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Early April Backpacking route suggestions

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Offline cmcg

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Re: Early April Backpacking route suggestions
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2018, 05:47:34 PM »
What about water in the Chisos?  Do I need to bring all my water with me (ugh...3 days is a lot of water to haul).  It sounds like from the most recent report (2/9/18) that the pipe at Boot Springs was not flowing but there were some pools in Boot Canyon.  Can I expect these to be dry too by April?

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Early April Backpacking route suggestions
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2018, 11:17:42 AM »
Water in the Chisos is never 100% reliable outside the summer rainy season and the subsequent few months. Rains usually start dribbling in during late April. Many years ago, I used to go up into the Chisos every spring, sometimes as early as mid-April and sometimes as late as late May, and I never once saw the canyon devoid of water. Sometimes the pools were few, shallow, and scummy, but present nonetheless. Usually, though, there were plenty of decent options for filtering. I did NOT make it up there during the recent extreme drought years when the Canyon may have been bone dry, but we seem to be on the better side of those now. The good news for you is that you’ll be heading up into the Chisos right after Spring Break and so should have the benefit of lots of very recent Chisos and/or OML trip reports posted here on BBC. Those will almost certainly mention the water conditions up in Boot Canyon.


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Offline cmcg

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Re: Early April Backpacking route suggestions
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2018, 07:06:59 PM »
Thanks for the feedback!

If I do decide to haul in my own water, the book I'm reading says you need one gallon per day.  That seems like a lot and I wonder if it is excessive, given that I won't be out in the exposed desert.  People's thoughts?

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Early April Backpacking route suggestions
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2018, 10:19:02 PM »
Thanks for the feedback!

If I do decide to haul in my own water, the book I'm reading says you need one gallon per day.  That seems like a lot and I wonder if it is excessive, given that I won't be out in the exposed desert.  People's thoughts?
In April, definitely a gallon a day, even in the Chisos.
What about water in the Chisos?  Do I need to bring all my water with me (ugh...3 days is a lot of water to haul).  It sounds like from the most recent report (2/9/18) that the pipe at Boot Springs was not flowing but there were some pools in Boot Canyon.  Can I expect these to be dry too by April?


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Re: Early April Backpacking route suggestions
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2018, 10:58:42 AM »
Thanks for the feedback!

If I do decide to haul in my own water, the book I'm reading says you need one gallon per day.  That seems like a lot and I wonder if it is excessive, given that I won't be out in the exposed desert.  People's thoughts?

A gallon per day is an excellent rule-of-thumb. And I guarantee you'll always WANT at least a gallon per day if you have it available.  On the other hand, you may not NEED a gallon per day.  Water is so extraordinarily heavy and cumbersome that anytime you consider carrying a great deal of it, you should ask yourself a few questions first:

1. How many days are you going to be out?  Consider that you can super-hydrate before hitting the trail on your first, and then again when you exit the wilderness on your last day.  Often those first and last trail days are short ones, too. Surely you won't be making breakfast on that first day, or dinner on that last day, so no water needed for those. On trips of 2-3 days, outside the warmer months, you probably don't need to drink more than two liters per day to avoid serious dehydration. Then it's just a question of weighing the discomfort of thirst against the discomfort of carrying waterweight in your pack and deciding what works for you. 

In your case, I'd say you're right on the bubble: a four-day trip, but if you're up in the Chisos, your days won't be nearly as hot or exposed as they would be in the desert.  You could probably get by with only drinking 2 liters per day, though you may find yourself uncomfortably thirsty from time to time.  On the other hand, you always have some chance of finding some kind of unexpected water somewhere along Boot Canyon (again: check the reports on here after Spring Break).

2. How much water do you need for purposes other than drinking?  You may (or may not) need water to cook with. If you do cook, how often: one meal, two meals, three meals per day?  And, if you don't cook your food, you'll need to consume a little more water than you think, in order to help your body digest and process those uncooked foods.  Do you make yourself coffee or tea? If so, you'll need to factor in water for that. But remember, caffeinated drinks are diuretics and may cause you to pee out more fluids than you might otherwise. If you need caffeine, there may be other, lighter ways to bring it with you. Lastly, do you require water for hygiene purposes like dish-washing, hand-washing, tooth-brushing, bathing/rinsing other body parts? If I have to carry painful loads of water, then my hygiene is put on hold or handled in other ways.  So figure out all those extras and add them to your daily drinking water to come up with a daily total for water needs.

