Big Bend Chat

Big Bend National Park Q&A => Hiking the Mountains => Topic started by: Chireaux on June 22, 2012, 06:54:23 PM

Title: First timer
Post by: Chireaux on June 22, 2012, 06:54:23 PM
Hey guys, I have been reading the forum for a few weeks trying to figure out a plan, but this is my first time to big bend and also my first time hiking/camping. I am leaving next week so would like to get some more input into the trip. My wife and I are planning on the doing the south rim trail, starting at the lodge and making the loop back (cant remember the trail names right now but do have a map). We were planning on leaving about 3 or 4 pm and hiking until dark, and then finishing the trail the next morning. Ill try to make a list of questions and get to the point instead of rambling...
1) Can I wear sandals (chacos) or do I need hiking boots?
2) Is there a chance of it being cool at night?
3) Do you actually need a sleeping bag, or just a mat of some sort?
4)Is a long sleeve shirt highly recommended?? how about pants?
5) do I need topography maps, or is there no chance of getting lost on the trail.
6) What is the best way to carry water. Do I need a camel pack or just load my back pack with bottled water?
7) I have no idea what food to bring or how to cook it, any suggestions?
8) The highs next week are 105-110 in Terlingua, Would that make the Chisos around 90-95?
I guess thats enough for now.
Any input would greatly appreciated?
Title: First timer
Post by: kevint on June 22, 2012, 07:14:48 PM
I don't have the kind of experience you are  needing but welcome to the forum and welcome to Big Bend. You'll love it!
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: stingrey on June 22, 2012, 07:43:40 PM
It will be hot. I would not wear sandals up the trail. We're talking at least 14 miles of rugged round trip trail here. The trail is well marked enough that you won't really need a topo to do South Rim, but from a recent report I heard that biting flies are out. Being said and because there are a ton of other critters on the ground at the moment (legged and legless), I'd recommend against just a tarp, but many people may encourage just using a tarp.

It can get cold and stormy, you never know. Keep an eye on the weather. Take something that can be multi-use. Think water shedding outerwear/pillow. Take extra socks. On the water, I normally take a camelbak bladder plus another bladder per day (100oz/day) and normally that comes out ok and leaves just enough for cooking if you factor in the two big bottles of Gatorade in the mix for added measure.

Food... Think portable and light if you've never done something like this before. Tuna packs, peanut butter packs, stuff like that. Be aware that there are bears and mountain lions. Cover the smelly food, double bag the empty packs. There should be bear boxes at the campsite you select.

Speaking of campsite... Do your homework on how far you and your wife can hike with a load on broken trail and how fast you can do it. Not specifically to figure out how rushed you can pull off something, but to know how much time it takes to get to and set up your site before nightfall. Though you can set up by flashlight, that is no way to do it on South Rim. You want to enjoy your sunset already set up and ready to go.

Camelbaks are not necessary, but they are handy. Water jugs (the lighter the better) work, but in all cases pack with respect and know that anything you take can get punctured by cactus spines if you so much as sit in the wrong place. Pants? I'd go with convertible cargo pants if you plan to be out at night. They help minimize exposure from biting critters, though I normally only put 'em on as a precaution as biting critters (flies) are NORMALLY not an issue when I've been there.

Long sleeve. I'd go with one, cotton or under armour. Darker colors are better if you want to be out at night. They are less likely to attract night time bugs if you're out shining a light or with a lantern or whatever. It will be hot during the day, but not too bad if you are from Texas and mow the yard at any time of the day because you are ok with the heat and know how to stay hydrated.

It can be much cooler at night, and drastically so if there is a storm or any other weather activity that lends to super cooled air out of the blue. Triple check the weather before you go, when you register your site, and even just before you walk up. To give you a better idea of what to expect we need more details.

How old are you guys? How often do you hike? Where do you normally hike? What kind of phobias do either of you have? There are very many potential ways to pull this trip off, but my ideal involves light food (Mountain House with a Jetboil as of late, if you don't have it, you can manage with other portable meals), a shelter of some sort, and fresh clothes to sleep in and hit the trails on the way out. But more than anything, it always factors in good boots (no more coming back with a black toenail or blisters) and even more than that an excess ration of water. I've actually sold a 100oz container of water for $20 up there (even though I offered it to the persons in need for free).

Ask away anything else you have in mind, one of us will have an answer. MY must take items are a camera and some light. Other than that, you should be set.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: bdann on June 22, 2012, 08:46:21 PM
Don't underestimate the heat.  Starting out the hike in the hottest part of the day, in June, up hill.... recipe for a failed hike if you aren't in the habit of doing such things.

Bring lots of water.  A few weeks ago I did about 17 miles in the Chisos over two days.  First day I drank 6 quarts of water, not counting water to cook with.  The 2nd day I drank 5 quarts, also not counting cooking water.  I don't normally drink quite that much, but it was HOT in the afternoons.

It was very pleasant in the evenings though, low 60s.  Flies were terrible, though they backed off a bit once it got dark and you just had to deal with the mosquitos. 

Rain is really unpredictable in the summer at Big Bend, so I'd bring a tent and a light sleeping bag or blanket. 

Regarding food, bring whatever you have the ability to cook/heat on the trail.  Mountain House dehydrated meals require only boiling water and are decent tasting.  I like to make my own dehydrated meals, lots of info on how to do this around the interwebs.  Beef jerky, dried fruit, trail mix, crackers, stuff like that are also good to bring. 

Clothes: Everyone has their own opinion about what's comfortable.  In the summer, I just wear shorts and a t-shirt with a broad brimmed hat.  I wear hiking shoes, not boots.  If  you wear sandals, even if you don't kill your feet, you'll be constantly getting rocks between your feet and the sandals.  Don't wear cotton socks, go to Academy or REI and get a pair of light weight hiking socks.  Bring sunscreen for sure, long sleeve shirt if you feel you need it. 

Trail to the rim is well signed, the Chisos Trails map they sell in the visitor centers is all you need.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Quatro on June 22, 2012, 10:01:02 PM
Proper hydration should start well before you shoulder your pack.  I start several days before a trip drinking more water than normal.  The day before I'm really pushing the water.  That means lots of stops if it's a driving day, but it's worth it.  Just before the hike I drink a quart. 
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: elhombre on June 22, 2012, 10:09:24 PM
If this is truely your first time hiking/camping, stay in the campground and day hike the rim. After your set up your tent, hike up the Lost mine trail for the evening.  The next morning, day hike up the penicales trail and figure out how you feel at the top.  Then decide if you want to go further.  Carry 1.25 gallons of water per person on the day hike.  You will need it.  I strongly recommend that you first practice an overnight backpacking trip somewhere firstlike Enchanted Rock.  Some place that you can EASILY bail out of it it goes bad.  Many things will be vetted out by the first practice trip.  BB is unforgiving.  I was reminded of this last time I was out there when we found a pile of gear/food/and clothes left on the side of the trail.  Someone under-estimated the place and left a good $100 of stuff behind. 

