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Advice on 3 night itinerary

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Offline raptor()

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Advice on 3 night itinerary
« on: February 09, 2016, 02:25:42 PM »
Me and my 14 year old son will be arriving mid-March on a Wednesday and leaving the following Saturday.  I've reserved a campsite in the basin for Wed night.  I've been to BIBE a dozen or so times, but this will be my son's first time there and his first backpacking trip.  My original plan was for Thurs and Friday night backpacking in the Chisos to see the south rim and driving home on Saturday.  But, now I'm wondering if we should just do one night in the Chisos then do a roadside camp or zone camp in the desert for last night.   Any suggestions or comments on these 2 options?  I'd rather use our time hiking rather than a lot of driving within the park so I doubt we'll be able to see Santa Elena canyon or head to the east side of the park on this trip.

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Advice on 3 night itinerary
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2016, 02:45:46 PM »
raptor() how about this out of the box idea.  Go up into the Chisos via Pinnacles, spend the night and then go down Blue Creek, get water at Homer Wilson bear box and camp on out the Dodson a short ways (less than a mile), then early in the morning you can walk back out to your car at HW overlook, it you have time then you could take him down to Santa Elena before you head home.  You can arrange for a reasonably priced shuttle from the Lodge folks so that you can have our car down at Homer Wilson, el hombre and others have done this.  The biggest issue might be the spring break crowds and getting campsites you want and the Lodge may be so busy they won't want to do a shuttle.  Just an idea.
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Offline Jalco

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Re: Advice on 3 night itinerary
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2016, 08:49:37 PM »
Is it worth the effort of hauling all your gear up into the Chisos for just one night?  South Rim can be done as a day hike, albeit a long one (about 9 hours for this geezer), and your camp is already set up in the Basin.  The following day you can do some of the shorter hikes along Ross Maxwell.  Zone camp off Ross Maxwell for that matter, just like ME suggested.

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Offline Geezer

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Re: Advice on 3 night itinerary
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2016, 09:12:56 PM »
Seems to me it might be worth  hauling your gear up into Chisos to get away from the racket and crowd of the Basin. You may not get the campsites up there you want, however. Familiarize yourself with the Laguna Meadow sites and others in the mountains. Also, camping in the Chisos is really a different experience from camping in the desert. There are several nice level camp sites just south off the Dodson Tr., about a mile from the Homer Wilson Ranch parking area. They have great views of the sunset and perhaps you will hear coyotes howling.

Geezer

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Offline ambersdad

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Re: Advice on 3 night itinerary
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2016, 06:16:06 AM »
I don't mean to knock campgrounds, but I guess I will.  ;)  I don't drive 650 miles one way to hang in a campground with individuals that are for the most part unskilled campers with no sense of being reasonable camping neighbors.  I've only been down twice to the Bend and each of those trips were 10 days long.  I spent one night in the basin campground and that was more than enough.    :ecomcity: :ecomcity: :ecomcity: :willynilly: :willynilly: :willynilly: :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:
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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: Advice on 3 night itinerary
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2016, 06:39:20 AM »
The only thing worse than the "campgrounds"  are the back country sites that are crammed on top of each other, ie. Grapevine.  There's nothing like having an obnoxious stranger blasting their music and taking loudly while trying to enjoy the calm, cool quiet night of the Big Bend desert.

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Offline Homer Wilson

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Re: Advice on 3 night itinerary
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2016, 09:50:30 AM »
The basin campground is what it is. A typical car camping place. Albeit with some pretty darn good views. And as far as car camping goes, it's better than a lot of other camp grounds. I'm always a bit nostalgic for it because when I started coming to bb, we always camped there. That said, these days if I'm not camping out in the backcountry, I'm sleeping on a bed.

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Offline raptor()

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Re: Advice on 3 night itinerary
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2016, 11:40:13 AM »
Thanks for the replies.  Just to clarify, I'm driving in from Dallas so won't get there until around 4PM on Wed.  So we're just staying that one night in the basin campgrounds.  The other 2 nights will be in the backcountry.

Mule ears, I like your idea.  The only problem would be arranging the shuttle.  Any idea how much that would cost?

Jalco, I think to the south rim and back would be too much for one day, at least for me.  I'd rather take my time on that hike and preferably stay at least one night in the mountains.

Geezer, I like your idea and is kind of what I was thinking.  Does anyone have a map showing the good campsites on the Dodson that are relatively close to the trail head?  Another possibility would be somewhere near the mule ears parking lot.

One more question, about how long does it take to hike from the south rim back to the basin parking lot?