3. What is your day-to-day itinerary? If you're going to be moving camp a lot, then humping a lot of water around is going to get old, fast. But if you're planning on making camp up high the first night and staying put for a couple days, then you just have to survive the climb up into the Chisos and you're set. If you're mentally and physically up for it, then you can load up with all the water you want and bull your way through that first day. Once you've hauled your water up to the camp, you're done. After that, you can dayhike with only the water you need for each hike. And if you do want to move to a second or third camp, try to plan your trip so that the moves happen toward the latter or final part of the trip when your total water stores will be at their lowest and lightest and easiest to carry. The best trip plans take advantage of the day-to-day fluctuations in water needs and water weights.

I'm guessing that the burden and discomfort of excess pack weight ends or ruins more Big Bend backpacking attempts than any other cause.  And water is the heaviest thing you'll carry.  So plan your water needs carefully, be brutally realistic, and take as much or as little as you think YOU need to be happy.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2018, 11:11:04 AM by House Made of Dawn »
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Offline dprather

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Re: Early April Backpacking route suggestions
« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2018, 11:16:30 AM »
Thanks for the feedback!

If I do decide to haul in my own water, the book I'm reading says you need one gallon per day.  That seems like a lot and I wonder if it is excessive, given that I won't be out in the exposed desert.  People's thoughts?

A gallon per day is an excellent rule-of-thumb. And I guarantee you'll always WANT at least a gallon per day if you have it available.  On the other hand, you may not NEED a gallon per day.  Water is so extraordinarily heavy and cumbersome that anytime you consider carrying a great deal of it, you should ask yourself a few questions first:

1. How many days are you going to be out?  Consider that you can super-hydrate before hitting the trail on your first, and then again when you exit the wilderness on your last day.  Often those first and last trail days are short ones, too. Surely you won't be making breakfast on that first day, or dinner on that last day, so no water needed for those. On trips of 2-3 days, outside the warmer months, you probably don't need to drink more than two liters per day to avoid serious dehydration. Then it's just a question of weighing the discomfort of thirst against the discomfort of carrying waterweight in your pack and deciding what works for you. 

In your case, I'd say you're right on the bubble: a four-day trip, but if you're up in the Chisos, your days won't be nearly as hot or exposed as they would be in the desert.  You could probably get by with only drinking 2 liters per day, though you may find yourself uncomfortably thirsty from time to time.  On the other hand, you always have some chance of finding some kind of unexpected water somewhere along Boot Canyon (again: check the reports on here after Spring Break).

2. How much water do you need for purposes other than drinking?  You may (or may not) need water to cook with. If you do cook, how often: one meal, two meals, three meals per day?  And, if you don't cook your food, you'll need to consume a little more water than you think, in order to help your body digest and process those uncooked foods.  Do you make yourself coffee or tea? If so, you'll need to factor in water for that. But remember, caffeinated drinks are diuretics and may cause you to pee out more fluids than you might otherwise. If you need caffeine, there may be other, lighter ways to bring it with you. Lastly, do you require water for hygiene purposes like dish-washing, hand-washing, tooth-brushing, bathing/rinsing other body parts? If I have to carry painful loads of water, then my hygiene is put on hold or handled in other ways.  So figure out all those extras and add them to your daily drinking water to come up with a daily total for water needs.

3. What is your day-to-day itinerary? If you're going to be moving camp a lot, then humping a lot of water around is going to get old, fast. But if you're planning on making camp up high the first night and staying put for a couple days, then you just have to survive the climb up into the Chisos and you're set. If you're mentally and physically up for it, then you can load up with all the water you want and bull your way through that first day. Once you've hauled your water up to the camp, you're done. After that, you can dayhike with only the water you need for each hike. And if you do want to move to a second or third camp, try to plan your trip so that the moves happen toward the latter or final part of the trip when your total water stores will be at their lowest and lightest and easiest to carry. The best trip plans take advantage of the day-to-day fluctuations in water needs and water weights.

I'm guessing that the burden and discomfort of excess pack weight ends or ruins more Big Bend backpacking attempts than any other cause.  And water is the heaviest thing you'll carry.  So plan your water needs carefully, be brutally realistic, and take as much or as little as you think YOU need to be happy.

Regarding the gallon-per-day rule, recall that you will also need water for most trail food prep.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline cmcg

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Re: Early April Backpacking route suggestions
« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2018, 10:16:20 AM »
Thanks for the feedback!

If I do decide to haul in my own water, the book I'm reading says you need one gallon per day.  That seems like a lot and I wonder if it is excessive, given that I won't be out in the exposed desert.  People's thoughts?