Once you get your first trip done, you will be better prepared to enjoy the place the next time you come.  But by all means, get out there and see what it is all about!
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Infosec on June 22, 2012, 10:36:06 PM
First you are going to love serene nature of the high desert. I am going to head into Chisos next month and here are some of the must bring
Clothing:
Synthetics NO Cotton. Think CoolMax or Omni Wick
Under Armor compression shirt underneath
Hiking boots or shoes with an aggressive tread
Light smart wool hiking sox
Convertible cargo pants - again synthetics not cotton
Long sleeve shirts - by now you can guess what material I recommend
Good hat
something you can layer on top if it gets cold

Food:
4 liters of water per/day but watch your consumption
Mountain house freeze dry + a jet boil is great for a beginner
some type of grazing food - trail mix or GORP
Cliff bars or something similar

Must haves:
First aid kit, small but well stocked with essentials
Compass and know how use it and how to read the trail map
signal mirror and whistle
Multi-tool or pocket knife
Duct tape - not the big gigantic roll. They sell mini rolls for hiking
sun screen and bug spray
two sources to make fire with
flashlight or head lamp
some type of walking stick others might say not necessary

I go with an ultra light tent with pad and 55+ bed roll.

All food in the Bear proof containers. I know there is plenty I am missing but I hate typing on these pad devices.

Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Al on June 22, 2012, 10:39:43 PM
If this is truely your first time hiking/camping, stay in the campground and day hike the rim. After your set up your tent, hike up the Lost mine trail for the evening.  The next morning, day hike up the penicales trail and figure out how you feel at the top.  Then decide if you want to go further.  Carry 1.25 gallons of water per person on the day hike.  You will need it.  I strongly recommend that you first practice an overnight backpacking trip somewhere firstlike Enchanted Rock.  Some place that you can EASILY bail out of it it goes bad.  Many things will be vetted out by the first practice trip.  BB is unforgiving.  I was reminded of this last time I was out there when we found a pile of gear/food/and clothes left on the side of the trail.  Someone under-estimated the place and left a good $100 of stuff behind. 

Once you get your first trip done, you will be better prepared to enjoy the place the next time you come.  But by all means, get out there and see what it is all about!

elhombre makes a lot of sense. 

Al
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Infosec on June 22, 2012, 10:48:40 PM
You may or may NOT heed our advice, but if this your first time camping, the high Chisos can be difficult and unforgiving. I would follow the advice of elhombre as well. You want this to be fun, not something that turns you off from backpacking and outdoor living.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: kevint on June 23, 2012, 08:03:28 AM
I'm more of a day hiker type and have, so far, more focused on the areas around the Chisos but one resource that this conversation has reminded me of regarding clothing issues like hats and long sleeves and regarding water needs is Desert Survival by David Alloway.  Alloway writes specifically from the perspective of the Chihuahuan desert in the Big Bend area.


I don't know the general opinion of this group here on Alloway's book but after reading it, I shifted away from shorts and short sleeved shirts.  (I didn't buy anything but I now pack at least some long pants and shirt sleeves.)  I also made sure my family had decent hats and large water bladders.  They begrudgingly agreed to the hats and the bladders until our first mid-day Big Bend hike.  My 11 year-old polished off 70 oz on the short hike to balanced rock and back.  Now everybody sees the value of the hats and bladders.  I still don't have them sold on wearing long pants and shirts.


I wish I was going to be going to Big Bend soon.
Title: First timer
Post by: Casa Grande on June 23, 2012, 08:14:30 AM
Lots of good advice already.  Here's my short answers:

1) Can I wear sandals (chacos) or do I need hiking boots?

You won't be wearing sandals for long if you as they'll be falling off your feet before too long.

2) Is there a chance of it being cool at night?

Yep,  there is a chance, depending on if you're in the upper Chisos around the Rim or down in the Basin.  It'll be a bit cooler at night up near the Rim.  But pleasant for me.

3) Do you actually need a sleeping bag, or just a mat of some sort?

Personal choice.


4)Is a long sleeve shirt highly recommended?? how about pants?

I don't like long sleeves myself.  Nor pants.

5) do I need topography maps, or is there no chance of getting lost on the trail.

There's always a chance of getting lost. But, if you stick to the clearly marked trails, chances are you won't.

6) What is the best way to carry water. Do I need a camel pack or just load my back pack with bottled water?

Multiple containers.  Both a camelback for immediate use and other containers for storage.

7) I have no idea what food to bring or how to cook it, any suggestions?

I prefer to take Mountain House meals and a way to boil the water for it.   Easy to make, delicious by any standard, and not much mess.  No mess kit necessary.  All you need is a little bowl to heat the water up in (Jetboil has one built in) and a spork of some kind.   I also like to take my own little mixture of nuts and chocolate (m&ms are my favorite for the trail). 

8) The highs next week are 105-110 in Terlingua, Would that make the Chisos around 90-95?

Probably.



Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Chireaux on June 23, 2012, 09:44:39 AM
Great advice so far, thanks for the replies. FYI I'm 33 and in decent shape, Although I'm more in anaerobic shape than aerobic. Im 5,7 about 170.
El hombre, not sure I'm following.
I was planning to start at the lodge and travelling down pinnacles trail until about 8 and setting up camp. Then finishing pinnacles the next evening and travelling back up the laguna meadows trail.
The first day I would hike from maybe 3-8, and the next day from maybe 6-7 to 2 ish. I figured I would have to suffer through the eat of the day so it may as well be the first day.
Are you saying it would be better to hike the pinnacles in the morning.
Do most hikers not hike during the heat of the day?

I may do a practice run as you mentioned, sounds like good advice.
Title: First timer
Post by: Casa Grande on June 23, 2012, 10:56:24 AM
I hike during the heat of the day, all be it more slowly and with more water.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Homer67 on June 23, 2012, 11:12:40 AM
Man! I remember our first trip to Big Bend; I had been 3 times in '93, but my wife had not been.  She had also never camped.  I chose the backcountry so that the luxuries of the Basin or primitive roadside would be a non-issue. We also desired to encounter as few others as possible. I know it will be too hot now to do that.

It took us several trips to finally get things down.  I used to spend mass time with checklists --- overthinking and overpacking!  Now I compartmentalize each major area: shelter (including sleep pad/bag, tarp, etc...), food (mess kit and stove as well), water, pack essentials (snake-bite kit, bandana, head lamp, sm sewing kit, etc...), and electrolyte maintenance.

Since it will be hot, I would think about electrolyte maintenance.  As part of our pack essentials, I put a 4 oz pack of beef jerky in a zip lock and one gatorade packet for each day in each pack. We also buy a 20 oz gatorade (the packs are made for this size) as they are sturdy bottles, which we each keep handy in pockets on the outside of our packs. I would also recommend a good dinner and a small breakfast to help keep up with your electrolytes.  There are many ways to approach this...
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: fartymarty on June 23, 2012, 12:02:49 PM
..... not sure I'm following.
I was planning to start at the lodge and travelling down UP pinnacles trail until about 8 and setting up camp. Then finishing pinnacles the next evening and travelling back up DOWN the laguna meadows trail.
Maybe my edit will help you follow better?

It's doubtful that you'll have too much competition for camping up there at this time of year,
but be advised that you can't just hike until you feel like stopping and set up camp just anywhere. You'll be making a reservation
for a specific camp site when you get your permit. I agree with elhombre, camp in the basin, hike the Lost Mine trail, then decide if
you want to tackle the Pinnacles trail. I wouldn't start the Pinnacles any later than 8:30 AM at this time of year,
(unless I was just going to Boulder meadow or Juniper flats) hiking up and up and up is exhausting enough in the shade.
If you start late in the day, I think you'll need 50% more water during the climb then you would during the morning when it's cooler and in the shade. However, I have seen experienced backpackers take off from the basin parking lot in the late afternoon. I always thought they were a bit daft, more out to punish themselves and pretend it's enjoyable, than to just enjoy the park. I've not seen that many start late in the day during the summer months.
 