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Offline dprather

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Re: Advice on 3 night itinerary
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2016, 12:11:14 PM »
Seems to me it might be worth  hauling your gear up into Chisos to get away from the racket and crowd of the Basin. You may not get the campsites up there you want, however. Familiarize yourself with the Laguna Meadow sites and others in the mountains. Also, camping in the Chisos is really a different experience from camping in the desert. There are several nice level camp sites just south off the Dodson Tr., about a mile from the Homer Wilson Ranch parking area. They have great views of the sunset and perhaps you will hear coyotes howling.

Geezer

+1

The High Chisos at night are typically vacant since everyone does it as a day hike.  The solitude and the late evening/early morning views are extra pay-offs.  It is awesome up there.  Your 14 year-old son will love the wilderness experience.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: Advice on 3 night itinerary
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2016, 02:19:09 PM »
One more question, about how long does it take to hike from the south rim back to the basin parking lot?

Depends on your speed, stamina, how long you piddle around.  But from the Southwest Rim,  it should take you anywhere between 2 and 4 hours.



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Offline mule ears

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Re: Advice on 3 night itinerary
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2016, 02:28:50 PM »
Mule ears, I like your idea.  The only problem would be arranging the shuttle.  Any idea how much that would cost?

One more question, about how long does it take to hike from the south rim back to the basin parking lot?

Here is what elhombre said about the shuttle

As of last year, you can pay $50 at the lodge and a van will pick you up or drop you off some where.  For example, you could park your car at Rio Grande village and the van could take you back to the basin for your jump off point.  Then it is all down hill back to your car.

It is 6 miles back to the Basin via either trail.  So like CG said, 2-4 hours.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
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no shade, no water
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Offline catz

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Re: Advice on 3 night itinerary
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2016, 03:10:32 PM »

Geezer, I like your idea and is kind of what I was thinking.  Does anyone have a map showing the good campsites on the Dodson that are relatively close to the trail head?   



There is an excellent campsite just off the Dodson (actually, just above it).  Form Homer Wilson, hike about 2 miles.  Where the trail tops out, there are outstanding views.  You will also see an informal trail going up a small hill to the south of the trail; on top of that hill you can see where many other people have camped before.
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Offline RichardM

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Re: Advice on 3 night itinerary
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2016, 03:19:24 PM »
Do you have a site in the Basin campground already reserved? Open sites are hard to come by in the afternoon during spring break. So can sites in the mountains.

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Offline raptor()

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Re: Advice on 3 night itinerary
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2016, 03:47:49 PM »
2 to 4 hours back to the Basin?  That's good news.  We should be able to return to the basin by lunch then drive out to either Mule Ears parking lot or Dodson trail head to find our campsite for the last night.  Sounds like just one night in the Chisos then one night in the desert is doable and preferable to 2 nights in the Chisos.   Richard, yes we have a campsite reserved for the night we arrive.  So here is our tentative itinerary:

Wed - arrive, camp in basin campground
Thurs - breakfast at the lodge, then hike up the hill and camp somewhere in the Chisos
Fri - see the south rim, head back to basin by lunch
Fri night - zone camp somewhere along the Dodson or Mule ears.
Sat - head home

Looks like a pretty steep walk up to those Dodson campsites which might be tough after we've  hiked from the south rim to the basin that day.  Looks like there are a couple of campsites past Mule Ears springs that might be good too.


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Offline Geezer

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Re: Advice on 3 night itinerary
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2016, 09:51:34 PM »
It's not a steep walk to the Dodson campsites that are only a mile roughly from the parking area at Homer Wilson. Probably not a mile as the crow flies. Just walk out along the Dodson Tr. till you find a good spot near the trail with good views. It's quite possible though that in March you will hit a hot spell, so be prepared with something to do other than sit in the sun most of the afternoon. The H. Wilson ranch house and associated improvements are interesting. Also there's the geologically interesting and picturesque Red Rocks area nearby up the Blue Creek Tr.

There are also some good places to camp along the Mule Ears Tr. between Trap and Mule Ears Springs. The trail runs through a mostly level area between the two springs. Also, hiking on to Mule Ears Spring, which will no doubt be flowing, would be enjoyable. There are some excellent camp sites roughly 100 yards beyond Mule Ears Spring, but it is significantly farther to hike with tent, etc.

Not that you should need a tent. Sleeping under the stars, listening to coyotes is the classic experience. Take a light tarp in case the unexpected does happen, but don't put it up unless you need it.

Geezer

 


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