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Juniper Canyon ?s (not TOO many)

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Offline stingrey

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Juniper Canyon ?s (not TOO many)
« on: October 17, 2007, 05:38:11 AM »
Hey guys, I'm *this* close to convincing my buds to head back to the bend with me the weekend of 11/9 roughly to include that Friday and MAYBE the Thursday before all the way through Sunday. My main concern? Has to do with cars again. While I'm not sure that the Santa Fe could've made Ernst, I haven't the slightest on the Santa (non 4x4, 2002) and whether or not it can make it to other places.

I'd like to do Juniper Canyon as a "short" hike w/my buds and then to round out the time by camping out someplace back on that side of the Chisos... In other words, we wouldn't follow through to South Rim and go too crazy. Though two of us can do it, there is no need to make the third NEVER want to go back to the bend! :) Seriously though, can a Santa Fe make it to the trailhead?

Second, camping... I don't know what to expect, but I DO know that the local places are filling up if they aren't filled with campers already... Can I expect the bend to be as packed given the timeframe, etc? Those are really my only questions. I don't have a good sleeping bag, but I've seen the threads concerning bags so I don't really need help there... I'd say that we're more set to go to the bend than ever before, so IF it goes through I just want to know if we can 1) drive to Juniper Canyon and 2) what I should do concerning camping (spots back there you recommend? remember, Santa Fe...).

Well, off to work again. If anyone happens to be a Java Programmer, I need some serious help in one of my four classes this semester... I am so lost trying to program in Java.
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Offline cjacob

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Re: Juniper Canyon ?s (not TOO many)
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2007, 08:32:54 AM »
Hey guys, I'm *this* close to convincing my buds to head back to the bend with me the weekend of 11/9 roughly to include that Friday and MAYBE the Thursday before all the way through Sunday. My main concern? Has to do with cars again. While I'm not sure that the Santa Fe could've made Ernst, I haven't the slightest on the Santa (non 4x4, 2002) and whether or not it can make it to other places.

I'd like to do Juniper Canyon as a "short" hike w/my buds and then to round out the time by camping out someplace back on that side of the Chisos... In other words, we wouldn't follow through to South Rim and go too crazy. Though two of us can do it, there is no need to make the third NEVER want to go back to the bend! :) Seriously though, can a Santa Fe make it to the trailhead?

Second, camping... I don't know what to expect, but I DO know that the local places are filling up if they aren't filled with campers already... Can I expect the bend to be as packed given the timeframe, etc? Those are really my only questions. I don't have a good sleeping bag, but I've seen the threads concerning bags so I don't really need help there... I'd say that we're more set to go to the bend than ever before, so IF it goes through I just want to know if we can 1) drive to Juniper Canyon and 2) what I should do concerning camping (spots back there you recommend? remember, Santa Fe...).

Well, off to work again. If anyone happens to be a Java Programmer, I need some serious help in one of my four classes this semester... I am so lost trying to program in Java.

Rey,

It can be done in a Santa Fe.  HOWEVER I WOULD NOT DO IT WITH OUT A FULL SIZE SPARE.  I have done pleanty in 2wd in BBNP Including Black Gap from the West to the East with out issues.  Just go nice and slow, take you time, stop ad stack rocks if needed.  I wish I could go.  We will be comming back from Mexico on the 9th and the 10th will be the ONLY day that we can make Wurstfest so that will be a priority.

Chris

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Offline stingrey

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Re: Juniper Canyon ?s (not TOO many)
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2007, 01:42:05 PM »
Well things aren't set in stone yet... So I'm not 100% sure that we'll go, but I AM sure that the Santy has a full size spare ready to go! I prefer to take my ride with its high tech gadgetry and H.I.D. headlights, but to see another part of the park that I've never seen before is much more exciting than driving around at night to see a random animal on sheer chance. Thanks for the info!
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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Juniper Canyon ?s (not TOO many)
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2007, 02:14:32 PM »
Unless you're just hell-bent on Juniper Canyon, I'd recommend some alternative desert hikes that IMHO are more scenic and lack the access issues:

  • Blue Creek Canyon -- access is from the Homer Wilson Ranch pulloff.  Hike up desert washes into scenic Red Rocks Canyon, which is especially striking later in the day when the sun is low in the west/southwest. From there, you can pass by several remains of the area's ranching past and climb as high up the canyon as you like. Red Rocks area is about a mile and a half from the trailhead.
  • Mule Ears Spring -- access is from Mule Ears overlook parking lot. Hike is mostly level across the desert past two springs to the lip of Smoky Creek drainage just north of the Mule Ears. Great views all around. Up to 5 miles round-trip depending on any exploring you do headed toward the peaks.
  • Ore Terminal -- access is from Boquillas Canyon road. Long dayhike (about 9 miles roundtrip) follows the route of the old aerial tramway to the slumped over ruins of an offloading station. Exquisite views of the Sierra del Carmen, Deadhorse Mountains, and Ernst Basin. Terrific views of Chisos from high places along the trail.
  • Chimneys -- access is from Chimneys trailhead on Ross Maxwell Drive. Gentle downhill route for 2.5 miles or so to fascinating rock formations and petroglyphs. Off-trail exploring in any direction. Can continue route farther east all the way to the Old Maverick road.

