILY make it to Ernst Tinaja in a car with sport suspension and "normal" clearance as long as you don't go driving into the rutted parts of the road.

The RDX did better on that road and out by Glenn Spring than it did on the washboarded "Old Maverick" road which to me should've been the simplest road to do in a car, rental or otherwise. Now I most definitely would not have been able to make it ALL the way down Old Ore, but the fact is if you are not trying to fly through the road and if you are driving your car so that the high hump is not right in the center of your undercarriage the whole time, you can probably get by without incident.

My TL wouldn't have made it comfortably with the 5.7 inches of clearance, but the RDX with only 8 inches did ok. IF you rent a standard or compact SUV, ESP a Ford Escape, you should easily be able to make this journey in the rental without having any issues. Only reason I'm chipping in for the car alternative is because you are going in December. While you will likely be fine with weather/temps/etc, don't forget that you can be lulled into dehydration in cooler temps possibly more easily than when it is warmer outside.

That and though you could filter water from Ernst, I've heard of plenty of dead animals (most recently a deer) floating in that tinaja in particular when they fell in while getting a drink. I'm down for filtering, but maybe not so much when I know bones and meat might be somewhere beneath the surface adding to that fresh tinaja taste that can only be had from slowly decomposing flesh and bones. Then again, that might add to the adventure!

"Taste the Tinaja!" :)
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Offline tjavery

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Re: Ernst Basin trails and Carlota tinaja
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2013, 05:38:31 PM »
"Taste the Tinaja!" :)

I think we need a new bumper sticker  :icon_wink:

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Ernst Basin trails and Carlota tinaja
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2013, 06:43:17 PM »
I made it to Ernst Tinaja in my Acura RDX just fine. I may be the ONLY person who has taken an Acura off road (two times in two different Acuras, took my TL down that unpaved road across from Sam Nail). Point is that you can EASILY make it to Ernst Tinaja in a car with sport suspension and "normal" clearance as long as you don't go driving into the rutted parts of the road.

The RDX did better on that road and out by Glenn Spring than it did on the washboarded "Old Maverick" road which to me should've been the simplest road to do in a car, rental or otherwise. Now I most definitely would not have been able to make it ALL the way down Old Ore, but the fact is if you are not trying to fly through the road and if you are driving your car so that the high hump is not right in the center of your undercarriage the whole time, you can probably get by without incident.

My TL wouldn't have made it comfortably with the 5.7 inches of clearance, but the RDX with only 8 inches did ok. IF you rent a standard or compact SUV, ESP a Ford Escape, you should easily be able to make this journey in the rental without having any issues. Only reason I'm chipping in for the car alternative is because you are going in December. While you will likely be fine with weather/temps/etc, don't forget that you can be lulled into dehydration in cooler temps possibly more easily than when it is warmer outside.

Well I have driven a rental car down both Glenn Springs road (to the Juniper turn off) and Terlingua Abajo without consequences  :icon_biggrin:

Quote
That and though you could filter water from Ernst, I've heard of plenty of dead animals (most recently a deer) floating in that tinaja in particular when they fell in while getting a drink. I'm down for filtering, but maybe not so much when I know bones and meat might be somewhere beneath the surface adding to that fresh tinaja taste that can only be had from slowly decomposing flesh and bones. Then again, that might add to the adventure!

"Taste the Tinaja!" :)

I figure if you have treated and drunk the Rio water that a little critter in a tinaja isn't any different, maybe better.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline The Scorpion

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Re: Ernst Basin trails and Carlota tinaja
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2013, 09:31:47 PM »
"Taste the Tinaja!" :)

I think we need a new bumper sticker  :icon_wink:


hey, it is very colorful back there, kind a like a rainbow, but in more "earthy" tones
everything is better with bacon!!!

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