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Black Gap visit

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Offline wilding

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Black Gap visit
« on: June 02, 2006, 06:12:08 PM »
I have been considering driving from SA for an overnight at Black Gap Wildlife area- just staying in my auto, up early to bird - and wondered about how safe it may be for a woman to do that. Anyone been camping there?

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Offline RichardM

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Black Gap visit
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2006, 10:09:52 PM »
ShaneA is the resident expert on BGWMA camping.  I expect him to be along shortly.  I've never been there, but from what I've heard, you're not likely to have anyone near you if you decide to camp there.  That's good in that the chances of anyone bothering you are slim, but bad if someone does, because there probably won't be anyone around to help.  Another option is to camp at the Stillwell Ranch just outside of BGWMA.

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Offline Al

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Black Gap WMA
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2006, 12:37:52 AM »
I would call.  Some years ago, we camped there a couple of times.  We were run off because we weren't licensed and hunting.  I've heard rumor that has changed.  Not near as dramatic a landscape as BBNP but you should be by your lonesome this time of year.  Same is true at many of the primative campsites at BBNP.

Al

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Black Gap WMA
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2006, 07:33:07 AM »
Quote from: "Al"
I would call.  Some years ago, we camped there a couple of times.  We were run off because we weren't licensed and hunting.  I've heard rumor that has changed.

You were probably there during one of their scheduled hunts.  Not sure if they still do those or when.

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SHANEA

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Re: Black Gap visit
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2006, 01:13:03 PM »
Quote from: "wilding"
I have been considering driving from SA for an overnight at Black Gap Wildlife area- just staying in my auto, up early to bird - and wondered about how safe it may be for a woman to do that. Anyone been camping there?


SHORT ANSWER - NO.

LONG ANSWER - HECK NO. - THE MORE I THINK ABOUT IT.
BGWMA is a safe place as far as I know.  I've talked to a male student who was doing a graduate research project there and "lived" down at one of the fish camps for quite a while and he indicated that he never had any problems.

BUT, I personally would NOT endorse the trip.  
1.  I personally would NOT be out at BGWMA by myself.  Why?  It is BEYOND REMOTE and there is NO SUPPORT out there.  There is very limited staff, they have no water, phones, services.   You indicate that you are in an auto, if you have problems, two flat tires, etc. out there - then you are hosed.  It maybe days before anyone comes looking for you.   You signin at the booth and then drive on in.  You must have a TPW Limited Use Permit.  You will SEE NO ONE.   I got to BGWMA several hours before the rest of my crew and setup a camp and sat there with a cold brew in the warm Spring sunshine.  Talk about quiet.  I don't think I'd ever been as "alone" in my whole life as I was then.  Not a single sound of humanity out there.  The world could have ended and I'd never have known it - Rod Serling watch out.  Perfect place for the TwiLight Zone.

2.  I've seen a big 4x4 shred a tire on the main road at BGWMA when it was not in 4x4 and spun it's tires.  It would have been a disaster if he had of had two flat tires.  Fortunately, we had support vehicles there.  I've seen a 4x4 suburban get stuck on the main road down towards the fish camps, driver got distracted and drove into a rut.  Took several hours of digging, jacking, and pulling to get it out.  I've had a single flat tire on the main road at BBRSP-Big Bend Ranch State park.  I've seen a large 1 ton 4x4 Ford pickup blow a front main seal on the road at BGWMA down by the fish camps that blocked the entire road - could not have happened in the worst place as we could not get down to the river to go canoeing.

3.  There are NO phones and NO water out there.  Cell phones probably don't work for a 25 mile radius.  

4.  Regardless of where I travel out in the West Texas Trans Pecos Big Bend Region, I carry a rather large tool kit, some power tools, epoxy, duct tape, heavy duty jack and stands, etc.  I can fix most anything out there besides pulling a tranny.  I've been thinking of getting a 2nd spare tire and putting on the roof just as extra insurance.

5.  BGWMA is pretty much a hunters paradise.  Camping for non-hunters is generally limited to the fish camps along the Rio Grande River.  It is a VERY VERY long drive from the main road to the fish camps, probably 20 miles or more over dirt/gravel roads that are "somewhat" maintained.

