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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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Comeback Trip

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Comeback Trip
« on: May 01, 2006, 12:07:17 AM »
It's been over a year since my trip to Big Bend ... far, far too long. Between special legislative sessions (one in progress -- the 7th in 2 and a half years), reconstructive knee surgery, buying a house, and scheduling conflicts, I've been away for the longest time since 1999.

Keeping in mind that I am still recovering from knee surgery, what should I do my next trip out, which will hopefully occur between mid-May and mid-June? I'm looking for unique, beautiful, seldom seen places that a somewhat hobbled hiker can get to as a day hike, given the summer heat.

For the sake of others looking for trip suggestions, I won't say where I've been, so your ideas will help more than just me. I'm confident this group will send me to a few places I've never been before. And, if some of you will be out there during that time, I'll try to find you. I most likely will be a party of one otherwise.
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 Picacho

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Comeback Trip
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2006, 01:04:04 AM »
Sorry to hear about your knee surgery.  I had an ACL fixed a couple of years ago.  The good news is, I have recovered and have been climbing mountains ever since, so I would think you can do the same.  Just this last year I have climbed Crown Mountain, Casa Grande, Pummel Peak, Elephant Tusk, Carter Peak, and Lost Mine Peak just in Big Bend.  In November I hiked out to the saddle in between Mule Ears.  I doubt you would want to bushwhack all the way out there, but the trek out past Mule Ears Spring up to the high point will give you a great view of the Mule Ears and the Santiago Mountains.  The Pine Canyon Trail is a nice one as well, although I am pretty sure you already know that.  :-)  I enjoy the photography on your website.  

By the way, did you get my email?

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Comeback Trip
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2006, 02:53:44 PM »
Quote from: "jeffblaylock"
Keeping in mind that I am still recovering from knee surgery, what should I do my next trip out, which will hopefully occur between mid-May and mid-June? I'm looking for unique, beautiful, seldom seen places that a somewhat hobbled hiker can get to as a day hike, given the summer heat.

I'm afraid I don't have any good hike suggestions, but as a fellow ACL club member, I'll throw in some commentary.  At 3-4 months post-op you probably should avoid uneven terrain at all costs.  You should be good to go on smooth terrain, but twisting and other lateral type movements (especially unintended) should be avoided.  Even things like loose sand can cause problems at that stage of your rehab.  And the last thing you want to do is tweak your knee while miles away from the truck.  Those custom braces (Don-Joy, Breg, etc) help keep the knee aligned, but are somewhat limited in the amount of protection they provide.  At this point, your biggest risks are tearing cartilage or worse, tearing your graft.  Either one will help fund your orthopedist's retirement, as more surgery will probably be in your future.  When I hit the 3 month mark, my doc cleared me to start running/jogging, but with no lateral movement.  It pretty much stayed that way until the end of my rehab at 5 1/2 months.

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Offline EdB

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Re: Comeback Trip
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2006, 03:22:50 PM »
Quote from: "jeffblaylock"
Keeping in mind that I am still recovering from knee surgery, what should I do my next trip out, which will hopefully occur between mid-May and mid-June? I'm looking for unique, beautiful, seldom seen places that a somewhat hobbled hiker can get to as a day hike, given the summer heat.


Well, the heat means you have two choices: either stay in the mountains, or get up early and be done before it gets too hot. I think in either case, you're going to have to limit your mileage. You might not get to many seldom seen places in that case.

How about hiking on the west side to Indian Head Spring and checking out the rock art? It's very flat, except for the hill from the parking area. With your knee, you really shouldn't try to go past the spring - it takes maybe 30-40 minutes to get that far. (I've seen it referred to as Indian Spring and/or Indian Head Springs, so forgive me if I'm incorrect about the name).

I've had fun in the Castolon area just getting out of my car and looking at ruins, instead of driving right by, as well as searching for graves. Tuff Canyon is pretty short, albeit maybe more steep than you want. The trail to Mule Ears Spring is fairly decent. Walk down to Homer Wilson's ranch and poke around for awhile. Do Croton Springs. This would be a good trip to take your time and explore, instead of trying to do a big long hike.

 And obviously, if you can drive the backroads, anything you do is going to something most people don't see. I think you'd be best off keeping any hike short in case you run into trouble with your knee.

