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.

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BB rookies need advise 5 day/4 night adventure

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Offline guc126

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BB rookies need advise 5 day/4 night adventure
« on: October 24, 2009, 12:54:13 AM »
 My daughter and myself are novice backpackers planning a first trip to BB early november. Our only other backcountry trek was a 4 day adventure in the Guadalupe Mountains this past July. I'm looking at series of relatively short hikes with zone camping overnights. Our schedule is as follows.
day 1: drive to Terlingua Abaja and hike to Bruja Canyon, overnight there then return to our   
            jumping off point.
day 2: make a quick detour to Santa Elena canyon then drive back up the western side of the park
           to the Paint Gap hills, hike into the backcountry there and zone camp overnight.
day 3: drive north to Nine Point Draw campsite location (if this is the correct jumping off point) and    hike/zone camp overnight into the Dog canyon, Devil's Den area.       
day 4: drive into the Rosillos mountains area and hike/zone camp overnight in the Buttrill springs are
            area
day 5: say goodbye.

I feel this itinerary will let us get a good feel for BB and prepare us for more rugged locations later.

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Offline mule ears

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Re: BB rookies need advise 5 day/4 night adventure
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2009, 07:36:41 AM »
Welcome to the board and Big Bend. That is an interesting intro to the park trip that most folks would not think of, all lower desert and no Chisos or Sierra Quemada which is where most folks backpack, at least at first.

The weather in early Nov. is great both for high elevation and low elevation trips. I would also suggest maybe an overnight into the Mule Ears springs area, great water at the spring and then on out the trail are excellent views over the lower Sierra Quemada and Smoky creek. I assume you have Lawrence Parents book "Hiking Big Bend", it is the best starting point for the hikes you have in mind.

I think you will find Big Bend an easier area to backpack than the Guadalupes, not as steep and generally more water available. Let us know, here on the board, if we can help with more info.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline dkerr24

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Re: BB rookies need advise 5 day/4 night adventure
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2009, 09:40:08 AM »
You picked a great time of the year to introduce yourself to the lower desert areas of the park.  Cool nights and warm but not hot days.  You guys should have a great time!

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Offline guc126

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Re: BB rookies need advise 5 day/4 night adventure
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2009, 10:00:02 AM »
The reason I chose this itinerary was to practice skills such as landmark acquisition/recognition and compass & topo map interpretation. I wanted to get a feel for hydration in a november desert enviornment without a lot of vertical hiking this time out. And I want to get a feel for what the easier roads are like (then I can envision what the RR, Glenn Springs and OO roads are like). as far as this route is concerned would any of you vets substitute another area for the the Paint Gap hills? Are all the appropriate quad maps available at Panther Junction? Does anyone know if the Buttrill springs are noted on the Rosillos quads (I think there's 2 quads that cover the area).     A humble thanks to all!

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Offline championbaum

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Re: BB rookies need advise 5 day/4 night adventure
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2009, 01:56:20 PM »
mule ears spring is really cool, it is one of the, if not the most interesting springs. Also there are some great and easily recognizable landmarks in that area. i dont know how old your daughters are, but my son who is 7 now, likes that area second only to the hot springs (but what kid wouldn't love the hot springs). he would rather backpack into that area over the chisos, which is surprising to me.

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Offline Roy

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Re: BB rookies need advise 5 day/4 night adventure
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2009, 04:56:57 PM »
Buttrill Springs is on the quad, don't remember which one offhand.  It's been years since I've been in there, but it may well be overgrown to the point of being inaccessible;  check with the Rangers.  The Rosillos area is largely unmaintained.
Other possiblities that fit your criteria might be Red Ass Spring, Tule Spring, or along Tornillo Creek from the Fossil Bone Exhibit.  There "should" be water available, but I'd pack in what you need just in case.  And check with the Rangers, there are ruins in some of these areas and there are restricitions when camping near them.
Sounds like an interesting trip.  Please post a trip report when you get back;  I can't do the long hikes anymore but might be able to do some of these.

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Offline badknees

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Re: BB rookies need advise 5 day/4 night adventure
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2009, 05:44:13 PM »
Buttrill Springs is on the quad, don't remember which one offhand.  It's been years since I've been in there, but it may well be overgrown to the point of being inaccessible;  check with the Rangers.  The Rosillos area is largely unmaintained.
Other possiblities that fit your criteria might be Red Ass Spring, Tule Spring, or along Tornillo Creek from the Fossil Bone Exhibit.  There "should" be water available, but I'd pack in what you need just in case.  And check with the Rangers, there are ruins in some of these areas and there are restricitions when camping near them.
Sounds like an interesting trip.  Please post a trip report when you get back;  I can't do the long hikes anymore but might be able to do some of these.

Butrill Spring is on the Twin Peaks Quad approx N29.54344 W103.27295
« Last Edit: October 24, 2009, 07:12:36 PM by badknees »
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Offline betteroutside

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Re: BB rookies need advise 5 day/4 night adventure
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2009, 09:02:12 AM »
I was checking out the Buttrill Spring area in Jan2007. The water course down from the spring is terribly overgrown. You will probably try to get to it by going up the old road that leads to the old Harte Ranch site. It is not a very far walk. More just a day hike. The Harte Ranch house is a intereasting structure. Some areas around there are posted as Administrative Areas, and so off limits. Stay away from the house and the air strip. I have included a pic of the old Harte Ranch house.

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Offline Lorax

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Re: BB rookies need advise 5 day/4 night adventure
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2009, 11:04:06 AM »
By November the Castolon Visitor Center will be open to get your Backcountry Permit if you enter by the Maverick Station. ( Up to 14 nights for $10 if unbroken by a move to a developed camp site; if you break up a permit there are additional charges as these would be separate permits.) Check out the hours of operation when you enter the park.  Last winter Nine Point Draw had a long term scientific party occupying it.  You may have to go down to Hannold Draw or K Bar to be close to Dog Canyon or no so close.

 


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