 Here is some info (http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/upload/Chisos-Mountains-Backcountry-Campsites-2007-final-draft-high-res.pdf) you may not have seen. (Make sure the wife is OK with page two and three. (6-8" cat-hole, toilet paper delema et al) ;) )

If it's really important to stick to your plan, then I suggest the following: Leave at 4PM ish and leisurely backpack to Boulder meadow, set up camp and enjoy the evening. Day hike early the next morning up to Emory peak or the South Rim and return down hill (same trail that you went up earlier) in the late afternoon/early evening to your Boulder Meadow camp site. If you still have enough water then spend the night there again, if not then break camp and continue down to the basin and enjoy a well earned Cobbler a la mode at the restaurant.  :great:

I may do a practice run as you mentioned, sounds like good advice.
This would be a great idea.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Infosec on June 23, 2012, 12:22:16 PM
I think its important to do plenty of research on the trails you plan to travel. Look at the topography, understand where you got the switchbacks. And paint that mental pictures with markers that help you along establish easy goals.
One of the key success factors for any high desert hike is heat management and a hydration plan. How to wick moisture from you body and how to replace the water and salts you lost. There are plenty of goog posts and other online resources that will provide you with a fact based approach.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: catz on June 23, 2012, 01:55:17 PM
The Pinnacles Trail is generally steeper than the Laguna Meadows Trail because it tops out sooner.  Therefore, most people go up Laguna Meadows and down Pinnacles.  On the other hand, some people prefer going uphill than going downhill.  The Pinnacles is more scenic, although Laguna's not shabby. 

I would not bother with attempting the side trail to Emory Peak unless you have ruled out getting to the South Rim.

While I guess anything is possible, it is virtually impossible to get lost.  The trails--all of them--are clear, obvious, and with signs at every interchange.  The Chisos map available for free at the VC is all you'll need.

You should consider going only about halfway up and camping two nights at that spot.  In the intervening day, you can go up to the Rim, have lunch, and enjoy the views.  No, you won't get the sunset/sunrise but you won't be lugging all your stuff all the way to the rim.  Whether you go up the Pinnacles or the Laguna Meadow trail, there are campsites about halfway up.

I agree that freeze-dried food is the way to go, at least for dinners.  I find the Mountain Home spaghetti with meat sauce is actually pretty tasty, and I think the "enchiladas" are OK, but I haven't found many of the others to be very good.  But they're all hot, light, easy to fix, and gentle on water use.  The freeze-dried eggs with bacon for breakfast are also tasty--and you will get your full day's allotment of salt in that one meal!

I personally never carry a tent (we've had several discussions about that on this Board).   If rain is in the forecast, then you probably should carry one, but otherwise I don't think they are worth the weight.   Even if rain is called for, you can protect yourself by carrying a second, larger ground cloth to cover yourself with.  The few rains there are are usually brief, although they can be pretty heavy for short periods.

The flies can definitely be a nuisance, so take Deet.

As far as clotheses go, I second (or triple) the suggestion about taking convertible cargo pants.  Avoid cotton if possible.  I think a light, long sleeve shirt will be all you'll need.  Wear good-quality hiking shoes, not necessarily boots, but derfinitely not sandals or sneakers.  Good quality socks are also a must.  As is a hat, preferably one with at least a medium brim.  A cheap bandana that you can soak and then tie around your neck is also good.

Let us know how it all turns out! 

Title: Re: First timer
Post by: elhombre on June 23, 2012, 02:14:25 PM
As you may have figured out, I am suggesting that you change your plans and stay in the established car camping campground in the Chiso Basin.  Use it as your base for the time you are there.  After getting your tent up when you arrive, back track up the road a little and hike the Lost Mine Trail.  Get a feel for what the area has to offer on one of the best maintained trails in the park.  The next day, start out at first light and head up the Pinnacles trail.  At 3.3 miles you will make the ridge and you will be able to assess your condition.  If you have a little left to give, head up the Emory peak trail.  If you have a whole bunch left, keep going all the way to the Rim.  The top of ridge on the Pinnicles trail (1st decision check point) is 25% of the way around the entire Rim loop.

I would like to make one more observation.  Many people head out there with big plans to cover a bunch of miles in a short amount of time.  They walk fast with ther heads down looking at the trail the entire time so as to not stumble on the rocky trails.  I believe many miss the main point they originally came out to the area for, and that is to slow down and enjoying being some place else other than WORK.  The desert truely moves at its own pace.  For me, it unfortunatly usually takes 3 full days till I finally get myself to that slower pace.  My guess ( and hope) is that after you have been out there once, you will find that you feel refreshed by slowing down to that desert pace and you will see why so many people love the place.    :ecomcity:
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: trtlrock on June 23, 2012, 02:33:44 PM
Lots of good advice here. I'll try to add things that maybe haven't been mentioned yet, or elaborate on some...

On food, Mtn Hse is OK.

IMHO, this is better:  http://www.maryjanesfarm.org/categories/food-pantry.asp

And, this is MUCH better (tres yummy): http://www.packitgourmet.com/

If you're fairly new to backpacking, and/or are going to be heavily loaded with water, figure on a max pace of 1.5 mph going up or down, and max of 2.0mph on the flats (i.e. once on the Rim). Add in a 10-minute break for every hour hiked. Take your shoes & socks off every break! Your feet will thank you. Add in 1-hr for a lunch break, and make 2 of those 10-m breaks 30-m breaks instead, for significant snacks. Allocate 1-2 hours of daylight/twilight after you reach camp. You will be tired, hungry, thirsty. You will need to set up camp, clean up, have a snack/dinner. You will want to take photos, sit on the Rim & watch the sunset/sunrise, etc (camp at NE4 and/or SW3 if possible)

Buy or rent trekking poles. Your knees will thank you, and, without exaggeration, the success of your Rim-hike might actually depend on whether you have poles or not, given your heavy load, and your experience level. In the same vein, some hikers prefer (I do) to climb rather than descend the Pinnacles, as descending the Pinnacles (even without a heavy load) is very hard on the knees.

On water, I'd allocate 1.5g per-person per-day on the steep climb up, 1g p-p p-d on the upper flats, and 1.25g p-p p-d if descending in direct sun. You really need to use Boot Spring or the pools upstream for as much water as you can. The water will be there, and you should read through the many threads here wrt water treatment. If you don't avail yourself of this water, the climb & the rest of the hike will be needlessly brutal wrt pack weight.

Have fun whatever you do!
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Chireaux on June 23, 2012, 08:48:23 PM
This is a great thread, hopefully it will help many other beginner hikers as well. One quick question while I'm thinking about it. Assuming I left early morning and hiked in the cooler part of the day. What does one do the rest of the day.?Are there trees to find shade in most areas...what are some ways to stay cool and relax in your down time during the heat of the day?

Oh, and A couple other questions just came to mind. Can you leave water and other belongings at your campsite? is this safe to do.

Also, could someone please explain switchbacks....?
Title: First timer
Post by: kevint on June 23, 2012, 09:17:43 PM
Switchbacks are parts of a trail that zig-zag  back and forth up a steep slope so the route is longer but less steep.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Al on June 23, 2012, 09:44:11 PM
Hiking in the morning will be cooler and much more enjoyable than hiking in the heat of the day.  Once you get to your campsite, there is plenty to do after you set it up camp.  Such as explore the area.  I'm fond of naps, after all it is a vacation. . .  Talk to the rangers about stuff to see in the vicinity.  Explore and take lots of pictures to share with us. 