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SHANEA

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Re: Comeback Trip
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2006, 06:37:07 PM »
Quote from: "jeffblaylock"
what should I do my next trip out


Try the
Quote
Contrabando Multi-use Trail is an easy to moderate 19 mile trail system. Trailheads are located at both ends of the loop trail with the east-end located across from The Warnock Center. Campsites are designated, water must be carried, and all wastes must be carried out.


http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/big_bend_ranch/activities.phtml

I've done about half the trail over to the springs and old abandoned house.  It's pretty "level" and doesn't require a lot of scrambling or anything.  But, as others before me have stated - start earlier, finish early.

Good luck.  I blew my knee snow skiing at Steamboat 10+ years ago on Vagabond, first run of the morning, everything worked ok, came out of the bindings, etc. - hit a patch of ice, strained the ACL and blew the cartlidge to pieces.    Has Never Been the Same Since.  Will never be the same until they give me a new knee when I'm old and gray  Whatever you do, don't blow the cartlidge.  That's when you are really FUBARd.

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Offline Roy

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Comeback Trip
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2006, 10:21:44 PM »
All the flat stuff's out in the desert.  Dog Canyon, Top of Burro Mesa, Ward Spring could be good.  Slickrock Canyon is probably too long for a summer hike.  I'd also be careful hiking in soft sand right now.

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Offline Bobcat

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Comeback Trip
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2006, 10:38:31 PM »
Speaking of injuries, I was told today that I did break my left arm after tripping on the damn water valve up in the No Gen Zone.  Well, they found a floating bone chip from my left elbow ~ 1 cm in diameter.  So ortho gets to see me some time in the futher.

Take a hike from 385 to the Rosillos.
Location Location Location

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SHANEA

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That's Too Bad...
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2006, 11:39:15 PM »
That Tragic - "Tragedy - Old Bee Gee's tune"...  

Well, don't think you can sue the government or BIBE.  If you were in East Texas, I'd recommend a sawbone to you, Dr. ShaneA - they say he's very good with a knife.  He moonlights.  But, be sure to only go to him on Tue-Thur as he's hung over on Monday's and already crocked on Friday's.  

Ortho is good.

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Comeback Trip
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2006, 09:47:48 AM »
Quote from: "attm"
By the way, did you get my email?

Couldn't find one in any of my various in-boxes. Please re-send to jeff@jeffblaylock.com.  Thanks!

Quote from: "RichardM"
And the last thing you want to do is tweak your knee while miles away from the truck.

Which is why I'm glad it happened on Peak 8 at Breckenridge resort. You know, the one with the hospital at the bottom of the run. Something tells me that a ski patrol rescue from the Dodson Trail wouldn't be as comfortable.

Quote from: "ShaneA"
Whatever you do, don't blow the cartlidge.

It was a package deal with the complete ACL tear. Fortunately, it was repairable, and I was able to put weight on it within days.

Quote from: "Bobcat"
I was told today that I did break my left arm after tripping on the damn water valve

Ugh. I feel your pain. Guess your split-fingered fastball days are over.
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 Roy

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Comeback Trip
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2006, 09:51:27 AM »
Couple of other thoughts.  Might try exploring the area around Exhibit Ridge, down toward Grapevine.  That's more or less where I was;  lots of cool erosional features.  Or east side of Tornillo Creek from Mckinney Spring camp site.  I didn't get there, but if you follow the drainage west you should come out in the area where the old settlement was.  Maybe do a little scouting for Lemming's cemetery.  I'd definitely recommend a 7.5 map for that one.

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Lemming_of_the_BDA

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That reminds me...
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2006, 10:07:56 AM »
Quote from: "Roy"
Couple of other thoughts.  Might try exploring the area around Exhibit Ridge, down toward Grapevine.  That's more or less where I was;  lots of cool erosional features.  Or east side of Tornillo Creek from Mckinney Spring camp site.  I didn't get there, but if you follow the drainage west you should come out in the area where the old settlement was. Maybe do a little scouting for Lemming's cemetery.[/i]  I'd definitely recommend a 7.5 map for that one.


Have you been able to get your hands on Weedin's thesis? I have a copy coming from Angelo State University's library. Finally.

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Offline Roy

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Comeback Trip
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2006, 10:35:46 AM »
Haven't tried.  Won't be able to get out there until fall, lots of other irons in the fire right now.  Another spot mentioned in the Rice book I'd like to find is the old goat farm off the River Road.

 


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