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2 Full Days - Suggestions appreciated!

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Offline janeeyli

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Re: 2 Full Days - Suggestions appreciated!
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2013, 10:00:32 AM »
Thanks for everyone's suggestions!

Geezer- I am interested in doing south rim + Emory for my full day. But that would mean that I wouldn't be able to spend the full day doing the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive plus exploring some of the hikes off the drive. So I guess the question is...

South rim/Emory peak + less time doing hikes off Ross maxwell

Or

Lost mine + Windows + more time doing hikes off Ross maxwell

Tough trade off...

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Offline Homer67

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Re: 2 Full Days - Suggestions appreciated!
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2013, 12:59:05 PM »
One thing about the hike I suggested is that it covers a lot of different views in one hike. Blue Creek is accessed by way of the Homer Wilson Ranch House off the Ross Maxwell Drive.  It's a neat historical building the park maintains.  Blue Creek itself contains three (perhaps more) ecotones where one will go from the desert highland to a woodland ecotone to somewhat Alpine flora. Also in Blue Creek is Red Rocks Canyon, a stretch of the trail where one hikes among some very interesting rock formations.  One looks like a sitting lady with a bun! Western views of the park open up as one turns right on the Laguna Meadow trail after the climb out of Blue Creek and hikes toward the South Rim.  It is likely that the SE/NE rim trail is closed at this time, but there are still many designated sites to camp in the Chisos what would allow for this loop to be done. It isn't really a hard hike.  There is even a neat cave on the way up Blue Creek; it is farther from the trail than it appears!

Here are a few photos:

Homer Wilson Ranch House

HWR Making Packs 11 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

Entering Red Rocks Canyon

Trail into Red Rocks Canyon along Blue Creek Trail by SuperHomer67, on Flickr


Old Maiden!  April 2011 by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Woodland Ecotone

Woodland view along BC Trail by SuperHomer67, on Flickr


View Keeps Getting Better Up BC Climb! by SuperHomer67, on Flickr


View of Blue Creek from Laguna Meadow before Colima by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

Here is a bit of what awaits at the South Rim

Dead Tree, ET and Mariscal by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

These photos are just a tiny bit of what one will see going up to the South Rim!
Ah Big Bend, we will soon return to reacquaint ourselves in our ritual of blood, exhaustion and dehydration. How can we resist the temptation to strip ourselves of the maladies of civilization?

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Offline Picacho

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Re: 2 Full Days - Suggestions appreciated!
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2013, 10:41:00 PM »
Geezer- I am interested in doing south rim + Emory for my full day. But that would mean that I wouldn't be able to spend the full day doing the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive plus exploring some of the hikes off the drive. So I guess the question is...

I guess I am confused.  The title of this topic is "2 Full Days".  So if you spend a full day doing the South Rim, why wouldn't you have a full day doing Ross Maxwell? 

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Offline Quatro

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Re: 2 Full Days - Suggestions appreciated!
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2013, 12:00:37 AM »
The itinerary was changed to 2 half days with a full day sandwiched in the middle, Picacho.

To the OP, not sure where you are coming from, but I like the idea of a whole day South Rim hike.  It's just spectacular.  And it gives you a full day break from driving. A half day drive down Ross Maxwell Highway with whatever hikes you'd like would give you a good flavor.  If you did a half day on it, I'd do Santa Elena Canyon and then Lower Mesa Pour-off in that order of preference. But I would not obsess about your choice too much.  You're a winner either way.

I've not been to the Utah parks you mention.  So, please report back "comparing and contrasting" the two parks - as my 10th grade English teacher would say.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro - HST

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Offline Picacho

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Re: 2 Full Days - Suggestions appreciated!
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2013, 01:08:20 PM »
I've been to Zion, Canyonlands, and Arches.  You can't really compare Big Bend with these parks, totally different.  I liked Zion and Canyonland.  Arches was ok but way way too crowded.  Zion is crowded too but it's a pretty spectacular park so worth it.  I hear Escalante National Monument is just as good as the other parks but without the crowds. 

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Offline steelfrog

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Re: 2 Full Days - Suggestions appreciated!
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2013, 03:27:50 PM »
Zion spectacular but crowded. Bryce crowded and meh. Arches crowded and meh. Canyon lands good but parts pretty crowded. Big Bend offers more solitude than any if these

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Offline kevint

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2 Full Days - Suggestions appreciated!
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2013, 05:36:15 PM »
(I'll be visiting a number of NP in Utah - Zion, Bryce, Arches soon, so to the extent that the scenery on some trails would be very similar to these Utah NPs, I would probably prefer to avoid those trails.)

