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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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pre-trip report

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Offline 01ACRViper

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Re: Dominquez Springs
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2006, 07:26:04 PM »
Quote from: "TheWildWestGuy"
I was at Dominquez Springs in early April this year and hiked up Fisk Canyon all the way to within 2 miles of Smokey Creek Trail (to the top of the dry pass overlooking Smokey Creek Trail).   There was water flowing from Dominquez Springs and from a spring where you branch off of Fisk Canyon to go around Dominquez Mtn to E. Tusk.   The rangers warned me about break-in's at the trailhead as there had been one in Jan-Feb of this year where $1200 worth of gear was stolen.  I didn't have any trouble and break-in's are a rare event but they do occur even miles from the river.  But this will be the least of your worries.  The trail to Dominquez enters a dry wash after ~4 miles and finding the trail on the reverse trip is tricky as it is not well marked and you can easily walk right past it so be careful to memorize your route and/or flag it.  If you do miss it (like I did in April) you can keep walking South and you will eventually hit the River road in about the same distance.  Your plans sound a little too aggressive as it is likely to be very hot and take much longer than you think to do these things.  A basecamp at Dominquez is a good idea and then dayhike from there.  I don't think you can hike in, make a basecamp, and get up on Dominquez Mtn in a single day.  Its a long drive in, a long hike into Dom. Springs, and you probably won't start day-hiking until 2-3 in the afternoon.  That leaves you 3-4 hours of hike time assuming you want to make it back to camp ~hour or more before dark to have a liesurely dinner and enjoy the cool shade near the old damsite.  Fisk Canyon is a great dayhike and you can always cut East towards Elephant Tusk at the springs.   I would stay away from the lower desert in front of the Mtn Front and stay away from the dry peaks in the summer - especially this summer.   I can give you more details about the hike from Dom. to Smokey Creek if you want.

A high Chisos hike might be better this year - its so dry out there its dangerous for solo hikers.   Why not make a basecamp at LW1 and go down Upper Cattail Canyon to the big pour-off.  I posted some recent photo's of this in my photo album on MSN Groups Big Bend Photos site.   The Dam is dry but there is water in several big Tinajas near and downdip from the old dam.  You could do the entire hike in 1 full day and then have a relaxing night under the tree's at LW1 looking at Emery Peak with a cold beer in your hand.  Sounds a lot better than the near-death experience you are planning... TWWG

i figure, depending on far i get the night before, if i start driving again at 6:30, i can make it to the trailhead at 8. it took an hour to drive to the RMSD from ET1, so this shouldn't be quite so long. the hike is a little longer than the ET hike, and we did that in ~2 hours with very frequent stops :oops: that would put me in a place to camp around noon. that is a late start. i would have to gauge my situation once i got there i guess. as far as water goes, i don't like to rely on springs in the desert. i would carry all my nalgenes, which would be more than enough for 2 days of hiking. the heat is the only thing that is worrying me. my spring break trip up fresno creek was hot, with highs in the upper 90's and no shade. it wouldn't be enjoyable, but id survive, as long as i didn't injure anything :( i don't know if i'd want to solo a hike like this, just because of the risk factor. that is why i'm leaning more towards Ward mtn. is LW1 your reccomendation for sites up there? i've never camped up in the chisos  :oops: so i don't know what's best[/i]


Offline TheWildWestGuy

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Dom Springs and Upper Cattail
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2006, 06:42:54 PM »
The Dom. Springs are very reliable, they have always been flowing at some long-term baselevel (fossil water?) on all my trips.  The springs up Fisk Canyon near the E. Tusk cutoff are larger and I think your safe just carrying enough water for 1 days hike up to Dom. Springs.  Just make sure to fill up before you start back down in case you miss the cutoff.  I assumed you would be getting permits etc... the morning of your hike so that would mean that you would not start driving until at least 8:30am putting you at Dom. about 2-3pm.
For a summer hike - go for the High Chisos complex.  LW1 is my favorite campsite as it is private, has great views of Emory Peak, has shade, and is close to Laguna Meadows and Upper Cattail Canyon.   You can also hike out on the ridge above it for a good distance - I think this ridge is what was originally drawn on the old 1950's map as the Ward Mtn Trail even though this ridge is not exactly Ward Mtn.   You can find water in Upper Cattail downstream from the old dam and also in the stagnant Tinajas above Boot Springs.   Both are reliable but bring a filter! ... TWWG



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