I wouldn't be worried about theft but I wouldn't tempt fate either. The only folks even potentially near by will be like you:  there to enjoy the exercise, remoteness and nature.  Bring a small day pack to take some  water,  snack, your camera, wallet, etc. for when you explore away from the campsite.  Your stuff will be fine.

Al
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: elhombre on June 23, 2012, 09:44:29 PM
Mmmmm.............B uena Suerte mi amigo
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Infosec on June 23, 2012, 10:21:39 PM
My favorite are the naps, but if you time your visit to coincide with a New Moon, then you are in for the real treat. BB has the darkest skies of any park in the lower 48. I never thought that I would see darker skies than in Arches, but BB was by far the best night show.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: stingrey on June 23, 2012, 10:43:51 PM
I hate to put it this way, but my FIRST camping experience in the park was a solo overnighter. I'd never camped in my own gear that I'd set up myself outside of a car campsite, and I'd learned everything I *thought* I needed to know here on this very board.

I went up with a roughly 3lb tent (Big Agnes Seedhouse SL3, worth every lb), and I spent TWO nights up there. The first night I stayed up on Juniper Flats somewhere (basically after the hardest first mile you'll take on the way up towards Pinnacles IMO) and then I stayed in Boot Canyon 4 the 2nd night. I took 100oz containers of water for each night I was going to be there and a couple of big Gatorades for fun and a TON of clothes for added punishment.

The things I learned in order are:

1) You can't step on your stakes to stick 'em in the ground like the "how to" videos on YouTube showed me. Not up there anyway. Maybe at Brazos Bend where the ground is soft. Otherwise the stakes go through the bottoms of your shoes and COULD have gone through your foot if you weren't quick on the retreat from that bad idea.

2) Regardless of the sunny forecast, it can and will rain on you, maybe even with mixed bits of hail and tons of reverberating thunder to accompany the lightning. It is awesome, but not so much if you are in a tarp or worse yet if you don't have a tarp.

3) The water was heavy, but it was worth it to me when I had extra to give someone who would've had to hike back down early since they'd run out. If you start out early (again, you HAVE to reserve your sites), you will allow yourself time to set up shop and ENJOY the massive trek you just took on AND you'll have plenty of water because you brought enough. Don't skimp on the water.

Everyone will tell you whatever they can about clothes, but if you are going to spend any amount of time outside, consider a long sleeve. Even if it is cotton. It holds moisture, so it will keep you wet and cool 'till it dries thoroughly if you are in the sun relaxing for a while. Wear something dark if you will be out at all at night. Minimize your tastiness to small biting insects that might fly your way based on lighter hues.

When you ask what do you do the rest of the day... There are plenty of trees in the upper areas of Big Bend's South Rim trail system. You will find shade all over up there in varying intervals. I take a small REI tripod stool to sit on sometimes, sometimes I take something more comfy. If you can haul that small bit of weight the wife would probably enjoy it, but you can get by without those comfort items.

There is a lot you can get by without. Clothes is one of the things I over estimate more often than not, but lately I pack more socks and plan on a dry set of clothes for that night/next night which doubles as the hike out outfit as well if needed. There is plenty to do up there, but if you find yourself needing to beat the heat and just chill, some people take books. If you are like me, you'll look for stuff to shoot (with your camera). You may be into wildlife, scenery, night skies, etc. There is a LOT to do, and not enough time to do it.

I cut my teeth on South Rim. If I could do it, I KNOW anyone else can do it, but you have to keep the very basics in mind... Water, your physical ability, and the upkeep of your feet. In theory you can get by without much more than that for a day or two. Everything else is based on your needs and desires from this outing. Pack some headlamps and a good flashlight or two. You never know what you'll spot at night.

I tell you what though, if you have not done South Rim or any major hike, you WILL be in for a surprise. It will be very grueling, you will stop more than you think (esp if you have never carried weight on your back to the degree you will for an overnighter in a dry area with no immediately available running water), and yet IF you allow for that to be part of the anticipated experience, you WILL be rewarded with some amazing opportunities to experience some pretty cool stuff.

Trust me... If I could do this as my first overnighter ever and make it a multi-nighter with water to spare, I am pretty sure many other people can pull it off... You just have to know what you are getting into and be ready to haul up what you want to have or leave out what you know you probably don't need to enjoy your trip. My best experience gauge is other trails. Have you done Lost Maples's loop (east I believe)? Enchanted Rock? What have you done with a moderate incline... Can you do that in one shot? With 50+ lbs on your back? Can your wife?

On leaving stuff, nobody will take stuff from your site, but there are bear boxes. If you are paranoid, you can lock your box with stuff inside it. Take a lock. I wouldn't bother. Try to grab a site near the rim if you will allow a whole day (starting in the a.m.) to get there. There are a ton of ways to slice this type of outing, but again... We have to know your actual level of exposure to previous hikes to really help here.

Some of this is mental and some of it is physical, but some good prep and advice goes a long way. Personally if I had a chance to do things over, I'd almost always opt for an overnighter on South Rim vs. doing portions of or the entirety of it as a day hike. On the flip side, like others have said, maybe prep for your outing but spend a day going up something like Lost Mine as a day hike the day before. If that scares you when it is said and done, know that you may not want to take on South Rim as an overnighter this trip around. Or if you are confident in your ability after shouldering the pack on a moderate trail system in your area, you should be able to do it as a first time outing...

IF you give yourself enough time and IF your wife is up to it. I did this outing with my ex. Both of us were challenged, but both of us made it, and when she went it was her first time to do something like this too. In that case, the same tent I had was definitely valued way more than it was for just myself. Tarps are great. Find out the level of comfort for everyone involved in this outing with regard to knowledge that rattlesnakes and other non-venomous snakes ARE out right now (in force as of a few weeks ago) and that a ton of spiders and other stuff are out because of all the recent rainfall. Not a huge deal since most people in tarps don't ever have encounters with said critters...

Lots to consider, but thankfully you at least asked the initial questions. Whatever you end up doing, please be sure to share some pics!
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Al on June 23, 2012, 11:14:23 PM
Rey, next time tell us what you really think!   :iagree:

I don't know if there is a Readers Digest version, but perhaps the Boy Scout Motto, "Be Prepared" applies.  It is much much better to bring too much stuff than not enough, particularly your first trip while you are still young. 

You don't want to go to all the good time and trouble to go and hike up there to be miserable.  With experience you will become more judicious in what you haul in your pack but until then it is best to ere on the side of caution. Be sure and bring some treats to enjoy.

Al
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: mule ears on June 24, 2012, 07:12:42 AM
All good info and advice.  Like stingrey, I find clothing the area that I tend to over think and bring too much.  While I would make sure I took everything that I think I would need to make a comfortable trip, don't over do it and carry so much un-necessary stuff that you and your wife are miserable carryhing heavy loads, including carrying all your water if there is water in the pools in Boot Canyon that you can filter or purify.

stingrey is also man mountain along the lines of TWWG so take that into account as far as how much load he can handle versus others.   :notworthy:

Here is a really good thread on what gear folks use (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/general-outdoor-stuff-camping-equipment/packing-lists/msg103599/#msg103599) including a discussion on clothes.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: kevint on June 24, 2012, 08:22:51 AM
Here is a really good thread on what gear folks use (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/general-outdoor-stuff-camping-equipment/packing-lists/msg103599/#msg103599) including a discussion on clothes.


