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Smoky Creek Map help - from you electronic wizards

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Offline dprather

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Re: Smoky Creek Map help - from you electronic wizards
« Reply #30 on: November 03, 2016, 09:09:14 AM »
That's some high-quality advice.  Thanks.  What should I look for?

Just look.....

Understood
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline dprather

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Re: Smoky Creek Map help - from you electronic wizards
« Reply #31 on: November 03, 2016, 02:55:54 PM »
This is NOT "high quality advice" that you can get from others, just a different idea.  We found and used an old trail that proved to be fun and a little off-trail challenging on a trip a few years ago.  It kept us from climbing the big hill south of Homer and dropped us on the Smokey Creek trail north of Surgerloaf.    Look at the maps on this trip report. 

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/your-trip-reports/hot-valentine's-get-a-way!/msg130869/#msg130869

If you made Homer the first night( a heck of a hump, but light weight using the bear box for water), and used the cut off trail we used, you could make it fairly easily to that real nice campsite at Mule Ears overlook.  This would have you see the black rock canyon area.

Or, as you probably have thought about it, just walk ME path backwards past Goat mountain.

Both ideas work for a 2 night/3day adventure.

Also high quality stuff.

That first day is a bummer, but it is necessitated by current Park closures.  I can't camp in the beautiful oaks area of Blue Creek.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline dprather

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Re: Smoky Creek Map help - from you electronic wizards
« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2016, 03:00:56 PM »
PS: I'll be going solo.

I've done the OML and Arkansas' Eagle Rock loop solo before. 

Are there any "contraindications" for doing Basin to Mule Ears solo?
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline Robert

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Re: Smoky Creek Map help - from you electronic wizards
« Reply #33 on: November 03, 2016, 04:08:34 PM »
PS: I'll be going solo.

I've done the OML and Arkansas' Eagle Rock loop solo before. 

Are there any "contraindications" for doing Basin to Mule Ears solo?

Yes, for many reasons.
1) It is a rugged hike, there are sections of the route on non-maintained trails with lots of ups and downs.
2) The non-maintained sections are not as clearly marked nor as well defined as other maintained trails in the park (such as the Dodson trail). Much of the Smoky Creek trail consists of walking in and out of a dry wash. People have missed small cairns marking where the trail exits the wash. In some cases this may cause you to lose the trail entirely.
3) Some topo maps do not accurately show the correct route such as where the Mule Ears trail intersects with Smoky Creek and where Smoky Creek trail rejoins the main Smoky Creek drainage northeast of Sugarloaf Mountain (pk 4685). Read the Parent book, "Hiking Big Bend" on the Smoky Creek trail for an accurate description of the errors.

You must know the route and be able to navigate it correctly. There are other trip reports where people got off the route and got confused about where they were. I would suggest you search the terms "Smoky Creek" and read all the posts.


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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Smoky Creek Map help - from you electronic wizards
« Reply #34 on: November 03, 2016, 04:29:22 PM »
PS: I'll be going solo.

I've done the OML and Arkansas' Eagle Rock loop solo before. 

Are there any "contraindications" for doing Basin to Mule Ears solo?

I was just about to say "no", but Robert makes a good point.

I've done the Chisos and Blue Creek Canyon sections many times, but the Smoky Creek Trail only once as a long dayhike from a basecamp on the Dodson, and I only went as far as the Mule Ears.  I agree with Robert: route finding along the Smoky Creek trail takes significantly more concentration than do any of the trails in the Chisos or Blue Creek Canyon. It's really interesting terrain but far fewer people venture out there so the trail is not as well-worn by usage, and the cairns aren't carefully maintained.  You'll need a detailed map and the skills to make sure you don't wander off your intended route. On the plus side, you'll be going DOWN wash, which is much less confusing than going UP wash. I found this out, painfully, when I reversed course and tried to finish my dayhike back to camp on the Dodson.

The one thing to think about might be bears. Clearly, there are more of them out and about this year. It's not yet time for them to den so they'll be on the move and chowing down. You could definitely run into some in the Chisos and Blue Creek Canyon, and maybe even along the Smoky Creek Trail. I've been thinking about bears since I plan on being in that area in a few weeks. I'm going to take a few precautions with my food and other smellies: sealing them up in ziplocs (ALokSaks are supposed to be odor-proof, but I'm not sure they really work any better than industrial-strength ziplocs). I'm also putting my food into an Ursack. And I'll tie up at night - probably to a large rock, since there are no tree in the desert - at a good distance away from my camp.  Night-time food raids may be your biggest worry,and even then the culprits aren't likely to be bears. General daytime bear encounters shouldn't be that big a deal.  Bears won't really be interested in you, unless cubs are present, and then just give them space and time. I don't carry bear spray, it seems like overkill outside of grizzly territory. But I do carry a 1.5oz airhorn. I've used it twice on bear up north that wouldn't move off trails, and a couple of blasts did the trick. Decibel-wise, it's not insanely loud but the particular quality of the sound seems just right to startle wildlife when necessary. I think you can get these horns at Walmart, but those don't have the velcro strap. I like the velcro - makes it easy to attach to my backpack.

