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Author Topic: Zone help  (Read 1224 times)  

Offline Jimbow

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Zone help
« on: December 26, 2011, 11:34:11 PM »
We have backpacked the Chisos Mtn area seven or eight times and have zone camped in other parks, but for some reason my wife is nervous about zone camping at BB. We will be there this week and I am thinking that a couple day hikes around a good camping spot may change her mind. Any suggestions? The remoteness seems to be her concern. With a specific spot in the Chisos she believes there is some hope of a rescue if something goes terribly wrong. We are experienced backpackers, but only get out a few times a year now.
Everything is in walking distance if you have enough time.

Offline Al

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Re: Zone help
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2011, 11:46:39 PM »
In my limited experience, if you Zone Camp west of the Chisos or west of Old Ore Rd. you should have cell phone service  if you call from a hill.  The "shadow" of the Chisos blocks the towers if you Zone Camp to their east (a desirable Zone Camping area) and cell phone service is generally not available. 

I'm sure more will contribute,
Al

Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Zone help
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2011, 12:35:15 AM »
The Chimneys and the escarpment above Smoky Creek near the Mule Ears are terrific zone camping destinations, as they are within a couple miles of the road and fairly level. Both offer great opportunities to explore the desert.
Jeff Blaylock
www.jeffblaylock.com

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

Offline trtlrock

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Re: Zone help
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2011, 08:31:19 AM »
The Chimneys and the escarpment above Smoky Creek near the Mule Ears are terrific zone camping destinations, as they are within a couple miles of the road and fairly level. Both offer great opportunities to explore the desert.

I 2nd the Chimneys area -- set up camp near the Tule Springs area perhaps. Much to see...pretty easy access to Burro Spring, Chimneys, etc, but (if necessary) less than an hour's walk to the road.
John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee

Offline Homer67

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Re: Zone help
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2011, 01:36:14 PM »
Ooh!  Consider the Mule Ears trail!  It's an easy hike (there are a few undulations to hike up and down at the start, but don't let these small obstacles deter you).  Mule Ears Spring, right at two miles down the trail, is a famous destination, with water flowing if you want to filter and haul in less.  Trap Spring is also on the way! This trail offers a great many scenic views! There are some nice scenic spots to camp as well! 

Goat Mountain from Mule Ears trail east of Trap Spring  Jan 2011 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr


Pool at Mule Ears Spring...a true oasis in the desert!  April 2010 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr


Trap Spring  April 2010 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr


Here is a suggestion for a spot to camp, I call it "The Spot," the first place I camped in BB!

Mule Ears Spot Pano by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

One hikes about a half mile beyond the spring to a large rectangular cairn; this marks where one would take a right from the trail up a short hill to a spot above the campsite.  It's an easy drop down a small escarpment (4' or so) and a little bit of an incline down to the many spots to camp.

On our April 2011 trip we assumed if the wildlife could sleep without a tent we could too.  But we still set up a windbreak, shanty style:

April 2011 Camp by SuperHomer67, on Flickr
It felt a bit liberating to leave the tent behind on this trip!  I admit, I did sleep with the shovel nearby!

The spring is very nice!

Mule Ears Spring  April 2011 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

There are remains of BB's ranching days near the spring also, and if one checks around, one can find other remnants of that time:

Cairn burial? by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

It was really dry when we were last there in April, but the desert was still gorgeous!  The drainage off Mule Ears Spring was green and had a good bit of wildlife! Dig the pastels of the drought-wrenched desert, with Cerro Castellan and Santa Elena visible in the background:

Mule Ears drainage  April 2011 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

If you hike down the trail a bit more you come to a nice overlook peering over the Smoky Creek drainage:

Smoky Creek from ME overlook  Jan 31, 2011 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

One could also venture from this trial to the Smoky Creek trail and head north to Black Rock Canyon, or check out Smoky Creek south from Mule Ears.

It's one of my favorite areas of the park!
« Last Edit: December 27, 2011, 02:34:50 PM by Homer67 »
Ah Big Bend, we will soon return to reacquaint ourselves in our ritual of blood, exhaustion and dehydration. How can we resist the temptation to strip ourselves of the maladies of civilization?

Offline steelfrog

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Re: Zone help
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2011, 02:44:36 PM »
Homer--couldn't one use this as a base for assaulting Goat Mountain?

Offline Homer67

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Re: Zone help
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2011, 10:56:36 AM »
Oh yeah!  Goat Mt would be sweet!  I have been eyeing the top of trap Mt from the East for a long time and have also often thought of checking out the wash behind ME Spg to the north or following the ME drainage south and connecting with the Smoky Creek trail south of Mule Ears.

We have also used our camp for a base and hiked back to the car to do day hikes elsewhere --- there is so much along the Ross Maxwell! Hiking the ME trail back to camp in the dark was a bit weird the first time!

There is so much to do in this area!
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 11:15:56 AM by Homer67 »
Ah Big Bend, we will soon return to reacquaint ourselves in our ritual of blood, exhaustion and dehydration. How can we resist the temptation to strip ourselves of the maladies of civilization?

Offline Jimbow

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Zone help
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2012, 09:46:32 AM »
Thank you for all the replies. I was able to read from my phone but needed to return before replying. Our trip, as always was great. We found three areas we want to go back and zone camp. Mule Ears, Chimney, and Dog Canyon.

New Years day we hiked Dog Canyon after a very nice ranger program  and returned in time for the Pee Off. Easily one of my most favorite days.
Everything is in walking distance if you have enough time.

Offline trtlrock

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Re: Zone help
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2012, 10:00:30 AM »
and returned in time for the Pee Off

I'm almost scared to ask, but what exactly are you referring to here?
John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee

Offline RichardM

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Re: Zone help
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2012, 10:42:57 AM »

Offline Jimbow

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Zone help
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2012, 05:17:18 PM »
Lol Pea Off :-)
Everything is in walking distance if you have enough time.

 

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