Big Bend Chat

Big Bend National Park Q&A => Hiking the Mountains => Topic started by: smithmj01 on April 01, 2016, 10:52:53 PM

Title: South Rim Attempt 03/27 - 03/29
Post by: smithmj01 on April 01, 2016, 10:52:53 PM
It was my first trip to BBNP. My friend and I's original plan was
03/27. Leave at 1700 and arrive at Panther at approximately 0100. Sleep in the truck.
03/28. Get permit for SW 3 or SW4 at the opening of the Basin Visitor Center and head out. Arrive around 1500, set up camp, enjoy view, relax etc.
03/29. Leave camp by 0900, head back down the Laguna Meadow Trail and arrive by 1400, investigate location of Juniper Trail Cache, then head home. 
Since our goal is to do the OML, this was a scouting trip to see what was needed, so we packed like we were going on the OML. 3 Gallons each to start, food for 4 days etc.

That was the original plan...

The friend I went with attempted the OML last year and ran out of water and had to escorted out.

Due to sheer stupidity or dumb luck, we did not realize that the 27th was Easter. So 1700 turned into 1930 with arrival at 0430. Four hours of truck sleep, we get to the Basin to find that all the SW campsites are booked. And all the ones near them as well. So we end up picking JC1, and hit the Pinnacles trail at 0930 (there was a line waiting for permits already).
This being my first time in Big Bend and first backpacking trip in several years, I wasn't even close to being prepared for what was entailed. We hit the switchbacks and were making good time. We stopped for lunch about half way up and got assaulted by some Bluejays. When we started back up, I noticed that my energy levels were dropping quickly. I couldnt believe how much it took just to get up to the top. We arrived at the top of the trail at 1330 and stopped to just take in the view. By this time, I was exhausted and ready to just stop, but I knew at least the hardest part was over...
We continued on and got down into Boot Canyon at a nice slow pace, just enjoying the views. We arrived at the start of the Juniper Canyon Trail at 1430 and I almost quit. Looking up that hill, I knew it was going to suck. It took me the better part of hour just climb the trail. We got the campsite at 1530 and just collapsed. We both took a nap and collected ourselves, managing to set up and cook food. At this point, we realized we had consumed over two gallons of water each. At this point, we made the decision to just return back down the Pinnacles Trail in the Morning. This was due to my friend having flashbacks of running out of water last year and not wanting to chance it. We both were out by 2030.
The next morning, we packed up and hit the trail by 0830 and arrived to the vehicle at 1200. To tired and dirty to do much else, we just packed up and headed home.
Overall, though we did not make out goal of seeing the South Rim (or much else) we did have an great time. Big Bend is a gorgeous rugged county that will eat you up and spit you back out without a second thought. If you had asked me if I would return, on the night we made camp, I would have said a resounding NO. Today though....I cannot wait to try it it again!!

Title: Re: South Rim Attempt 03/27 - 03/29
Post by: Casa Grande on April 01, 2016, 11:09:41 PM
I have never had a terrible trip to Big Bend because they don't exist.   The trip you're describing is called a reconnaissance trip.   Do, learn, do better, learn, do even better, and so on. 

You got bit by the Big Bend Bug sometime in the night.   There is no cure. 

Welcome to your new support group.

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Title: Re: South Rim Attempt 03/27 - 03/29
Post by: Geezer on April 01, 2016, 11:17:39 PM
Thanks for the frank report on your hike!

A report like this will better help people prepare for the OML than twenty reports of successful hikes.

"I cannot wait to try it it again!!" Yes, it's addictive. I imagine you will be back in the fall.

Keep coming and keep reporting.

Title: Re: South Rim Attempt 03/27 - 03/29
Post by: Casa Grande on April 01, 2016, 11:19:50 PM
By the way, those Mexican Blue jays are notorious.   Once, I could swear they followed me from the Pinnacles to the South Rim and Back.   This is what happens when hikers toss them a snack.

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Title: Re: South Rim Attempt 03/27 - 03/29
Post by: smithmj01 on April 01, 2016, 11:51:56 PM
It honestly was a great time. Yeah, we didnt get to where we wanted, but I came home refreshed and longing for more. So yes, we hope to go back in the fall.

All it took was one peanut and those blue jays just started appearing out of no where. It was crazy. They were about the only wildlife we saw the whole trip.
Title: Re: South Rim Attempt 03/27 - 03/29
Post by: mule ears on April 02, 2016, 05:34:10 AM
Geezer is right, these kinds of reports are valuable to many who might overestimate their abilities and then get into trouble.  You will be back and be successful too.  Too bad you didn't take your extra time to check out the park some more but I understand the tired decision to just head home too.

Next time lighter pack and try and use some of the natural water sources and the cache boxes.  The heavy pack is what exhausted you more than anything else.

Thanks for the story.
Title: Re: South Rim Attempt 03/27 - 03/29
Post by: ambersdad on April 02, 2016, 10:39:43 AM
Thanks for sharing about your trip.  A bad day at the Bend is certainly better than a good day at home.  ;)

Title: Re: South Rim Attempt 03/27 - 03/29
Post by: dprather on April 02, 2016, 11:07:22 AM
My buddy and I - we have now completed many BiBe backpacking adventures - got wiped out on our first OML.  Starting at the Basin and spending the night at Boot, we descended Juniper Canyon and ran into oppressive heat down on the flats.  We bailed at Twisted Shoe.

It was a tremendous experience - because we had to ask and answer some tough questions.

Why did we fail?  We simply bit off more than we could chew.
Did we want to go back?  Yes.
What will it take?  Better equipment, improved fitness, and getting our mind right.

Six months later we did it!  I dare say that it was, at age 55, life giving.

Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly - John F. Kennedy.