6.  As Richard pointed out, Stillwells would be an option.  It is nice and remote and I doubt there is hardly a camper insite there this time of the year - HOT AS BLUE BLAZES.  But, even if I stayed there, I still would NOT go into BGWMA in a single vehicle on a driving tour.  There used to be cabins you could rent down at the end of the road @ Heath Canyon - whether or not that is still true or not I don't have a clue.  It's pretty delapated down @ Heath Canyon and "really" spooky.  (Who lives at the end of a dead end road with a boarded up bridge into LaLinda with a pay phone there and JUST WHO THE HECK are the people high up on the ridge in a trailer house with a spotting scope checking out who is down at the bridge?

7.  Looking to get away from it all, if you don't want to go to BIBE, then may I suggest BBRSP - Big Bend Ranch State park.  Still quiet, still desolate, a little bit further of a drive, but it is more "on the trail".  ie. if your car breaks down on the main road out there, you probably won't have to wait more than a few hours for someone to pass by, as opposed to DAYS at BGWMA.  They also have dorm rooms for rent @ BBRSP at a very reasonable price at the main ranch complex.  If you have never been there before, then there are quite a few things to see and do, hiking very early in the morning, that are located just off the main road.    If you didn't want to stay in the dorm, this also would be an ideal place to car camp in, but alas, it's going to be hotter than a roman candle on the 4th of July.

Check out the Official Guide to Texas Wildlife Management Areas by Larry D. Hodge.  Available at most bookstores.  He gives a wonderful write up on BGWMA.  His opening words are:  "Be forewarned:  This county can kill you".  He is NOT joking.  He advises to carry 3 days of water with you at all times.  That would be a bare min. of 3 gallons and I'd suggest 2 gallons a day min. or six gallons total.

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SHANEA

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Gilligans Island
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2006, 01:30:23 PM »
The more I think about it, the more BGWMA sounds like Gilligans Island.



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No phone(s)! No light(s)! No motor car(s)!
Not a single luxury, Like Robinson C-ru-soe, it's primitive as can be.



http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/hunt/wma/find_a_wma/list/?id=2

TAKE NOTE:  
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Access restricted to Maravillas and Horse Canyons, Rio Grande and the headquarters campsite from March 1 to August 31.


http://home.mn.rr.com/classictv/GilligansIsland.html

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SHANEA

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COOK WANTED!
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2006, 04:22:55 PM »
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Heath Canyon Ranch - Off Texas Hwy. 2627, Heath Canyon Ranch overlooks the Rio Grande and is an important access point for river runners who have floated through Boquillas Canyon, and for those starting out for the mysterious Lower Canyons.  We are talking remote.  Camping, boat launch, airstrip, cafe.  It is at the lower end of TX 2627, 28 miles from the U.S. Hwy. 385 junction.  Call before you go if you want to eat. 432 376-2235.


http://www.visitbigbend.com/areamaps.html

Last time I was poking around down at Heath Canyon I knocked on the house/office door for more information.  The restaurant there used to receive accolades in Texas Monthly.  I was asking about costs for river access, parking vehicles, etc.  He asked if I knew how to cook and needed a job.

Hey, I do need a job :!:    :idea:  I wonder if they still need a cook :!:   :idea:   I'm not much of a chef, but I can open a can of pork and beans and burn a few burgers.    :idea:    :lol:

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SHANEA

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Open Sky Cafe...
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2006, 04:30:17 PM »
This is from 2002.

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FM 2627 at the Rio Grande: You want wide-open spaces and rugged mountains? You've got them on the drive to the Open Sky Cafe at the Heath Canyon Guest Ranch. Although the accommodations are no-frills, the tiny cafe sits amid pretty plantings and dishes up creditable steaks, fajitas, and fat handmade burgers plus great jalape?o-spiked panfried potatoes. From U.S. 385, go southeast on FM 2627 for about 30 miles, 915-376-2235; no credit cards.


I bet they don't check checks either :!:

This is from a cached entry, good ole Texas Monthly doesn't want you poking around their place for free.  :oops:

http://216.109.125.130/search/cache?p=%22heath+canyon%22+texas+%22texas+monthly%22&ei=UTF-8&fr=FP-tab-web-t&x=wrt&u=www.texasmonthly.com/mag/issues/2002-03-01/bigbend/chowingdown.php&w=%22heath+canyon%22+texas+%22texas+monthly%22&d=QGsb2TmtM2sX&icp=1&.intl=us

I think the arae code has changed from 915 to 928

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SHANEA

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Area Code??
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2006, 04:45:53 PM »
The Texas Big Horn Sheep Society indicates the following information for 2004 work project.