A gallon per day is an excellent rule-of-thumb. And I guarantee you'll always WANT at least a gallon per day if you have it available.  On the other hand, you may not NEED a gallon per day.  Water is so extraordinarily heavy and cumbersome that anytime you consider carrying a great deal of it, you should ask yourself a few questions first:

1. How many days are you going to be out?  Consider that you can super-hydrate before hitting the trail on your first, and then again when you exit the wilderness on your last day.  Often those first and last trail days are short ones, too. Surely you won't be making breakfast on that first day, or dinner on that last day, so no water needed for those. On trips of 2-3 days, outside the warmer months, you probably don't need to drink more than two liters per day to avoid serious dehydration. Then it's just a question of weighing the discomfort of thirst against the discomfort of carrying waterweight in your pack and deciding what works for you. 

In your case, I'd say you're right on the bubble: a four-day trip, but if you're up in the Chisos, your days won't be nearly as hot or exposed as they would be in the desert.  You could probably get by with only drinking 2 liters per day, though you may find yourself uncomfortably thirsty from time to time.  On the other hand, you always have some chance of finding some kind of unexpected water somewhere along Boot Canyon (again: check the reports on here after Spring Break).

2. How much water do you need for purposes other than drinking?  You may (or may not) need water to cook with. If you do cook, how often: one meal, two meals, three meals per day?  And, if you don't cook your food, you'll need to consume a little more water than you think, in order to help your body digest and process those uncooked foods.  Do you make yourself coffee or tea? If so, you'll need to factor in water for that. But remember, caffeinated drinks are diuretics and may cause you to pee out more fluids than you might otherwise. If you need caffeine, there may be other, lighter ways to bring it with you. Lastly, do you require water for hygiene purposes like dish-washing, hand-washing, tooth-brushing, bathing/rinsing other body parts? If I have to carry painful loads of water, then my hygiene is put on hold or handled in other ways.  So figure out all those extras and add them to your daily drinking water to come up with a daily total for water needs.

3. What is your day-to-day itinerary? If you're going to be moving camp a lot, then humping a lot of water around is going to get old, fast. But if you're planning on making camp up high the first night and staying put for a couple days, then you just have to survive the climb up into the Chisos and you're set. If you're mentally and physically up for it, then you can load up with all the water you want and bull your way through that first day. Once you've hauled your water up to the camp, you're done. After that, you can dayhike with only the water you need for each hike. And if you do want to move to a second or third camp, try to plan your trip so that the moves happen toward the latter or final part of the trip when your total water stores will be at their lowest and lightest and easiest to carry. The best trip plans take advantage of the day-to-day fluctuations in water needs and water weights.

I'm guessing that the burden and discomfort of excess pack weight ends or ruins more Big Bend backpacking attempts than any other cause.  And water is the heaviest thing you'll carry.  So plan your water needs carefully, be brutally realistic, and take as much or as little as you think YOU need to be happy.

Thanks for all the info.  I'm planning to hike in the high Chisos for 3 days, 2 nights...so I'm thinking of bringing 2 gallons, since I won't be hiking the whole first or third day.  I've been practicing hiking with my full backpack--with 2+ gallons, my tent, sleeping bag/pad, etc.--and wow, it's heavy!  I hadn't considered staying at one campsite for both nights (I was thinking of hiking the loop, starting at Laguna Meadows, out to South Rim (excluding the rim trails, which will be closed) and coming back on the Boot Canyon and Pinnacles Trail.  But maybe if I can get one of the camp sites at Colima or Boot Canyon, I can just set up camp for 2 nights and day hike on day 2.  Is it safe to leave a tent unattended (from bears or humans)?

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Online House Made of Dawn

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Re: Early April Backpacking route suggestions
« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2018, 10:39:54 AM »
Is it safe to leave a tent unattended (from bears or humans)?

Excellent question. It will be interesting to see what others' say.

I usually leave my little tarptent up while I'm away from camp. But, of course, I take full advantage of the steel bear-box at m Chisos campsite.  I throw everything but my tent and groundpad into the bear-box and pull it back out when I get back to camp. I can't remember, but I think the NPS advises that tents also be taken down.  Hopefully others will weigh in with the most accurate info.

As far as safety, I've never heard of a single instance of a Chisos campsite being rifled or burgled by a human. I have a heard of a few instances of bears searching through and collapsing tents. And skunks. The only thing that's ever messed with my tent were Carmen Mountains white-tailed deer, and they only sniffed at it.

"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

 


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