http://www.airgas.com/product/Safety-Products/First-Aid/Emergency-Response/p/F41911?gclid=CI7svr28jdACFQuMaQodPZ0EBg&fo_c=306&fo_k=b4f69142a348b7bdc293890f40b30ba2&fo_s=gplaus&utm_arg=SEM:Google:PLA.US:All_Items:Non-brand:pla:Airgas:PPC::F41911::Revenue&s_kwcid=AL!4811!3!151171284683!!!g!257227458862!&ef_id=V2RgmQAAAN1QL3l9:20161103205539:s
« Last Edit: November 03, 2016, 07:56:07 PM by House Made of Dawn »
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline dprather

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Re: Smoky Creek Map help - from you electronic wizards
« Reply #35 on: November 03, 2016, 09:54:56 PM »
#1 - genuine, genuine thanks for all advice.  I'm glad I floated the question about solo.

#2 - by a stroke of luck, my #1 backpacking amigo's schedule changed and, Lord willing, we'll both do the Basin to Mule Ears next week.  Each of us are pretty skilled.  Together we are strongly skilled.  Even better, together we make a very strong team.

#3 - added bonus: on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, when the rest of the country is all wrapped around the election axel, we'll be in one of those rare places where it really does not matter.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Smoky Creek Map help - from you electronic wizards
« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2016, 12:18:15 AM »
#1 - genuine, genuine thanks for all advice.  I'm glad I floated the question about solo.

#2 - by a stroke of luck, my #1 backpacking amigo's schedule changed and, Lord willing, we'll both do the Basin to Mule Ears next week.  Each of us are pretty skilled.  Together we are strongly skilled.  Even better, together we make a very strong team.

#3 - added bonus: on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, when the rest of the country is all wrapped around the election axel, we'll be in one of those rare places where it really does not matter.

 :great:  You will end your week a saner, healthier man than any of us.  Post a trip report when you get back.  We can use it to soothe our frayed nerves.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Smoky Creek Map help - from you electronic wizards
« Reply #37 on: November 04, 2016, 01:35:25 AM »
Absolutely on #3, I am in Italy right now doing my best to avoid the run up to election day lunacy but would love to be in the backcountry following!

Like Robert said watch the trail close, know about those map deviation's around Sugar loaf MTN and the Smoky Creek end of the Mule Ears trial, there are several threads here about that.

HMoD makes one of my favorite points, going down wash is much easier than up. I was once temporarily misplaced going up the Smoky Creek trail too due to taking the wrong fork.

Have a great time, look forward to your findings

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Offline dprather

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Re: Smoky Creek Map help - from you electronic wizards
« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2016, 11:16:08 PM »
Well, the Lord wasn't willing.  Two problems.

My wife went to Marshall to visit our #2 son and his wife who is about to make us grandparents.  While there, my wife's car went dead on Saturday afternoon.  So...I have a dead car in NE Texas I have to go collect.

And, my amigo had to abort.

When it all goes bad, it isn't good.

Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Smoky Creek Map help - from you electronic wizards
« Reply #39 on: November 06, 2016, 04:31:34 PM »
Well, the Lord wasn't willing.  Two problems.

My wife went to Marshall to visit our #2 son and his wife who is about to make us grandparents.  While there, my wife's car went dead on Saturday afternoon.  So...I have a dead car in NE Texas I have to go collect.

And, my amigo had to abort.

When it all goes bad, it isn't good.

Just read this, dprather. I've been with my 11-year-old son all weekend on a school campout at Tyler State Park on the western edge of your third of the state. That's bad news, indeed. My condolences, dprather. All things come to those who wait.........
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline stevebo

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Re: Smoky Creek Map help - from you electronic wizards
« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2016, 02:02:39 PM »
Like dprather, I will be doing an almost identical route next week.  However, given the closures, I'm going to start at the Mule Ears and head towards Homer Wilson.

My main question:  Is there any water along Smoky Creek given all the rain?  If not, I don't mind going a little out of my way to Fresno Creek, but it would be good to know now.

By the way dprather, can I email you?  You can contact me at steve at fitpacking.com if you'd like.
Thanks,
Steve

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Offline dprather

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Re: Smoky Creek Map help - from you electronic wizards
« Reply #41 on: November 10, 2016, 02:59:57 PM »
Like dprather, I will be doing an almost identical route next week.  However, given the closures, I'm going to start at the Mule Ears and head towards Homer Wilson.

My main question:  Is there any water along Smoky Creek given all the rain?  If not, I don't mind going a little out of my way to Fresno Creek, but it would be good to know now.

By the way dprather, can I email you?  You can contact me at steve at fitpacking.com if you'd like.
Thanks,
Steve

I don't mind email...daprather@gmail.com
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

 


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