It was a fairly fast trip, but very enjoyable...
Departed from Plano, TX early Thursday morning... I decided in route to stay in Terlingua first night. (I'd never been before, so thought I would try it). I arrived 3:30pm, check out the community, and decided to stay at the El Dorado. They were very nice. Soon after, I entered the Park, paid fee, drove to Panther Junction, got permit, and cached water at Homer Wilson just as the sun was going down. Returned to El Dorado, where I had dinner in their restaurant. There were several locals in their bar.
Friday... Up early and off to Basin. On the trail at 8:40am. Temps started out in the 40's, but seemed to warm up quickly. Not a cloud in the sky. Made my way up Pinnacles, pausing to take pictures of the Window view from time to time. I visited with several day hikers going to either the South Rim or Emory Peak. I did visit with a couple of south rim campers who showed pictures of a black bear they saw on the Blue Creek Trail coming up.
I made my way down Juniper and set up camp about a mile and half from the Dodson Trail head.. It was early with a lot of daylight left. My Gps register right at 10 miles traveled. I am really glad I stopped in Alpine to pick up the Sun Screen I forgot... I re applied multiple times. That night I experienced the most beautiful starry night I have ever seen! Also, very mild night temperature wise...
Saturday... Up with the sun and onward to the Dodson trail... I made a weak attempt to locate the Dodson Spring (didn't go up enough), but decided to head to Fresno as I knew there was water there and I was very low having consumed a lot with the warm temps. Water was just below the junction and I shed my shirt to let it dry from the perspiration, while I filtered and filled my canteens. A Cliff Bar, some jerky, and trail mix was my lunch sitting on the rock shore of the creek.
Confident with full canteens (1 1/2 gal), I headed west. I set up camp beyond the Smokey Creek Trail (2.2 miles GPS miles from Homer Wilson) My gps read 20 miles cumulative. Another mild beautiful night.
Sunday... My original plan was 4 days and three nights with my third night in the Blue Creek Zone before assending Blue Creek back to the Basin. This was based on my unsuccessful attempt 2 years ago. (Physically whipped, I walked out at Homer Wilson and hitched a ride back to the Basin). I decided to play it by ear... if I was well into the Blue Creek open zone before 1:00pm and felt good, then I would continue on and finish. In any event, I made good time, while still stopping to take many pictures and able to appreciate the beauty of the park. I was back to my vehicle in the Basin by 3:30pm. It was tough climbing up Blue Creek, but I got rejuvenated when I looked at my altimeter and it read 6500', I knew I had it made then... 250' more was nothing.