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The last two weeks in July

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Offline dprather

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The last two weeks in July
« on: June 11, 2019, 11:44:45 PM »
Background:

A couple of years ago I discovered that August in the High Chisos is a wonderful time (please, let's keep this a secret - especially from Austinites...SQUEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEL).

I am bound and determined to get my oldest son beneath a backpack and out in the Bend; as a Texas educator, the last two weeks of July are the closest he can come to August since professional development days start early in August.

Question:

What challenges am I looking at for High Chisos backpacking and camping during the final two weeks of August?  I am wondering about rain, heat, and availability of water in the Boot pipe.


Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: The last two weeks in July
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2019, 12:39:58 AM »
I've hiked in the high Chisos in July a few times. It can be hot. It can be rainy. Sometimes there's lightning. Sometimes there's lots of lightning. Rain typically happens in the afternoon, so have your tent/tarp/shelter set up before then, which means get an early start each day. Water availability depends on rainfall during the preceding few weeks.

The biggest challenge I recall from my July trips: the flies. Unrelenting. Few bit, but those that did hurt.

Second challenge: haze. The view off the Rim isn't what it can be. This can be mitigated if a front comes through.

July has its advantages. Just pay attention to the weather patterns during the preceding few weeks and, of course, while you're there.
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 Imre

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Re: The last two weeks in July
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2019, 12:53:00 AM »
Quote
It can be rainy. Sometimes there's lightning. Sometimes there's lots of lightning
Also, sometimes there can be hail. But then at least it's no longer hot. 
For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong.
- H.L. Mencken

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Offline mule ears

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Re: The last two weeks in July
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2019, 05:57:01 AM »
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline Meadows8903

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Re: The last two weeks in July
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2019, 10:50:01 AM »
Iím following this closely as I plan on hiking in the high Chisos the last weekend in July.


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Offline badknees

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Re: The last two weeks in July
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2019, 11:29:30 AM »
I did a series of 3 High Chisos summer hikes in 2016

June -  https://mirrormagic.com/2016/06/18/chisos-mountain-summer-hike/
Late July - https://mirrormagic.com/2016/08/06/chisos-mountain-summer-hike-loop/
Early September - https://mirrormagic.com/2016/09/11/chisos-mountains-summer-rain/

These reports should give you a pretty good idea.

I don't remember any problem with flies, but small gnats were annoying sometimes. Carry some repellent.

Water was available from Boot Canyon, Boot Spring and Upper Cattail Canyon (Cattail checked only during the early Sept hike)

During the June trip I explored the area behind SW4 and found a small stream about 40 yards below the site in a draw. The rain had fed this ephemeral stream.  I had plenty of water but took the opportunity for a bandana bath.

Keep your eye on the weather and watch out for frequent afternoon T-storms. It can get chilly up there during the rain so be prepared.
Not all those who wander are lost.
Ė J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
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Offline Imre

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Re: The last two weeks in July
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2019, 02:08:13 PM »
And with a little luck, perhaps the slate throated redstart will still be present in Boot Canyon.   :eusa_shhh:
For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong.
- H.L. Mencken

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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The last two weeks in July
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2019, 02:21:53 PM »
Over the years, Iíve made a couple trips into the Chisos in July, but none in the last several years. Itís definitely a do-able trip.

Just bear in mind that the temps can get up to and stay in the mid-to-high 80ís, even up there. A full day of hiking (or even resting) at those temps can be draining, even up in the mountains. On the other hand....precipitati on is likely....rainstorm s, thunderstorms, and even hailstorms can drive the temps down steeply and quickly. You might even want a light jacket or sweater. Iíve never had a spooky storm experience up there, but I can easily imagine it. I agree that biting flies and buzzing gnats can be an irritant in summer, but mostly Iíve found those localized and concentrated on the approach trails (Pinnacles, and especially Blue Creek) and near water sources. Iíve always found water in Boot Canyon in summer but Iíve never been up there during a drought. If itís rained recently, you should be fine. Upper Cattail Canyon down aways from Laguna Meadow has spring-fed pools, too.  But you may have to fight your way through brush to get there.