Looked at the thread.  What's an Alf hat?
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: mule ears on June 24, 2012, 09:44:21 AM
Here is a really good thread on what gear folks use (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/general-outdoor-stuff-camping-equipment/packing-lists/msg103599/#msg103599) including a discussion on clothes.


Looked at the thread.  What's an Alf hat?

It is just the brand name.  A wide brim with ventilation like this

(http://40yearsofwalking.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/canyonlands-186.jpg?w=225&h=300)
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: chisos_muse on June 24, 2012, 10:32:51 AM
Nice photo, ME!  :13:
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Homer67 on June 24, 2012, 01:00:33 PM
    I like the suggestion to slow it down on the hikes.  We did the OML in November over 6 days --- it was glorious to immerse ourselves in the wilderness!  We had time for many side trips and naps, even picking a bush to sleep under in the Dodson drainage.  We also napped in the deep leaves of the wooded ecotone along Blue Creek about a mile before one begins the hike up into the Chisos. On our last trip we found a decent scrub tree in a certain canyon in W07 and napped during the heat of the day in a nice bit of cool, soft-feeling gravel in its shade.

It used to take me some days to 'come down' from our artificial, secular existence, but our trips have occurred often enough that they simply seem a continuation of the last; perhaps it is my constant planning/research that keeps the feeling alive.

Here are some videos of these areas:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VNS22BghxA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7N44RvebP0

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5119/7433862374_f21d5a03d1.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/74789137@N07/7433862374/)
Not an Ideal spot to nap, but...  Mar 2012 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/74789137@N07/7433862374/) by Superhomer670 (http://www.flickr.com/people/74789137@N07/), on Flickr





Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Chireaux on June 24, 2012, 08:55:44 PM
Sounds Great everyone...
I like the videos Homer, very beautiful, can't wait to see it.
 Im sure you cant really put it all into words (or on video) until you get there and experience it.  I really appreciate all the great info, we're heading down later next week so I will be sure to post many pics when I get back.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Chireaux on June 27, 2012, 10:25:07 PM
Hey guys do you know how far it is from the basin ,down the pinnacles trail to the south rim and back up the same trail, excluding the Northeast rim Trail?
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: badknees on June 27, 2012, 10:54:24 PM
Hey guys do you know how far it is from the basin ,down the pinnacles trail to the south rim and back up the same trail, excluding the Northeast rim Trail?

Well......You kinda have to go up the Pinnacles trail from the Basin cause the South Rim is about 2,000 higher than the Basin. You might want to take a look at a topo map and check out the little curvey lines. Aside from that minor(?) detail, its about 13 miles round trip from the Basin Trailhead.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Chireaux on June 28, 2012, 12:45:12 AM
Haha, I guess I said "down" because it's going south. I realize it's actually "up".
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: RichardM on June 28, 2012, 07:26:09 AM
The NPS used to have a map page with a PDF version of the High Chisos Trails, similar to the Chisos Mountains Trail Map you can (and should) buy at the visitor center in the park (or online (http://bigbendbookstore.org/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=23), if you can't wait). Fortunately I have an old copy saved off. This map has distance markers for sections of the trails, so you can add up the total for any given route. The Emory Peak Trail has since been re-routed, so it's a bit longer but more scenic and less strenuous.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: stingrey on June 28, 2012, 08:17:14 AM
You'll get a ton of feedback re: which way is easier to go up/come back down when doing the loop. In my OPINION, it is easier to go up Pinnacles and come back Laguna Meadow with a heavy load vs. going the other way around. The worst part of Pinnacles is the first mile. Once you get to the bench, the switchbacks start leveling off to a "reasonable" rate of incline. Still difficult for the whole 3.5 roughly, but once you get up and over that part, the rest will seem challenging compared to what you previously may have begun to think of as insurmountable.

The reason I THINK it is easier to do it this way is because to me it is much harder on the knees and body in general to come down on such steep steps if you are physically tired AND have the added weight of a fully loaded pack minus whatever water and food you consumed. Taking a miscalculated step under pack load can result in a faceplant. Since most of the trail is broken rock surrounded by cactus and other pointy plants, this is not a good time to fall. Laguna Meadow is a somewhat more gentle descent, but in both cases the walk back will take you into the afternoon sun if you are taking your time. It will be hot.

Mule Ears compared me to TWWG in terms of my ability to haul stuff. I am honored, but I can also assure you that I do not come close to TWWG in what he can carry up a mountain. While I do load my pack down quite a bit, trust me... TWWG is a legend by pretty much any standard. I can tell you though that even as a first timer way back when I was MOST happy at having a light weight shelter and plenty of water. The second most important thing was that I was almost warm. A storm came in and the temps dropped to way below what they were when I hiked up in the hot temps. Having a lightweight and suitable bag and/or at least some dry clothes that you didn't sweat in really comes in handy.

Can't remember if you said where you were coming from, but you can rent gear at REI if you don't want to buy any gear right now. Keep the questions coming! Distance wise, you are easily able to take on South Rim as an overnighter or multinighter. What you carry will influence how you feel about the overall trek, but if you don't rush the outing I am fairly certain you will be pretty pleased with the payoff.

To give you an idea of what a couple of the sites up there can look like:

(http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/73837_175182265826453_3145327_n.jpg)

(http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/s720x720/379310_443693762308634_720381566_n.jpg)

Here's what Boot Canyon can look like as you're hiking through that portion of the trail system in the fall, not sure how it looks right now:

(http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/68872_169681783043168_2119446_n.jpg)

And JUST IN CASE you decide to try base camp in The Basin and take on South Rim as a LONG day hike instead, this is what your view from The Basin campgrounds kinda looks like:

(http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/281578_249713261706686_2524304_n.jpg)
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: FatPacker on June 28, 2012, 08:51:38 AM
my 2 cents worth....

I agree with Rey.  Up pinnacles and down Laguna works much better for me and I am not a speed hiker. We did that route in August of 2010 and it took us nearly 4 hours to ascend. But we stopped a lot to sweat, and breathe. I also agree that from the parking lot to the bench (you can't miss it, or resist stopping there) is the toughest part. This is true not just because it is steep, but also because there is not a lot of shade up to that point. This time of year is will be hot, dusty and tiring.... but hang in there, the switchbacks are much shadier. My sons and I felt that those switchbacks seemed more like flat stretches connected by step-up parts on the corners in a lot of places. Then all of a sudden you will see that metal sign for TM1 and hallelujah, the hard climb is over.     Also I would recommend that you not skip doing the northeast trail. Since this is only accesible for half the year, not a lot of people get to go there. And it is one of my favorite places in the park. NE4 campsite is the best up there. If I were to only spend one night in the Chisos, that is where I would go.  But there are a lot of spots that I would call a close second.. like SE3,  TM1,  heck, I would stay at any of the sites up there if I could just get away from the office and leave right now...
Go enjoy yourself, take a ton of water, be careful,  go slow and bask in all the majesty of the area....  you lucky dog!
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: dprather on June 28, 2012, 09:17:04 AM
I always go up Pinnacles, even when other options make more sense.  The view of the Window over my shoulder is one of my favorites.

Think long and hard about the chacos.  I was once passed on the Dodson by a young guy wearing el-cheapo flip-flops (!).  But I did not admire him.  My toes were safe from sharp-pointed pains and my ankles were supported by good boots.

The trails are so well marked that the folding park guide to the High Chisos is adequate - if you have studied the topos before you hit the trail.

