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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.

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Six day trip in April. What to do?

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Offline davidachee

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Six day trip in April. What to do?
« on: February 15, 2010, 01:33:58 PM »
Hi everyone! A friend and I are hitting Big Bend for the first time in April, and were wondering what to do. I know we want to do the South Rim. Maybe two other overnight hikes. I was looking at The Marufo Vega or Mule Ears. Any experts out there want to add their advice? We'll be there April 3-8, if that helps narrow anything down. Thanks in advance!

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Six day trip in April. What to do?
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2010, 02:25:44 PM »
Need some more info to be helpful: what are you interested in, what's your experience level, what kind of vehicle do you have, where are you camping/lodging when not on the trail, etc.
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 poke

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Re: Six day trip in April. What to do?
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2010, 03:03:49 PM »
I just did the Marufo Vega loop, they've improved the trail, and the Park Service seems to be touting it more aggresively. It is beautiful, and gives a close-up of the river that you miss up on the rim. Plus, you have to pass the hot springs to enter and exit that part of the park, so it's a great excuse to relax in them. I also like all the little hikes down the RM Scenic Drive, especially Mule Ears Springs, Tuff Canyon (really short and easy) Burro Mesa Pour Off (short and Easy) and the Santa Elena Canyon trail. A day spent driving and hiking down to the Canyon is a day well spent, imho. Grapevine is short and easy, and cool too, especially if you have youngsters in the group. I qualify as a youngster, according to Chisos Muse! Don't let the bald head fool ya.
"I wouldn't mind so much if that had been just water, but men have been hanged for spilling less whiskey than that."

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Offline davidachee

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Re: Six day trip in April. What to do?
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2010, 03:13:40 PM »
Need some more info to be helpful: what are you interested in, what's your experience level, what kind of vehicle do you have, where are you camping/lodging when not on the trail, etc.

I really like the views that the Rim and Marufo Vega offer, but we're open to anything. We're not super-experienced, but we're not greenhorns either. We've been on a few excursions. We're a couple of guys in their twenties, in pretty good shape if I do say so myself. We'll be taking a Honda Element, and I was planning on staying in the Basin Campground on the nights we're not on trail.

Thanks Poke! Those sound like some pretty great suggestions, and those Hot Springs will be nice after a couple overnighters.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2010, 03:19:26 PM by davidachee »

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Six day trip in April. What to do?
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2010, 05:59:00 PM »
Hi everyone! A friend and I are hitting Big Bend for the first time in April, and were wondering what to do. I know we want to do the South Rim. Maybe two other overnight hikes. I was looking at The Marufo Vega or Mule Ears. Any experts out there want to add their advice? We'll be there April 3-8, if that helps narrow anything down. Thanks in advance!

It is beginning to get pretty hot in April down low so you will need to walk early and find or make some shade for mid day siestas.  It is getting close to the better times of the year of for cactus blooms and bird watching though.

Hiking out Mule Ears past the spring to the Smoky Creek area is a good one.  Or using Mule Ears Spring as base camp (assuming you can find shade) and then day hikes out from there.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Six day trip in April. What to do?
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2010, 06:16:21 PM »
Need some more info to be helpful: what are you interested in, what's your experience level, what kind of vehicle do you have, where are you camping/lodging when not on the trail, etc.

I really like the views that the Rim and Marufo Vega offer, but we're open to anything. We're not super-experienced, but we're not greenhorns either. We've been on a few excursions. We're a couple of guys in their twenties, in pretty good shape if I do say so myself. We'll be taking a Honda Element, and I was planning on staying in the Basin Campground on the nights we're not on trail.

Thanks Poke! Those sound like some pretty great suggestions, and those Hot Springs will be nice after a couple overnighters.

It may be too hot for Marufo Vega or any long, strenuous desert overnighters in April. I consider November-early March as the season for a hike that one. As mule ears suggests, hiking his namesake trail to an escarpment overlooking Smoky Creek provides a nice destination for a campsite, then explore the creek and surrounding hills at your leisure.

You'll want to spend one day driving the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive and doing the short hikes and viewpoints.

Other good dayhikes easily reached by a 2WD car include Grapevine Hills, Boquillas Canyon entrance, Hot Springs ruins, and Santa Elena Canyon.

I'd do the Lost Mine Trail was a warm-up for your South Rim trek.

Take an evening to enjoy the nightlife of Terlingua.
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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