I haven't visited those parks yet but have been studying up for a quick trip this summer. (Bryce, Escalante and maybe Zion). Based on what I researched, I think the part of Big Bend most likely to be repeated would be the Hoodoos near the Homer Wilson Ranch.

Still, the magic of BIBE for me is the diversity of it all. By car, you are never more than 45 min from river, mountain, desert, great geology and archeology and officially certified world class astronomical views. You can find more bird species than almost any place in the U.S.  You have the remnants of towns and schools and farms and ranches, candelila wax factories and quicksilver mines along with legends of hidden silver mines.  You have the clash of Anglo and Hispanic cultures--sometimes bloody, yet generally held peacefully at bay, in part, by the owner of a store called La Harmonia (The Peace). You can walk the same land as two native american cultures:  the Chisos Apaches who occupied the the mountains and ranched the land leaving behind larger than life characters like Twisted Shoe and Alsate, and the Comanches who made annual raids through the park to relieve the Mexican armies across the border of horses and other resources and who left a scar a mile wide that remained visible for decades.  If you know where to look you can stand where they stood and view the stories they carved and drew in stone. 

All of this spanning the area of a small state.

Just outside the park you have the artistically unique, charmingly quirky and uber tolerant living ghost town of Terlingua. Travel a little further and you have the domain of Ben Leaton and another park the size of a small state that pushes the idea of remote up a couple more notches.

And solitude, yes solitude. On the busiest day of the year you can find complete solitude.

I wouldn't worry about too much about seeing something in the Bend that you'll see again in Utah. Even if it is the same, whatever is around it will be different.

Enjoy.

-- Kevin (W5KLT)

"It's not an adventure until something goes wrong."  --Yvon Chouinard

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Offline mule ears

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Re: 2 Full Days - Suggestions appreciated!
« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2013, 07:29:25 PM »
I've not been to the Utah parks you mention.  So, please report back "comparing and contrasting" the two parks - as my 10th grade English teacher would say.

Interesting because she didn't mention any parks in Utah.    :eusa_doh: I stand corrected 

And yes Utah and Big Bend totally different places and no comparing the two in any real way other than both places have deserts and mountains.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 06:11:50 AM by mule ears »
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Offline badknees

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Re: 2 Full Days - Suggestions appreciated!
« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2013, 07:39:08 PM »
I've not been to the Utah parks you mention.  So, please report back "comparing and contrasting" the two parks - as my 10th grade English teacher would say.

Interesting because she didn't mention any parks in Utah.   :eusa_think:  She mentioned one in Maine, one in Virginia and one in, well, Peru.

And yes Utah and Big Bend totally different places and no comparing the two in any real way other than both places have deserts and mountains.

Quote
(I'll be visiting a number of NP in Utah - Zion, Bryce, Arches soon, so to the extent that the scenery on some trails would be very similar to these Utah NPs, I would probably prefer to avoid those trails.)

In a different context...in the future
Not all those who wander are lost.
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Offline Picacho

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Re: 2 Full Days - Suggestions appreciated!
« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2013, 10:42:47 PM »
And maybe it's because I am from Texas, but I love GUMO too.  I am sure many out-of-staters would probably bag on it because it is not as spectacular as some of the other national parks, but to me it is a very cool park with so much solitude. 

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Offline steelfrog

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Re: 2 Full Days - Suggestions appreciated!
« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2013, 08:48:33 AM »
GUMO is great!

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Offline iCe

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Re: 2 Full Days - Suggestions appreciated!
« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2013, 10:18:51 AM »
My first trip to BiBe entailed a drive down Ross Maxwell, a walk out to Burro Mesa Pouroff, cruise through the Mule Ears Turnout, stop off at Tuff Canyon, Santa Elena Canyon (not the hike, just the canyon), and a drive down Old Maverick Road. That planted the seed for further exploration.


Trip #2 was an over night to the South Rim. Knowing what little I know now, I would do this one before I did Lost Mines or anything else for that matter. I like going up via the Pinnacles but either way you get there. A great memory is the first time you pop out on the rim.


The only thing I can add to the conversation is that a lifetime is not enough time to see all of BiBe so make the most of your short time there.

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Offline catz

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Re: 2 Full Days - Suggestions appreciated!
« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2013, 11:43:15 AM »
I have hiked extensively in southern Utah over the last 20 years and I agree that although both it and BB are deserts, they are completely different.  Utah is mainly canyon hiking (Zion less so).  Southern Utah has a wealth of rock art and old native american dwellings, far more than the Big Bend area.  Utah also has many more outstanding rock formations, like hoodoos, arches, and bridges.  Canyons, by definition, are drainages which generally means that finding water is not a problem. 