I continue to be influenced by the backpacking authority who observed about food that it is just about impossible to underestimate the amount you need.  After cutting and cutting and cutting, my backpacking amigo and I still throw food out at the end of the trail.  Panera Bread sells something called a "muffie," a cross between a choclate chip cookie and a muffin - I can go for days on those things!  Taking Mountain House and other freeze dried meals means more weight for cooking equipment.  I'd rather explore than cook.

If you havn't done much backpacking before, the High Chisos will certainly challenge you.  But you can do it!  And you get a double pay-off.  Not only will you get to see truly wonderful things, but you'll also be able to say that you pushed yourself to new physical limits and won!

Title: Re: First timer
Post by: RichardM on June 28, 2012, 09:29:21 AM
For a single overnight trip, you can always elect to "cold camp" and leave the stove behind. This means packing food which doesn't require cooking or rehydrating. On my one High Chisos overnighter to SW4, my Dad and I just packed sandwiches, fruit and snacks, and a bunch of water and Gatorade. Heck, I still remember one boy scout campout where one kid's mother did his meal planning for the weekend. It consisted of a whole loaf of white bread made into PBJ sandwiches.

P.S. I'll also throw in my vote for going up Pinnacles and down Laguna Meadow. Google alpine rest step (https://www.google.com/search?q=alpine+rest+step&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&safe=active) for some tips on hiking at elevation under heavy loads.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Chireaux on June 28, 2012, 01:24:40 PM
Here is my checklist so far... What do you guys think...

Clothes:
Long sleeve under 
Columbia short sleeve shirt
Under Armour shorts 
Wool socks 
Synthetic Underwear
Wide brim hat
Salamon Hiking shoes (no chacos)

Gear:
Two man hardwear drifter tent, 5lbs 
70 liter backpack, wife has a smaller one
Thermarest Air cushions and pillows
Cocoon sheet

Extras:....
Sunglasses 
Flashlight 
Led lantern
Whistle 
First aid kit
Toothbrush
Mess kit for cooking
Small butane stove
Camera
Lock 
Tp + shovel
Baby powder
Pocket knife
Toothbrush 
Ziplocks for trash etc..
Lighter 
bear spray 

water 
1 3 liter bladder
8 16oz bottles water
1 32oz coconut water 
A couple dry Gatorade packs
Water tablets

Wife has 2 liter bladder
8 16oz bottles water
32oz coconut water 
a couple dry Gatorade packs

Food 
Day 1
Mountain house spaghetti and meatballs
Day2
Breakfast
Dried bacon egg
Lunch - mount house spaghetti and meatballs again

Snacks
Dried blueberries
4 cliff bars each
Pb and crackers
trail mix
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: steelfrog on June 28, 2012, 01:44:25 PM
Don't need bear spray
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: trtlrock on June 28, 2012, 02:01:33 PM
Here's some feedback...

Missing:

Trekking poles
Rain jacket
Bug spray

Comments:

5lb tent is 2lbs too heavy (ideally), but since you already own it...

Thermarest Air cushions and pillows: you should strongly consider bringing ridgerests too, or something to put under your air mattresses so they won't puncture & deflate. If not, exercise seemingly ludicrous care to clean the spot before deploying the mattresses. I'd ditch the pillows and use balled up clothing in a stuff sack for pillows.

I don't know what a cocoon sheet is, but I doubt you need it. (unless it's instead of sleeping bags)
Sunglasses -- the wide-brim hat could do instead.
Flashlight/lantern -- too heavy, each of you should bring a good headlamp instead
Mess kit for cooking -- keep this minimalist & light-weight
Lock -- for what?
Shovel -- use your boot heel or a digging rock
Bear spray -- I wouldn't bother

8 16oz + 1 32oz bottles per person -- too heavy, and (especially) way too bulky in your pack. Bring maybe 6-ea 2-3 litre bladders instead, and (assuming your packs have external pockets for these) a max of 4-5ea 32oz Nalgene bottles. Ascend Pinnacles to Boot with as little water as possible (2-3 litres per person?), then get the rest of your water there, treat it, and re-pack your packs with the now-full bladders.

http://cascadedesigns.com/platypus/water-bottles/platy-bottle/product

Make sure you bring good tweezers in your med kit, and a good sealed "vial" of saline to wash out an eye is a must, imho.

Personally, I would make Day-2 lunch a fuel-free lunch. Something like jerky (or jerquee for veggies), string cheese, a green pepper, a bit of onion, and pita bread.

Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Cookie on June 28, 2012, 02:26:43 PM
IMO I would change:

Here is my checklist so far... What do you guys think...

Clothes:
Long sleeve under
Columbia short sleeve shirt
Under Armour shorts
Wool socks
Synthetic Underwear
Wide brim hat
Salamon Hiking shoes (no chacos)

Gear:
Two man hardwear drifter tent, 5lbs 
70 liter backpack, wife has a smaller one
Thermarest Air cushions and pillows
Cocoon sheet

Extras:....
Sunglasses
headlamp
flashlight
Led lantern
Whistle
First aid kit
Toothbrush
Mess kit for cookingpan for water+2 spoons
Small butane stove + fuel
Camera
Lock
Tp + shovel(plastic) +ziplocks 4 TP
Baby powder
Pocket knife
Toothbrush
Ziplocks for trash etc..see below
Lighter
bear spray

water
1 3 liter bladder MORE liter containers
8x16oz bottles water replace w/ 3x20oz gatorade, then stuff all your trash in 1 of the empties, you can cram a lot in there w/ stick or hiking pole
1 32oz coconut water
A couple dry Gatorade packs
Water tablets do you have a filter pump? how are you going to get the water in your containers IF you pump?

Wife has 2 liter bladder more liters
8 16oz bottles water that's a lot of bottles
32oz coconut water
a couple dry Gatorade packs

Food
Day 1
Mountain house spaghetti and meatballs
Day2
Breakfast
Dried bacon egg oatmeal or bagels or trailmix or poptarts
Lunch - mount house spaghetti and meatballs again have snacks for lunch a cheesburger at the lodge when you get down

Snacks
Dried blueberries
4 cliff bars each
Pb and crackersbagels, less mess+more filling+pack better
trail mix

I think you need to work on your water. Carrying all those bottles is a pain and makes a lot of trash. For a one nighter you should be able to pack all your water and not take any from the springs up there.I wouldn't mess with the MH for lunch when you will be hiking down that day.

As others have said, I would HIGHLY recommend hiking poles!
Good Luck!!
~Cookie
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: stingrey on June 28, 2012, 02:40:54 PM
The trekking poles do come in handy, but they can fail. TWWG would suggest a real hiking stick vs. poles that are of no use if they bend/collapse while you are attempting to rely on them to avoid a face plant...

Rain jacket should be a given, those $1.00 ponchos from d-ck's (this was an auto censor, but this store is a real store, I promise :) Sporting Goods store (or comparable) fit the bill. I have 'em in almost every pack of mine now just in case and to avoid forgetting 'em at home.

Bug spray is something I've always gotten by without, but I hear the biting flies are out in force. Might be something I'd consider, though a long sleeve cotton T and long convertible cargo pants have done the trick in the past for me.

The tent is heavy, but two people are going up. The weight can be divided somehow to accommodate. I'd rent something lighter though if you have the chance, but you can get by with that extra 3lbs.

On the cushions and pillows... I second the balled up clothing for your pillow, but I also pack an inflatable pillow on my treks. Speaking of inflatable, the Thermarest cushions work, but you may be able to save weight using something lighter by Big Agnes or the like. Either way, a comfy sleep makes a difference. In most cases you can easily avoid puncturing your mattress by just double checking the ground before setting up. Since they are established campsites, they aren't that bad due to repeated use.