Definitely enter and exit the Chisos via The Pinnacles: that route is the shortest and at least offers some shade and a promise of A/C and cold drinks at the bottom.

I think itís a trip worth doing. You sure canít beat the views, and youíll probably have the mornings and evenings completely to yourselves. Hope it works out for you.


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

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Offline Imre

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Re: The last two weeks in July
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2019, 02:53:22 PM »
Quote
Definitely enter and exit the Chisos via The Pinnacles
+ 1: No doubt about it -- the Laguna Meadow trail will be in the shadow of Casa Grande in the morning but after about 10 AM it will be hot and exposed.
For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong.
- H.L. Mencken

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Offline PacingTheCage

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Re: The last two weeks in July
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2019, 04:07:16 PM »
My son and are planning the same trip for July 29 through August 2nd. Plan to arrive the 29th and camp at the Basin and head up Pinnacles early on the 30th.  Would like to make a 3 night trip out of it but that all depends on water availability.


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Offline dprather

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Re: The last two weeks in July
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2019, 05:24:24 PM »
Quote
Definitely enter and exit the Chisos via The Pinnacles
+ 1: No doubt about it -- the Laguna Meadow trail will be in the shadow of Casa Grande in the morning but after about 10 AM it will be hot and exposed.

Thanks for the high-quality input
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline dprather

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Re: The last two weeks in July
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2019, 05:25:37 PM »
Wow - two other groups  are  also planing this trip.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline badknees

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Re: The last two weeks in July
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2019, 06:43:49 PM »
My son and are planning the same trip for July 29 through August 2nd. Plan to arrive the 29th and camp at the Basin and head up Pinnacles early on the 30th.  Would like to make a 3 night trip out of it but that all depends on water availability.


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Read my links in the earlier posts in this thread.

If you want a nice 3 night trip, read my link. I would go Laguna Meadow Trail and spend a night at LW or LW. explore Upper Cattail in the afternoon.

Then across the Colima Trail thru Boot Canyon  to the NE Rim for night 2.

Climb up to Townsend Peak on the morning  of day 3 and spend all day working your way to SW rim.

Spend sunset on the SW Rim.

Hike back via Laguna Meadow or Boot Canyon/ Pinnacles on the last morning..
Not all those who wander are lost.
Ė J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
http://mirrormagic.com

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Offline PacingTheCage

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Re: The last two weeks in July
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2019, 07:28:27 PM »
My son and are planning the same trip for July 29 through August 2nd. Plan to arrive the 29th and camp at the Basin and head up Pinnacles early on the 30th.  Would like to make a 3 night trip out of it but that all depends on water availability.


Sent from my iPhone using Big Bend Chat

Read my links in the earlier posts in this thread.

If you want a nice 3 night trip, read my link. I would go Laguna Meadow Trail and spend a night at LW or LW. explore Upper Cattail in the afternoon.

Then across the Colima Trail thru Boot Canyon  to the NE Rim for night 2.

Climb up to Townsend Peak on the morning  of day 3 and spend all day working your way to SW rim.

Spend sunset on the SW Rim.

Hike back via Laguna Meadow or Boot Canyon/ Pinnacles on the last morning..

We actually got the idea from you! My son stumbled across one of the links you posted above a few months ago. You inspired us!


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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: The last two weeks in July
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2019, 12:45:21 AM »
You guys beat me to it. I think BK is  on the money here. I was just thinking about Imreís shadow comments, and it occurred to me that an early morning hike up Laguna Meadow into the Chisos while itís still shaded might be the best entry, then camping in one of the LW sites.

Upper Cattail Canyon, being spring-fed, is very likely to have water. Just bear in mind that 1) you may have to fight your way through some brush to get to the rockier portions of the drainage where the water is found, and 2) Upper Cattail on a summer afternoon is going to be sun-exposed and probably very, very hot. I know: Iíve been there.

As for the rest of your itinerary, I think BK is also spot on, though I would definitely choose The Pinnacles trail as an exit. Much shadier during the afternoon until you reach the dreaded open sections at the end. 


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

 


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