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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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Spring Reports

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Offline Drifter

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Spring Reports
« on: September 18, 2007, 03:10:49 PM »
I can imagine that with the great rains that most of the springs are running like trout streams but does anyone have any present first hand knowledge of Dominquez spring , those just north of Elephant Tusk and or in Backbone valley.  It maybe too early in the season to ask this but it's a slow day in my world.  Thanks to all.   
If you climb mountains, no explanation is necessary, if you don't , no explanation is possible.

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Offline TheWildWestGuy

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Re: Spring Reports
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2007, 06:45:36 AM »
I do not have present firsthand knowledge but these springs are reliable even in "average" years so I am 100% confident they are running right now.

I plan to be in this area next month and will post a trip report when I get back.
Right now the plan is to hike in from the Blue Creek Trailhead along the Dodson then down Fresno Creek and explore the area for a couple days before heading back out to the Homer Wilson Ranch House and up Blue Creek to Alum Cave.
 
I won't get to Dominquez Springs but was there a year or two ago during a comparably dry time and it had water flowing over the dam and holding a couple nice pools both above and below the dam.   There was even more water in Fisk Canyon north of Dominquez and it had a flowing stream about a foot wide and an inch deep (a "Trout Stream" by Chisos Standards) for a length of about 1/2 mile or so.   I imagine right now that stream is probably double or triple the size and length it was last time I visited
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If you access Dominquez from the trailhead off River Road West be sure to note/mark/photograph where the trail leaves the old road and enters the dry valley below Dominquez - this cut-off can be very tricky to spot coming back downhill and it's easy to miss it and go past it.  It's not well cairned, marked, or visible from the center of the arroyo... TWWG

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Offline tjavery

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Re: Spring Reports
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2007, 07:30:28 AM »
We camped out at Dominguez Springs last March. It had been relatively dry in the past weeks (although it was generally a "wet" winter) and there was trickling water above the dam:


We also camped near Elephant Tusk in Nov. '05. The park seemed pretty dry at the time, and we were quite surpised to find water in the little canyon just north-east-ish of the peak:



I do not have present firsthand knowledge but these springs are reliable even in "average" years so I am 100% confident they are running right now.

As always, never depend on finding water. Keep enough in reserve so that you can make it back to home base or your cache should you not find water where and when you need it.

If you access Dominquez from the trailhead off River Road West be sure to note/mark/photograph where the trail leaves the old road and enters the dry valley below Dominquez - this cut-off can be very tricky to spot coming back downhill and it's easy to miss it and go past it.  It's not well cairned, marked, or visible from the center of the arroyo... TWWG

Yeh, no joke. We missed the trail that exists in the "dry valley" going both ways on our last trip. We zig-zagged back and forth while travelling through the valley and never found anything that looked like a trail and no rock cairns. Before our trip, I had plotted GPS points along the trial marked on the USGS topo maps and uploaded them into my GPS. When we were out in the field, we crawled all over those points and never found the bloody trail.

The good thing is that bush-whacking through the braided washes isn't terribly difficult. They all lead to the same place when travelling to the springs. I'd recommend carrying a GPS and plotting your course when you hike in. On the way out, it will definitely help to find the spot where the old road picks up.

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Offline Drifter

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Re: Spring Reports
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2007, 09:01:59 AM »
Thanks fellows, My route starts at the Elephant Tusk camp, up trail, around the Tusk, down Backbone valley, over the south pass of Dom. Mt. to the spring and then back up Fisk canyon to the north side of Dom. and then back to the Tusk trail and the truck. The springs under the Tusk and at Dom. have always been flowing on my prior trips there but it is always good to get real time reports close to the walk.  This weekend it was hot at Lost Mine and way too hot for me for anything on the desert floor.  Look forward to your trip reports this winter.
If you climb mountains, no explanation is necessary, if you don't , no explanation is possible.