Cocoon sheet could come in handy if it is cold out, if you think the weight is negligible, take it. The wife may need it. You seem good on the fluids, but I agree in that the bottles should be consolidated to avoid running out of room.

Shovel... Yes or no. There are a couple of composting toilets up there. If you plan accordingly, you can avoid needing the shovel.

Bear spray... That is a personal choice. IF you take it, keep it front and center ready to deploy. I am pretty sure you won't need it for a charging black bear, but just four weeks ago people got bluff charged on Lost Mine. Personally, I'd stand up to a black bear. It can easily take me out, but they GENERALLY bluff if on the rare occasion they charge. The spray MAY come in handy for a kitty incident though, but if there are two of you and you are walking with big packs on, the likelihood is slim. Point is that is your call, it is one of those things you could possibly wish you had if you didn't have it and vice versa.

I understand the lock, but I'm pretty sure again that you are not going to have anyone mess with your bear box full of stuff. It COULD happen, but the odds of that happening are probably the same as you encountering a hostile bear or cat.

Sunglasses... Depends on what you want. I personally want to see EVERYTHING as clearly as possible. I have weak 'scrip glasses, so I wear those when I'm hiking just to be sure I am not missing something out in the distance/etc. I wear those at all times in the park and rarely take sunglasses unless I need the polarized lenses to see through glass (i.e. driving) or water in the park. If you don't wear prescription glasses, I'd personally recommend against sunglasses unless that's just to wear while trekking. If you have wrap arounds with no rims on the side though, that is another "your call" type item. I'd opt for being able to see more at all times, so if they are framed lenses or non-'scrip, I'd leave 'em behind and save 'em for driving during the day.

The cocoon sheet is one thing I would repeat as being something you may want to bring because the temps at night may get cooler than you anticipate. There are two of you, so you can definitely turn to each other for heating needs, but if one of you tends to sleep cold, that may be a lifesaver for you.

You can skip mountain house and go "dry" or straight up tuna or whatever to avoid fuel needs, but if you plan to take it up, my vote is to make the most of it. Enjoy it however you'd want to enjoy it. Heck, take some powdered cocoa even.

Here is where that lighter tent and lighter gear in general will factor in... Lights and camera gear.

I carry a lot of camera gear and a few light options. It depends entirely on whether or not you will look around at night and/or take pictures at night/etc. Tripod? You can improvise, sure... But if you want to do it right, you'll need one for night shooting. Just mentioning that piece as an example. I've carried all of that stuff up there, but I have not carried it on subsequent trips if I didn't end up using it.

Being said, think about what you want to do/have/etc. The lantern can be skipped if you both have headlamps. I'd still carry a flashlight between the two of you if you will be trekking at night for any duration of time. Look around you. Be aware of what is ahead, behind, to the side, and maybe most importantly, just underfoot.

Overall everything you've listed sounds pretty good IMO. Synthetic underwear is something most people don't even consider. If you've ever gotten "trail rash" though, those $25.00 exofficio underwear seem pretty inexpensive (esp after you've used something like 'em and realized the difference).

I know we all have varying ideas about what should go up and what can be avoided, but whatever you decide you should both try to load up your packs and walk UP something with 'em on and fully loaded. Walk up a multi level parking garage if you don't have any local trail systems with inclines. If you can handle it, go for it! I take my comfort items, but I now take a tripod chair vs. a stand alone actual pillow. I'd rather have a quick soft seat to sit on to help me relax if nothing else suitable is around. But that's me. Everyone has their own thing.

I tell you what though, take enough Crown (or Patron) and you may find that you only ever touched 1/3 of everything you took up there with you to begin with! :)

Title: Re: First timer
Post by: trtlrock on June 28, 2012, 02:42:13 PM
If my wife & I hiked this as an overnighter, on hot days, we'd probably bring:

4L each for ascent & recovery (once on top)
1L total for dehy dinner
1L total for morning coffee
1L total for breakfast
1L total to split (drinking) before the descent
3L each for descent in direct sun

total = 18L
minus 4 32oz Nalgene bottles = 14L approx.
= 7ea 2L platypi (but we'll have consumed ~4L when we reach Boot, so only need to bring 5-6 2L platypi)

this might be 2-4L too much, but better safe than sorry.

your approach, water consumption rate, form of storage, etc may differ, of course -- this is just an example.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: trtlrock on June 28, 2012, 02:52:50 PM
I'm not sure of your desert hiking experience, so forgive me if you already know this:

Dehydration can kill you; it is the biggest danger in desert hiking, even in the upper Chisos.

If you're peeing dark/deep yellow/orange, your are in BIG trouble.
If you're peeing yellow, you need to drink more water now, and get 'on top of' things. You are already dehydrated.
If you're peeing clear, you're good.

Each of you should drink 1L of water in the 1-2 hours before you start hiking up on Day 1.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Don H on June 28, 2012, 03:14:52 PM
"but whatever you decide you should both try to load up your packs and walk UP something with 'em on and fully loaded"
I totally agree with this statement, especially if this is your first time.  Load the packs up, strap em on and try to walk up hill somewhere for at least an hour, if you're good after that then go for it!
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: steelfrog on June 28, 2012, 03:33:25 PM
Best thing works for me on the water is those really cheap water bottles you get in a case of 24 at the store for about $3.  They are real thin plastic; when empty, crunch them up and put the lid back on and they pack to a fraction of the size; if you find a place to filter water, blow them up and pump into them.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Infosec on June 28, 2012, 08:55:51 PM
If my wife & I hiked this as an overnighter, on hot days, we'd probably bring:

4L each for ascent & recovery (once on top)
1L for dehy dinner
1L for morning coffee
1L for breakfast
1L to split (drinking) before hiking
3L each for descent in direct sun

total = 18L
minus 4 32oz Nalgene bottles = 14L approx.
= 7ea 2L platypi

this might be 2-4L too much, but better safe than sorry.

your approach, water consumption rate, form of storage, etc may differ, of course -- this is just an example.

Holy Toledo if I had a liter of coffee in the morning I would be bouncing off the walls :dance: But seriously a hydration plan is must, next month on my Solo trip the hydration plan is based on 4L per day on heavy hiking days and 2L for sleeping day  :eusa_whistle: and taking it easy on the Rim. Depending on how you attack the trail (time of day, rest stops and munching) you should be able to do it with 12L per person.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Infosec on June 28, 2012, 09:09:59 PM
If you're peeing orange, your are in BIG trouble.
If you're peeing yellow, you need to drink more water now, and get 'on top of' things. You are already dehydrated.
If you're peeing clear, you're good.

Each of you should drink 1L of water in the 1-2 hours before you start hiking up on Day 1.

great advice, there are a couple of published papers online from UT and FS (gators) from their sports medicine program that talk about fluid and electrolyte replenishment, stages of dehydration and possible renal damage/failure due to ineffective hydration during physical exercise at high temperatures. The studies also cautioned the risks associated with hyper hydration. Too much water is just as bad.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: trtlrock on June 28, 2012, 09:13:07 PM

Holy Toledo if I had a liter of coffee in the morning I would be bouncing off the walls :dance:

The 1L of water is coffee for two people  :icon_lol:

But, yeah, that 2nd cup is always a good thing. Only at home though, can't spare the water weight when hiking... :icon_cry:
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Al on June 28, 2012, 09:38:12 PM
If you're peeing orange, your are in BIG trouble.
If you're peeing yellow, you need to drink more water now, and get 'on top of' things. You are already dehydrated.
If you're peeing clear, you're good.

