Big Bend Chat

Big Bend National Park Q&A => Hiking the Desert => Topic started by: trtlrock on October 01, 2017, 11:43:18 AM

Title: Some brief Quemada water & route questions
Post by: trtlrock on October 01, 2017, 11:43:18 AM
Three questions about a Quemada route Tess & I will be taking in mid-November:

1) We'll be going north from Dominguez Spg, passing by Dog & Mano Abajo, then turning west & heading to the Smoky Creek Trail at Hermoso/Witch, then following the trail via Black Rock Canyon back south to Mule Ears. Never been this way. Seems like it's been a pretty decent monsoon season this year -- what reliable water is available between Dominguez Spg & Black Rock Canyon? Would Dog & Mano Abajo be considered reliable? Is Hermoso reliable? What about Willow?

 (http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/jbbSQ1.jpg)

2) Do we get to Witch Spring by following the wash & arriving from the west? Or by hiking Smoky Trail north & getting to Witch from the east?

 (http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/jbbSQ2.jpg)

3) Should we pass Point-4368 on the west side or the east side? Primarily concerned with pouroffs or obnoxious gnarly-ness; want the physically easier route. Assuming there's no reliable water in either of these short segments anyway. What's the name of the spring at the top of the pic just NNW of Pt-4540, and is it reliable enough to bother checking en-route?

 (http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/jbbSQ3.jpg)

Thanks in advance for any help...

Title: Re: Some brief Quemada water & route questions
Post by: Quatro on October 01, 2017, 05:29:53 PM
I can't offer any answers to your questions, but want to welcome you back to the Board and BIBE.  Glad you are back.
Title: Re: Some brief Quemada water & route questions
Post by: trtlrock on October 01, 2017, 05:42:46 PM
I can't offer any answers to your questions, but want to welcome you back to the Board and BIBE.  Glad you are back.

Thanks Quatro...
Title: Re: Some brief Quemada water & route questions
Post by: trtlrock on October 01, 2017, 05:44:38 PM
Been looking at Lance's awesome BB/Google Earth overlays, and I think I've answered question #3 -- we'll pass Pt-4368 on the east in case the spring and tinaja listed on that side have water. Doubtful, but possible... :crossedfingers:
Title: Re: Some brief Quemada water & route questions
Post by: DesertRatShorty on October 01, 2017, 06:37:12 PM
Seems like it's been a pretty decent monsoon season this year -- what reliable water is available between Dominguez Spg & Black Rock Canyon? Would Dog & Mano Abajo be considered reliable? Is Hermoso reliable? What about Willow?

See this recent thread (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/water-and-spring-reports/backcountry-water-sources-ranked-by-reliability/), sounds like Dog and Willow are reliable. I found Dog and Hermoso to be running when I was there earlier this year, but did not visit Willow.
Title: Re: Some brief Quemada water & route questions
Post by: mule ears on October 01, 2017, 07:41:51 PM
Been looking at Lance's awesome BB/Google Earth overlays, and I think I've answered question #3 -- we'll pass Pt-4368 on the east in case the spring and tinaja listed on that side have water. Doubtful, but possible... :crossedfingers:

I have twice been down via the east side of 4368, there are one or two pouroffs but easy to get around.  I think I remember someone saying the west side was thorny.

Glad to see you back!
Title: Re: Some brief Quemada water & route questions
Post by: trtlrock on October 01, 2017, 07:48:22 PM
See this recent thread (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/water-and-spring-reports/backcountry-water-sources-ranked-by-reliability/), sounds like Dog and Willow are reliable. I found Dog and Hermoso to be running when I was there earlier this year, but did not visit Willow.

Thanks DRS -- I did read that thread. Was it Hermoso-A that was running?
Title: Re: Some brief Quemada water & route questions
Post by: trtlrock on October 01, 2017, 07:54:15 PM
Glad to see you back!

Thanks ME.

Any thoughts on which approach I should use to Witch?

 ;)

If Hermoso-A isn't running, we'll have to go north temporarily to get guaranteed water at Witch.
Title: Re: Some brief Quemada water & route questions
Post by: mule ears on October 01, 2017, 08:01:25 PM
Glad to see you back!

Thanks ME.

Any thoughts on which approach I should use to Witch?

 ;)

If Hermoso-A isn't running, we'll have to go north temporarily to get guaranteed water at Witch.

Not sure on Witch, elhombre should have good info on that one.
Title: Some brief Quemada water & route questions
Post by: Reece on October 01, 2017, 10:24:33 PM
Id say follow Smoky Creek Trail north and loop back to Witch Spring. The spring is in plain view from the trail.


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Title: Re: Some brief Quemada water & route questions
Post by: DesertRatShorty on October 02, 2017, 07:07:25 AM


See this recent thread (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/water-and-spring-reports/backcountry-water-sources-ranked-by-reliability/), sounds like Dog and Willow are reliable. I found Dog and Hermoso to be running when I was there earlier this year, but did not visit Willow.

Thanks DRS -- I did read that thread. Was it Hermoso-A that was running?

Hermoso B was running.

Title: Re: Some brief Quemada water & route questions
Post by: badknees on October 02, 2017, 09:44:24 AM
Three questions about a Quemada route Tess & I will be taking in mid-November:

1) We'll be going north from Dominguez Spg, passing by Dog & Mano Abajo, then turning west & heading to the Smoky Creek Trail at Hermoso/Witch, then following the trail via Black Rock Canyon back south to Mule Ears. Never been this way. Seems like it's been a pretty decent monsoon season this year -- what reliable water is available between Dominguez Spg & Black Rock Canyon? Would Dog & Mano Abajo be considered reliable? Is Hermoso reliable? What about Willow?

