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Blue Creek Trail: Advice & Insight requested

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Offline Timbo

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Blue Creek Trail: Advice & Insight requested
« on: November 06, 2007, 11:15:43 AM »
The lovely wife and I are considering doing Blue Creek Trail in the Spring (early March). A couple of questions for anyone who wants to field:

Direction of travel:
1) Hike up from Basin Trailhead via Laguna Meadow Trail, down Blue Creek Trail to Wilson Ranch and up to RMSD to awaiting ride;
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2) the opposite direction: Maxwell to Wilson Ranch, up Blue Creek Trail, down Laguna Meadows Trail, collapse in cabin/lodge.

Thoughts on preferred route? Approximate time? How much water?
Is Blue Creek Trail steep relative to Laguna Meadow or Lost Mine?
How can we schedule a lift to or from Maxwell at Wilson Ranch?

About us: We're in our fifties, in reasonably good shape - slightly overweight, but no problems with ankles, knees or back. Together we've hiked Laguna (took about 5 hours round trip), Lost Mine Trail, Pine Canyon Trail, Window Trail, Cattail, and trails in GUMO and Davis Mtns. I've summited Guadalupe and Emory (albeit 10 years ago). We take a 'big' hike once or twice a year, with lots of little hikes (5-10 flat miles) in between.

Any insights will be much appreciated.
Thanks.



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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Blue Creek Trail: Advice & Insight requested
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2007, 11:35:15 AM »
I'd recommend hiking from the Basin to the ranch, as you have significantly less elevation gain. The Basin trailhead is around 5,400 feet. The high point is near the Blue Creek-SW Rim Trail junction at 6,750 or so. The ranch is about 4,200. So that's 1,350 or so gain followed by a 2,550 foot loss (-1,200 net) if you go from Basin to ranch.

I would expect it to take all day as a dayhike. You could also split it up and do an overnighter to the SW Rim, but that would require more water and gear. I would take at least a gallon of water per person. I would not expect to find any water on the route.

The lower portion of Blue Creek Canyon contains a number of red rock hoodoos and spires which look especially striking in the late afternoon, when the sun is low. Blue Creek trail is easier to follow heading downstream -- upstream, there are several bootprint-filled false trails. The upper portion of the canyon is definitely steeper than Laguna Meadow.

If you have two vehicles, you're golden, as you can put one at each trailhead. Otherwise, I'd leave my car at the end of the hike and try to hitch or arrange a ride back to the Basin before you hike. I haven't done this at this park, but I think some of the outfitters in Terlingua will shuttle you for a fee.
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

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splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: Blue Creek Trail: Advice & Insight requested
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2007, 12:14:59 PM »
I agree with Jeff...basin to ranch is the best way so far as "easiest" goes.  Blue Creek is among one of my favorite trails to hike.  Be sure to catch your breath for a while and hang out at Leguna Meadow before your descent into the desert.

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Offline Robert

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Re: Blue Creek Trail: Advice & Insight requested
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2007, 12:47:23 PM »
While we've hitch hiked from Blue Creek back to the Basin I wouldn't recommend it (it was not planned). An outfitter would be the best way to do the shuttle and I'd recommend meeting them at Blue Creek (leave your vehicle there) and have them take you back to the Basin. That way you won't have to worry about arriving at a specific time nor have to worry if they'll remember to show up AND you can take as long as you want to do the hike.

The downside to this idea is that you'll get a later start. While I'm not quite sure of the mileage I'd plan on 7-8 hours to do the hike. There's also no water so you'll need 3-4 quarts each (and remember to drink it). Also, as you approach the Blue Creek ranch watch for where the trail gets out of the wash. If you stay in the wash it deepens and it's possible to walk past the ranch house and miss the exit trail (especially at the end of a long day). Worst case is you'd just have to double back.

Also, if you leave your vehicle you can enjoy a frosty beverage before heading back up to the basin.

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Blue Creek Trail: Advice & Insight requested
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2007, 03:12:12 PM »
Quote
The downside to this idea is that you'll get a later start.

Now, if you're camping and/or lodging in the Basin, you can always get the outfitter to meet you the day before you do this hike and leave your vehicle at the overlook overnight. Then you can hang around the Basin that afternoon -- maybe hike the Window trail -- and get as early a start as you want.  :cool:
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"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

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Offline Timbo

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Re: Blue Creek Trail: Advice & Insight requested
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2007, 02:00:37 PM »
Jeff, CG, Robert:

Many thanks! Very helpful - as always. We'll be staying at the basin (Stone Cottage, if we can score one), so we'll leave our truck at the trailhead the night before, have a shuttle run us back to the basin (looks to be about 125 bux - YIKES), then hike down the next day, with a couple cold ones chilling in the truck :beer_chug:. We'll be sure to take lots of pix and post the highlights here.
March seems so far off! Can't wait! :eusa_dance:

Again: great many thanks for the help.

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Blue Creek Trail: Advice & Insight requested
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2007, 02:16:16 PM »
If you've got good karma, you could always forget about the outfitter $huttle and hope to make friends with someone there who'll give you a ride back from the ranch overlook.  Early March should provide lots of potential providers as that's a pretty busy time.  If you decide to go that route, check in with the visitor center and the campground host for any leads/tips.  Wear a VirtualBigBend/BigBendChat t-shirt to improve your odds.  :cool:

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Offline jim2

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Re: Blue Creek Trail: Advice & Insight requested
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2007, 05:00:44 PM »
i would add ,go about half mile beyond the blue creek trail on the laguna meadow trail and catch the view into blue creek . i think it's one of the best in the park . like jeff said the hoo doos in blue creek change colors in the late afternoon . well worth seeing .jim2

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Offline Drifter

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Re: Blue Creek Trail: Advice & Insight requested
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2007, 08:50:44 AM »
For the shuttle call Jan Forte at Big Bend River tours.  She has provided shuttle service for me all along the Ross Maxwell and never charged more than $ 50.  Just a thought.
If you climb mountains, no explanation is necessary, if you don't , no explanation is possible.

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Offline xseption

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Re: Blue Creek Trail: Advice & Insight requested
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2007, 03:53:30 PM »
Darn good info! Never even heard about the Blue Creek trail.

Bookmarked!

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