Each of you should drink 1L of water in the 1-2 hours before you start hiking up on Day 1.

great advice, there are a couple of published papers online from UT and FS (gators) from their sports medicine program that talk about fluid and electrolyte replenishment, stages of dehydration and possible renal damage/failure due to ineffective hydration during physical exercise at high temperatures. The studies also cautioned the risks associated with hyper hydration. Too much water is just as bad.

Dang, I only urinate clear when I have had a few beers.

Al
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Homer67 on June 29, 2012, 02:04:30 PM
18L sounds about right. 

When my wife and I carry a "full-load" it means 3-1 Gal bottles, 2- 3L hydration bladders and a 20 oz each --- (3.78L/gal)(3 gal jugs) = 11.34 L + 6 L = 17.34 L + (40 oz)(1 L/33.814 oz) = 18.52 liters.

This is what we took for the Dodson to the Homer Wilson, where we restocked up to a "full-load" once again when we did the OML. It roughly gives us 2.5 days of water which we could stretch into 3 if we had to.  But if it's 100+, it may not do for that long.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Chireaux on July 07, 2012, 09:11:25 PM
Just wanted to say thanks for all the qdvice, we finally returned from our trip and had a wonderful time. My wife and I realy fell in love with Bibe. Here is a little reccap of our trip if your interested. We arrived at Panther junction about 5:30 pm, unfortunately this didnt leave us with too much time to get started.My wife was a little freaked out at first bc of all the recent mountain lion acticity. We asked the Ranger a lot of questions when we arrived and she told us about several different mountain lion encounters just in the past couple of weeks, as well as a hiker getting bluff charged by a bear. (probably a question we shouldnt have asked). My wife is only 4'11 and 97 lb, so she felt like she was a prime target, lol.
We decided to camp in boulder meadow and just take our time and finish the rest if the hike the following day. This was probably a good idea considering the weight that our packs were, we definitely overpacked on the food but we were just about right on the water.. Im sure my wifes pack was at least half of her bw. We left our tent and a few other items in BM and day hiked from there.  Needless to say we didnt get much sleep that  night, especially considering this was our first time ever sleeping in a tent.. She was ready to go back in the lodge in the am, lol, but thankfully I talked her in to continuing. We hiked that day up the pinnacles trail to the top, my wife was exhausted on the way up up but that quickly went away when we got to the top and were able to see the beautiful view. I couldnt talk her to going to the south rim because she was tired and was running a bit low on water at this point and we just didnt know how hard the rest of the trip would be, but I did talk her into going to boot canyon, I just had to carry her bag the rest of the way lol. At this point we turned around and headed back to the lodge, once she realized how easy it was to get back down, she kind of regretted not going to the south rim. But we both decided that this would give us a reason to come back.
The next day my wife was ready to go, I was the one keeping up with her. We went down the window trail (which was awesome) and then we took the Oak Springs trail on the way back. We got to see a lot of wildlife on this trail including deer, roadrunner, lots of insects etc...We did see a large rock that was full of fresh blood with a medium size piece of poop next to it, this was interesting to see and a little scary at the same time.
We also did a trail at the rio grande that eveining as well.
The next day we had reservation s in San antonio which was halfway home for us. We stayed there 2 nights but contemplated staying at bibe and doing the south rim trail all over again. But we just decided that we would have to come back another time. I think the next time we do the south rim, it will be much easier now that we know what to expect. There are also several other hikes that we want to do on the next trip.
Well, thanks again for all the advice, it really did benefit us quite a bit, especially being our first hiking venture. I will post some pics in a bit from my iphone.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Al on July 07, 2012, 09:36:47 PM
Sounds like it was a great first trip and your wife is quite the trooper!  Can't wait for the pictures.

Thanks for the report,
Al
Title: First timer
Post by: Chireaux on July 07, 2012, 09:59:01 PM
here are a few pics....
Title: First timer
Post by: Chireaux on July 07, 2012, 10:10:03 PM
and a few more...
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Geezer on July 07, 2012, 10:33:07 PM
Great photos! Y'all did well.

Geezer
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: mule ears on July 08, 2012, 06:11:35 AM
Y'all probably had the typical first time visit.  Many folks arrive, after a very long trip to get there, and have a big itinerary planned. They feel they have to do a lot because Big Bend is so hard to get to so they better take advantage of it.  Then time, the immensity of the place and the effect of the desert happen and the plan changes.  Some folks roll with it and others get frustrated and leave without ever seeing the beauty.  The good thing is you all rolled with it and now have been bitten by the bug.   :13:

Thanks for the pictures and the report.
Title: First timer
Post by: kevint on July 08, 2012, 07:54:54 AM
Thanks for the trip report.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Infosec on July 08, 2012, 08:20:25 AM
The pictures are very nice, next time you know what to expect and will enjoy the park even more.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: stingrey on July 08, 2012, 10:40:15 AM
Hey, the fact is that you made it AND you made the right decision to get info about what to expect BEFORE you went. Thanks for sharing some pics! Much appreciated! I am normally a critter kinda guy, and the big rock with the blood on it is a very interesting find. WOW!

Curious though, you said you took the Oak Spring trail on the way back. How far did you follow that before turning around? That's one I've never ventured down at all, but one day I will. Also, how were those temps overnight? I take it you did not get any rain while you were camped up in Boulder Meadow? Any snakes? Were you happy overall that you hauled a tent up there?
Title: First timer
Post by: Chireaux on July 08, 2012, 04:18:54 PM

I attached the pick of the rock we found with the blood on it...What do up think?

The oak Spring trail was really cool. Your basically hiking up the side of the mountain. A couple told us while we did the window to hike about 3/4 mile and there were some good views, that's basically to the top of the mountain.the pic with the water tower in it was from the top of that trail. It was definitely worth the extra mile if your doing the window trail.

I don't know what degrees the temps were at night but I would suspect the 50's. The night basically went in 3 stages.
Stage 1 - no sheet/ no shirt..... Stage 2 - shirt and cocoon sheet..... Stage 3 - share cocoon sheet with my wife.... It got a little chilly at that point.

Didn't see any snakes, mountain lions or bears.

We didn't get any rain all though heard some thunderings in the distance, I think Boulder Meadow was the perfect place to camp being with my wife and having all the gear we did, and leaving in late afternoon, we were pretty beat by the time we got there. BM 3 was a nice place to camp, we really liked the views of the mountains in the background.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Infosec on July 08, 2012, 05:56:07 PM
The blood stain definitely was from a fresh kill, still moist and in dry environment like BiBe  that could only be a few hours. Funny I could swear you could pick out the outline of a snake.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: alan in shreveport on July 08, 2012, 09:25:41 PM
Next trip consider staying at the lodge and doing the south rim as a (long) day hike - you don't have to carry so much stuff. Also , you can get one of the staff to shuttle with you and put your vehicle at the base of Oak Creek trail and bring you back to the basin - hike the window then oak creek and cattail falls trails and drive back to the basin.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: Chireaux on July 08, 2012, 09:26:40 PM
Yea, the outline does appear snakelike...
You can't see in the pic but there was fresh droppings next to it as well. Im not sure if it was from the predator or the prey. I'm no expert in that, but it definitely wasn't deer like, it was just one solid piece, It looked like it was from a medium sized animal, maybe a javelina or something.
Title: Re: First timer
Post by: kevint on December 18, 2013, 11:18:22 AM
In my opinion, this thread deserves a sticky.