I highly recommend backpacking through part of Grand Gulch on Cedar Mesa, 30 miles west of Blanding, near Natural Bridges National Monument.  The canyon itself is beautiful and the ruins are world class.  A great first visit is to go in via Kane Gulch and exit via Bullet Canyon; allow three days.  An even better possibility is to enter via Bullet and exit via Collins; this takes four days (Kane to Collins is five days).  If you only have one car, you'll need to arrange a shuttle for any of these hikes, something that should be easy to do at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station.
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Offline Homer67

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Re: 2 Full Days - Suggestions appreciated!
« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2013, 12:58:00 PM »
I really dig extended hikes! 

It would be a tough decision to decide what of Big Bend to see in one trip, or even a first trip. I always try to suggest alternative places/routes to check out to go beyond what seems to be the usual sights in Big Bend.

I dig the big views the park has to offer, but I love the small views. I came home from our last trip with mass photos of bugs, birds, reptiles, rocks (geo and anthro), algae, springs, trees, and, even though we ventured fairly deep into the Quemada (north part of Fisk Canyon by way of Witch Spring), only a few landscapes.

I dig BiBe because it's not too hard to evade the crowds, even at its peak time. On our last trip we passed through S01 at the beginning of our hike; the zone was full and there was a plethora of day hikers.  Fortunately, once we descended from the Smokey Creek Overlook we saw no one until we exited our hike through S01 again.
Ah Big Bend, we will soon return to reacquaint ourselves in our ritual of blood, exhaustion and dehydration. How can we resist the temptation to strip ourselves of the maladies of civilization?

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Offline EdB

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Re: 2 Full Days - Suggestions appreciated!
« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2013, 07:10:34 PM »

Day 1: Arrive late morning. Set up camp at Chisos Basin. Hike Windows trail.
Day 2: Drive Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. Stopping off at some of the points mentioned in my above post and doing some of those hikes.
Day 3: Hike Lost Mine Trail. Leave Big Bend in the late morning.

I'd appreciate any thoughts about this itinerary. And also which hikes we should do off the Scenic Drive (considering that we'll be going to some NPs in Utah soon and would prefer to see/hike different scenery).


If you want to do the South Rim, how about this:
Day 1: drive Ross Maxwell and do some hikes, camp at Cottonwood, sunset at Sotol Vista
Day 2: sunrise at Santa Elena Canyon, then break down your camp, drive to the Basin and do the South Rim hike, camp overnight at the Basin
Day 3: whatever you might have time for that you didn't get to on day 1

By late April, you'll have over 13 hours of daylight - sunrise at ~7:20, sunset at ~8:20. If you arrive late morning (like say by 11am), you'd have 9 hours to drive Ross Maxwell, do several hikes, set up camp and still get to Sotol Vista before sunset. I think staying at Cottonwood is more convenient and you'd spend less time driving back and forth to the Basin, so more time on the trail. For sure hike into Santa Elena Canyon - I also liked the Mule Ears trail beyond the spring to where you drop down into the Smokey Creek drainage. I think hiking into the hoodoos above Homer Wilson's ranch is somewhat redundant with Bryce and not as spectacular. Going the other way from the ranch out a ways on the Dodson trail is great though. Cattail Falls if your car can make it.

I love sunrise at Santa Elena, either down by the river looking up at the mouth of the canyon, or up at the top of climb looking down at the river and off into the distance at the mountains/desert. Assuming you just go there for sunrise, then factoring in breakfast, breaking down camp and driving, you should arrive at the start of the South Rim hike by 10 am or earlier. That leaves you 10 hours of daylight for it and that is plenty of time. You would be done and back down in the Basin in plenty of time to set up camp, eat at the Lodge and watch the sunset through the Window.

I'm not a big fan of the Window trail, just too closed in and I prefer bigger views while I'm hiking. The payoff at the end is great but the rest of the hike is not very exciting, at least to me.

Then get up in the morning and do whatever you feel like for a few hours before you have to leave - Balanced Rock on the Grapevine Hills road, Lost Mine (?), maybe Indian Head or Croton Springs...

If you don't want to do the South Rim hike and really want all day for Ross Maxwell, do Lost Mine and the Window trail on the first day, then spend the 2nd day on the drive, then day 3 squeeze in the one hike you most want to do that you didn't have time for yet. But then I'd camp at the Basin day 1 and Cottonwood day 2. Either way, I really don't think you'll have an issue finding a camping spot either night.

If you really wanna be cool, skip the Basin campground altogether and get a primitive site nearby (Government Springs, Paint Gap, Grapevine Hills). There's nothing like being out in the desert with a wide open sky above you. If nothing else, at least drive away from the campground(s), get out of the car and enjoy the night sky and quiet. When I stay at Cottonwood I like to drive to the Desert Mountain Overlook and look at the sky.

 


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