Friends of Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Conservancy

Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

+-Calendar for sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!


High Chisos Plan

  • 5 Replies
  • 2718 Views
*

Offline hanuman

  • Kangaroo Rat
  • *
  • 6
High Chisos Plan
« on: March 08, 2010, 03:27:22 PM »
This is my first post on big bend chat. I want to thank all of you for the copious amounts of information made available by the discussions on this forum. This has been the most helpful resource.

Four of us (two couples) are heading to Big Bend for Spring Break. Not the time I wanted to go because of the rush, but it is what it is. We're all beginner backpackers with experience doing several 10 mile one-way backpacking trips, well equipped and in excellent physical shape (early 30s). This will be our longest excursion yet.

Plan A Day 1, take Pinnacles Trail to a site close by Emory Peak, either EP1 or TM1. Setup camp and then hike Emory Peak. Day 2, Take Boot Canyon trail over to Blue Creek trail via Colima Trail, resupply water at Homer Wilson Ranch, Zone Camp somewhere in Dodson. Day 3, Continue Dodson Trail to Juniper Canyon and stay at any of the BC\JC\CO sites. We plan on carrying about 2 gallons of water each in and refilling at Homer Wilson and Dodson Spring.

Plan B could really be any variation of this, preferably the reverse route.

Plan C would be a random menagerie of car camping\zone camping and\or road site camping.

My questions:
  • Is Plan A realistic physically? How about with spring break availability in the equation?
  • When zone camping in Dodson, how is food and water secured from animals? Should I be so inclined to get a beer keg or ursack?
  • With the Southeast Rim being closed during this time, are we missing anything cool to see in the Southwest Rim?

Thanks in advance!

*

Offline HoyAIAG

  • Fighting entropy since 1981
  • Kangaroo Rat
  • *
  • 10
Re: High Chisos Plan
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2010, 03:30:22 PM »
Unless you get there super early you probably won't be able to camp in any of the back country sites in the Basin.  The park is usually 100% full during spring break first come first serve.
Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.

Churchill

*

Offline hanuman

  • Kangaroo Rat
  • *
  • 6
Re: High Chisos Plan
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2010, 03:40:40 PM »
The earliest we could possibly get there is Saturday afternoon. Leaving San Antonion late Friday night.
Does the rush start Sat, Sun or Mon?

*

Offline jeffblaylock

  • Horned Frog
  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2311
  • I'd rather be on the South Rim
Re: High Chisos Plan
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2010, 03:46:51 PM »
Plan A is certainly possible but, as noted, you may not be able to secure campsites in the Chisos themselves.

I would consider using the Homer Wilson ranch as a starting point and spend a couple of nights along the Dodson, Smoky Creek and Elephant Tusk trails. There will be water at Fresno Creek and likely water in pools and springs in the Smoky Creek and ET drainages. Since it's zone camping, there is a higher likelihood of permit availability. Another possibility is Marufo Vega, where water is available from the Rio Grande.

The key with spring break visits is to be flexible and have several options.

As for food and water, an Ursack would certainly protect smellables in the desert. If you get a Chisos Mountains site, there will be bear boxes where you can store everything.

Plan A does not appear to visit the South Rim at all, which is kind of a shame if you spend all that energy to get up there. Yes, the Northeast/Southeast Rim closures cut off some of the best scenery, but the first glimpse off the rim at the end of the Boot Canyon Trail does not disappoint.
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

*

Offline TexasAggieHiker

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1228
  • The road goes on forever & the party never ends...
Re: High Chisos Plan
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2010, 04:02:46 PM »
You probably won't get a Chisos site on Saturday.  But if you were to make a night in the Chisos at the end of your trip after zone camping, I can almost guarantee that you will be able to get a site.  You can only get a site 24 hours in advance, unless its part of a continuous itinerary.  So if you were do zone camp along the OML for a couple of nights and then get a site in the Chisos, you shouldn't have a problem getting a site.  But be prepared for a LONG day if you plan on doing the Dodson in one day.  I've hiked close to the Wilson ranch on day 1 and then to Juniper canyon road on day 2.  Day 2 is very long, but doable.  You could do that and then on the third night stay in the Chisos.  Cache water at Blue Creek.  Refill at Fresno for the next two day, or get enough from Fresno to make it to Boot canyon spring or the puddles in Boot Canyon.  That way you don't have to carry so much.  Don't count on the Dodson Spring.  Fresno will have water flowing and it's only a mile before the Dodson spring.

Mice are the only wildlife you really have to worry about down in the desert.  I've never had to deal with them.  A bear container or ursack would just be extra weight.

*

Offline Cookie

  • Golden Eagle
  • Diamondback
  • *
  • 373
  • "you never slow down, you never grow old" T.P.
Re: High Chisos Plan
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2010, 05:59:56 PM »

Plan A Day 1, take Pinnacles Trail to a site close by Emory Peak, either EP1 or TM1. Setup camp and then hike Emory Peak. Day 2, Take Boot Canyon trail over to Blue Creek trail via Colima Trail, resupply water at Homer Wilson Ranch, Zone Camp somewhere in Dodson. Day 3, Continue Dodson Trail to Juniper Canyon and stay at any of the BC\JC\CO sites. We plan on carrying about 2 gallons of water each in and refilling at Homer Wilson and Dodson Spring.


My questions:
  • Is Plan A realistic physically? How about with spring break availability in the equation?
  • When zone camping in Dodson, how is food and water secured from animals? Should I be so inclined to get a beer keg or ursack?
  • With the Southeast Rim being closed during this time, are we missing anything cool to see in the Southwest Rim?



My first question would be how many days do you have? Looks like you have at least 3-4 nights. Here are my thoughts on your Plan A.
If you are coming in on Saturday afternoon, you will need to cache your water at the ranch and get permits, so that day is pretty much shot. If you start hiking early Sunday morning after staying somewhere(???roadside maybe???) you are stacking all your mileage for your 2nd & 3rd day on the dodson by hiking  only as far as Emory on the first day and staying the night nearby(if you could get a permit).

It might be more feasible to hike Pinnacles to boot canyon to the rim and take the southwest rim to blue creek hike down and camp at the beginning of the zone camping. That way you get to enjoy the rim and get some miles in also (I prefer the view from the rim over Emory peak). Then get your water cache at the ranch or just hike to Fresno and get water there. Hike as far as you can and zone camp the 2nd night. If you are able to get a permit in the chisos at BC or that area for the third night you can hike emory on the way out if you have the energy and the drive (stash your packs in the bear boxes at the trailhead). If no permit is available you can zone camp at the edge of zone camping at the top of Juniper canyon. You would need enough water from Fresno to get you to boot canyon/spring on the last day.

I have only hiked this going clock wise, but don't underestimate the climb up Juniper Canyon to the rim.

I like Jeff's suggestion of starting at Homer Wilson also and if possible stay in the Chisos on the 3rd night or hiking Smoky Creek & Elephant Tusk trails if you weren't totally set on doing the OML.

As for critters, we never had a problem, just made sure we didn't leave food out over night and had a clean camp. I think we only ever saw the 'rats' up in the chisos sites. We did go toe to toe with a very large Big Bend Brown Recluse...may he rest in peace (or pieces)

As others have said, have several options ready and be flexible!

~Cookie

 


©COPYRIGHT NOTICE

All photographs and content posted by members are to be considered copyrighted by their respective owners and may not be used for any purposes, commercial or otherwise, without permission.

+-Calendar For Sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!

Powered by EzPortal

Facebook Comments