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Heath Canyon Guest Ranch
(432) 376-2235, approximately 15 miles from Black Gap Reservations accepted 6 weeks prior to the work project


Must still be open.  Someone was bycyling around there not long ago.

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.....Here, on the U.S. side of the river, I found Heath Canyon Guest Ranch with rooms, bunkhouse, TV and tent camping, and a tiny cafe with Mexican food (432-376-2235).


http://www.tourvelo.org/wintex.html

Interesting link here, about people doing a motorcycle trek from Del Rio through Mexico either to La Linda or Presidio.  Someone suggested that they call Heath Canyon to check on the water flow in case they wanted to forge the river from La Linda to Texas.  :idea:   There is a RICHARD moderator over there?  Is that the same as our RichardM? - RichardModerator?

http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?p=89913

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Area Code??
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2006, 06:45:34 PM »
Quote from: "SHANEA"
Interesting link here, about people doing a motorcycle trek from Del Rio through Mexico either to La Linda or Presidio.  Someone suggested that they call Heath Canyon to check on the water flow in case they wanted to forge the river from La Linda to Texas.  :idea:   There is a RICHARD moderator over there?  Is that the same as our RichardM? - RichardModerator?

http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?p=89913

'Tain't me.  I'm too chicken to ride a motorcycle.  I'm dangerous enough on a bicycle.

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SHANEA

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WILDING?
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2006, 07:39:27 PM »
Quote from: "RichardM"
'Tain't me.


Didn't think so.  Although, it could have been your alter ego.  That moderator is from Austin I believe.  I'm not coordinated enough to ride a motorcycle.  I'd be dead w/i the first 100 yards.  

So, Wilding, what did you decide to do - or have you already left SA for the West Texas Trans Pecos Big Bend - Black Gap WMA Region?  Please report back on your trip findings.  BTW-It's Gilligans Island  
WITHOUT THE WATER  - Also, I've never seen anything close to resemelbling Ginger or MaryAnn out there...

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Offline Al

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Re: Black Gap visit
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2006, 10:50:10 PM »
Quote from: "wilding"
I have been considering driving from SA for an overnight at Black Gap Wildlife area- just staying in my auto, up early to bird - and wondered about how safe it may be for a woman to do that. Anyone been camping there?


If you are thinking about camping in BG in order to save driving time probably not worth it.  What time of the day do you think you will make Marathon?

Al

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Offline Al

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SA Trip Report
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2006, 11:30:05 PM »
I wouldn't get up this early if I was driving from San Antonio.

http://wildtexas.com/travels/tr_23-1.php

If you can get to Panther Junction before it closes at 6 pm you should be able to get a permit with a good selection of primative campsites this time of year if you want to avoid people (like me as long as you went to the good time and trouble to drive out there) or it's a relatively easy drive to the basin or Rio Grande Village as desired or if you arrive after 6 pm.  Worse case get up and get your permits the next morning and go.  Black Gap will work too but isn't supported like the national park.  I also travel with at least a couple of 2.5 gallon water containers.  I take distilled water as long as I'm going to the good time and trouble to haul the stuff.  Nothing hydrates beter.  Mileage will be the same with a 5 gallon jug of SAWS water which is almost as good. :)
Al

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SHANEA

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Re: SA Trip Report
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2006, 11:29:37 AM »
Quote from: "Al"
http://wildtexas.com/travels/tr_23-1.php....SAWS water which is almost as good.  :) Al

 
My gosh, what a trip report.  Don't have the time right now to read it,  Wish I could MARK this page for future reference, down to the minute of where they were at.  Sorry, I don't think I could ever get that detail oriented - I may be a stickler for details, but I do not line up the paperclips.

QUESTION - WHAT IS SAWS WATER?

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Offline wilding

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Black Gap visit
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2006, 07:39:24 PM »
Oh My . . .  lions and rocks and isolation, - oh my!  I had a short time to travel, love the Bend, miss it,  and hoped Black Gap would be a stop gap (pun intended?) option. I have decided to wait do a hike in the Park (either) when I do a seminar in Fort Davis in August. I have visited BB off and on since one of the first Chili Cook-offs (the original) in 1973.  I lived in Lajitas for a year a few years back (when Angie owned the Starlight)- so kinda know my way around - except for Black Gap. So - thanks for the info! I will go prepared if I ever do it.

 


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