 (http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/jbbSQ1.jpg)

2) Do we get to Witch Spring by following the wash & arriving from the west? Or by hiking Smoky Trail north & getting to Witch from the east?

 (http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/jbbSQ2.jpg)

3) Should we pass Point-4368 on the west side or the east side? Primarily concerned with pouroffs or obnoxious gnarly-ness; want the physically easier route. Assuming there's no reliable water in either of these short segments anyway. What's the name of the spring at the top of the pic just NNW of Pt-4540, and is it reliable enough to bother checking en-route?

 (http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/jbbSQ3.jpg)

Thanks in advance for any help...

That is the route I took.
Water may be available through Fisk Canyon all the way to Mano Abaja Spring. Once you turn west it's pretty dry until you reach the Hermosos. Witch Spring was flowing all the way to the wash exit at N29.17292 W103.34700 last time I was there. You may find more water between the Lone Cottonwood pouroff and the entrance to the Black Rock Section.
Title: Re: Some brief Quemada water & route questions
Post by: trtlrock on October 02, 2017, 09:48:17 AM
Thanks Reece, DRS & BK -- appreciate it.
Title: Re: Some brief Quemada water & route questions
Post by: elhombre on October 02, 2017, 10:10:51 AM
If I was to go today, I would count on Dog.  But not where it is marked on the map.  I have always found water south of the marked spring at the pinch of the main creek bed.  Here's a link to where the water is, and a great campsite above the spring.  The campsite is protected by 2 big sotol  bushes that must be pushed through to get up out of the creek bed, but it has a great flat spot up there.  I have always had to kick out a bare spot, but it is easy.  Look for the cairn on the campsite side while pumping water. The link allows a person to toggle from topo to satellite view up in the right corner.

https://mapper.acme.com/?ll=29.14380,-103.30991&z=18&t=H&marker0=29.14418%2C-103.31032%2C11.3%20km%20S%20of%20Emory%20Peak%20TX&marker1=29.14357%2C-103.30950%2C11.4%20km%20S%20of%20Emory%20Peak%20TX

Mano can be wet, but the water is usually not flowing more than just wetting the rocks.  It is also only 20-30 minutes up from Dog, so I would not plan to use it.  Dog is about 1 hour from Domiquez spring when walking.

Travel east of 4368.  Real pretty creek area.  The big pour off you will come to is either climbed straight up (plenty of great hand holds), or by pass it on the north.    https://mapper.acme.com/?ll=29.16040,-103.30941&z=18&t=H&marker0=29.16040%2C-103.30941%2C9.5%20km%20S%20of%20Emory%20Peak%20TX

You are going to come to an impassable pour off when getting close to Smokey Creek trail.  You must climb out of the creek bed to the north and walk the rest of the way up above the creek bed over to where up will find Smokey Creek trail.  I think the pour off is here.

https://mapper.acme.com/?ll=29.17138,-103.33883&z=17&t=H&marker0=29.17061%2C-103.33887%2C9.0%20km%20SxSW%20of%20Emory%20Peak%20TX

As Reese said, the usual place for water at Witch is from the upper part.  You will have to walk up Smokey Creek trail and walk down into the spring area from above.  You will be able to see the water from the trail when walking above on the trail.  If you don't find water there, on a dry year I found water under a boulder at the lower part of the creek bed.  It is best reached by walking all the way back and approaching the lower part from the lower creek bed.   It is possible to push your way through the brush from the upper part to the lower part, but it will be a fight.  Your map is spot on with the north approach being my first try.

 My map also shows a great flat campsite area. 
https://mapper.acme.com/?ll=29.17547,-103.34385&z=17&t=H&marker0=29.17319%2C-103.34593%2C9.1%20km%20SxSW%20of%20Emory%20Peak%20TX&marker1=29.17691%2C-103.34406%2C8.6%20km%20SxSW%20of%20Emory%20Peak%20TX&marker2=29.17689%2C-103.34234%2C8.5%20km%20SxSW%20of%20Emory%20Peak%20TX

I have found hermosa, and black rock dry one year.  Until someone puts eyes on them, I would only trust Dominquez, lower Dog, and Witch.

There is a tinaja in the creek bed around the pour off that forces you out of the creek bed when approaching Smokey Creek trail, but it should only be counted on for emergencies due to quality.

Finally, it is a nice day's hike from Domiquez spring to the Witch spring camp site in terms of distance and time.  I would STRONGLY recommend aluminum hiking poles (not carbon) to hit catclaw out of your way. And you will be walking in clump grass where you can't see your feet between Dog and Mano.  Don't forget the tweezers either.  Can't wait for you trip report!
Title: Re: Some brief Quemada water & route questions
Post by: trtlrock on October 02, 2017, 11:31:14 AM
Thanks El Hombre.

Lots of great info there.
Title: Re: Some brief Quemada water & route questions
Post by: Lance on October 02, 2017, 03:31:29 PM
Don't have anything to add other than good to see you back on the board! Glad to see those overlays (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/gps-gear-and-tips/big-bend-usgs-seamless-topographic-maps-for-google-earth/) are helping out. Look forward to the trip report (if you write one  :icon_smile:)
Title: Re: Some brief Quemada water & route questions
Post by: trtlrock on October 02, 2017, 03:34:39 PM
Don't have anything to add other than good to see you back on the board! Glad to see those overlays (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/gps-gear-and-tips/big-bend-usgs-seamless-topographic-maps-for-google-earth/) are helping out. Look forward to the trip report (if you write one  :icon_smile:)

Thanks Lance -- looking forward to the Bend...