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Offline Drifter

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Re: Spring Reports
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2007, 02:02:27 PM »
Hey TJ, On the subject of GPS, mine , along with compass and map, has been a close friend and usually my only hiking companion.  What I have found to be a better plan for me is mark the truck before I set out (in addition to pre trip waypointing) that way in the flater portions of the desert plane it really doesn't matter where the trail is, I can always get home.  When walking a route that I will use as
a return trail I mark junctions and cutoffs. Since I still don't know how to use the automatic route function on my Summit I kind of create a backtrack route.  Just a thought. Tom
If you climb mountains, no explanation is necessary, if you don't , no explanation is possible.

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Offline tjavery

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Re: Spring Reports
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2007, 03:30:22 PM »
Most GPS units establish a dotted line to mark your path (at least mine do) as you hike along. This path (dotted line) should be visible on the "map" screen (at least until you clear all tracks).

This becomes invaluable when returning or back-tracking to find something you missed. You can usually adjust the frequency at which the unit captures your path or track (i.e. takes readings every X seconds or X feet). But of course marking important features (e.g. trailhead, trail junctions) with manually entered points is highly advised!

Yeh, the good thing about Big Bend is a lot of it is very open, and you can usually see your destination. It just helps to find the established trail so that bushwhacking is minimized. Your shins will thank you  :azn:

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Offline Drifter

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Re: Spring Reports
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2007, 02:07:48 PM »
TJ, you know I was thinking , I never leave my unit on.  When I use it I just check the present location, make sure I'm in the correct drainage, maybe create a goto ,get the bearing and then turn it off.  Maybe that is why I don't know how to do the fancy stuff.
If you climb mountains, no explanation is necessary, if you don't , no explanation is possible.

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Offline tjavery

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Re: Spring Reports
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2007, 04:45:32 PM »
TJ, you know I was thinking , I never leave my unit on.  When I use it I just check the present location, make sure I'm in the correct drainage, maybe create a goto ,get the bearing and then turn it off.  Maybe that is why I don't know how to do the fancy stuff.

Well, it's not terribly fancy :-) Keeping track of your, uh, track is probably just a basic feature of most GPS units. It just lays down the "cookie crumbs" as you hike along.

If you're worried about battery drain, take some spares. If your unit takes AAA or AA batteries, get the Energizer e2 Lithiums. They are awesome! I just did a whole trip on one set (kept the thing on nearly all the time - just turned it off at night).

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Offline JeffB

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Re: Spring Reports
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2007, 08:09:50 PM »
I'm looking forward to more pictures and trip reports from this area.  I've never been out there but plan to do so when the temperature is right.  The whole OML and Sierra Quemada is still a mystery to me.  Every time I'm on the South Rim I gaze out wondering where the trails go and what it all looks like from down below.
Jeff Bullard
Dallas, TX

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Offline Drifter

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Re: Spring Reports
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2007, 09:00:03 PM »
Jeff, I'll tell you one thing, it (everything south of the rim) is big and supplies some of the most awe inspiring sights you will experience.  It can reach out and bite you or it can make you think that you are at peace with the world and protected by a higher power.  If you allow the rhythm of the desert to invade you and move you for that limited time you're in it, it is with you always.  It is very much like the sea, you don't fight it you move within it, carried by its' power.  Sorry for the rambling. Maps are laid out on my drafting table, google earth images are being starred at and meals are being  planned. Boy, do I need a hit of the Bend . Nov. 3 can't get here fast enough.
If you climb mountains, no explanation is necessary, if you don't , no explanation is possible.

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Offline Drifter

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Re: Spring Reports
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2007, 06:19:13 PM »
To answer my own question, the springs in the Elephant Tusk area are running like trout streams.
If you climb mountains, no explanation is necessary, if you don't , no explanation is possible.

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Offline badknees

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Re: Spring Reports
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2007, 06:49:10 PM »
To answer my own question, the springs in the Elephant Tusk area are running like trout streams.

More details, please
Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Spring Reports
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2007, 07:43:23 PM »
To answer my own question, the springs in the Elephant Tusk area are running like trout streams.

More details, please
The heck with details, give us some pics!!!

 


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