I mention these as other options because the Juniper Canyon trail is in a wide, open canyon where the scenery doesn't change much for a few miles. The best views are had once the climbing begins in earnest up to Boot Canyon. If you're determined to travel to that trailhead, you might enjoy the Dodson Trail better. It swings south and then westward beneath the South Rim and offers wonderful vistas of the South Rim looming up over the desert hills. Hike it as far as you want to and then turn around.

Photos:

Red Rocks Canyon


View of Mule Ears from rim above Smoky Creek


Del Carmens and Deadhorse Mountains from Ore Terminal high point


Chimneys


South Rim from the Dodson Trail


And the route you're contemplating, Chisos from about 1 mile up the Juniper Canyon Trail, taken at sunrise

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 bdann

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Re: Juniper Canyon ?s (not TOO many)
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2007, 02:32:29 PM »
You could also hike to Juniper Canyon starting from the Basin, camp, then hike back the way you came the next day.  I've personally never done the hike, but I've heard it's pretty tough going up Juniper. 

It won't be terribly busy until Thanksgiving weekend, even then, if you're zone camping there will be no crowds to fight. 

Jeff's ideas are good ones.  I've hiked up Blue Creek from the Homer Wilson overlook, it's a nice hike and there are some good places to camp along the way. 
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Offline RichardM

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Re: Juniper Canyon ?s (not TOO many)
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2007, 02:47:49 PM »
I'll third Jeff's day-hike suggestions, except I'd go west from the Chimneys to get to Old Maverick Road.  :azn:

As far as the crowds go, that's Veterans' Day weekend, so the lodge and the Basin campground will likely be filled Friday through Sunday night.  Backcountry should be fairly empty.

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Offline stingrey

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Re: Juniper Canyon ?s (not TOO many)
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2007, 06:30:10 PM »
Being said, and I JUST looked at the hiking guide book, Chimneys is something I've still not done... I guess that'll probably be a nicer hike to take my buds on beside the other "normal" hikes one might do when they are in the park. That just leaves the backcountry camping issue up for grabs then... What remote area can we make it to in a Santa Fe with possible river access? As you indicated, Juniper will take up a good amount of time with not too much in the way of scenery off the bat.

I'm wanting to show 'em the goods, so we'll likely do the nature hike, possibly Window, and likely Lost Mine as it is. The rest of the time my friends and I would like to fish off the river (catch/release) and just relax. If I can find the ideal parking/camping spot then I think I've got 'em convinced. Otherwise it is Chalk Bluff, not that this is a bad thing! :)
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Offline JeffB

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Re: Juniper Canyon ?s (not TOO many)
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2007, 11:54:48 PM »
Stingrey,

Have you been to the top of Casa Grande?  Its an awesome day hike that would allow you guys to keep base camp at the basin.  For a short trip the Window trail, Lost Mine and Casa Grande are fun and very scenic.  A little adventure on the scree slope up to Casa Grande but very rewarding at the top!

JB
Jeff Bullard
Dallas, TX

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Offline stingrey

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Re: Juniper Canyon ?s (not TOO many)
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2007, 05:15:25 AM »
I've never been to the top of Casa Grande, and to be honest your pics have made me want to go up there... I'm starting to think more and more that setting up camp in the basin would be ideal (for many reasons) while hitting a remote spot to fish could be a secondary thing that we happened to do at some point.

Good thing we've got a few weeks to think about it, but I'm still *this* far from a resounding yes from the guys on hitting the bend. Either way a string of four days off in a row is rare, so I will enjoy it wherever we go!
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Re: Juniper Canyon ?s (not TOO many)
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2007, 08:30:10 AM »
Stingrey,

little adventure on the scree slope up to Casa Grande but very rewarding at the top!

JB

The way down is known as the "Jeff Blaylock Express Way" - very fortunately not the Memorial Express way.  :azn:  Keep your eye out for a "lost" GPS unit.

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Offline stingrey

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Re: Juniper Canyon ?s (not TOO many)
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2007, 01:16:24 PM »
Haha, even more incentive to make the trek! I'll let you guys know if one of us finds the missing GPS unit if we actually pull off this trip. I know I'm ready, just not sure my friends are 100% ready yet. If I didn't already make plans WITH them to go someplace during that timeframe, I'd go it alone if given the opportunity. That's how much I want to go back.

If you guys can think of any other last minute suggestions that would make my buddies WANT to hit it again (one is a fishing nut and the other is a camping fanatic), I'd appreciate it. I think South Rim was TOO much for them to handle last time as a one day trek. They are still somewhat "tail between the legs" when it comes to getting riled up about the bend, but I want to make sure they will not regret going back if this materializes.
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Offline xseption

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Re: Juniper Canyon ?s (not TOO many)
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2007, 03:17:45 PM »
Jeff! That is an awesome post!

Thanks for the info!!!

~ edd
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