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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First time to Big Bend and National Park

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Offline MBH

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First time to Big Bend and National Park
« on: February 20, 2018, 05:57:04 PM »
I'm heading to Big Bend this weekend for a trail race and I'll be spending 3-4 days in the park. I've camped and hiked before but nothing like the scale of this trip. I will be truck camping in a Nissan Frontier 2WD(Ok on the back roads?).

Im leaving Dallas/Fort Worth Thursday and will overnight in Monahans and I will get to the Big Bend Friday 2/23 by noon I hope and I am going to try to get a campsite at RGV since that's where the race starts/finishes.
Will I have a problem getting a site? If I can't get a site there maybe Candelilla or Camp De Leon.
If I have time do the Nature trail and Ernst Tinaja.

The race is Saturday 2/24 and I plan to move to Pine Canyon 3,4,2, or 1 for Saturday night if I survive the race. I want to try some night photography and the Milky Way is supposed to be in the SE around 4-7 in the morning so I want a clear view in that direction with some interesting horizon but not too high.. 

Sunday 2/25 a slow recovery day just explore the pine Canyon trail and area. Depending on availability I might stay put or move to the Chisos campground or Paint Gap for Sunday night.

Monday The South Rim and possibly Emery Peak. Too Much? Any information on the trails being closed for nesting? They were closed this time last year.
Ill stay in Chisos or maybe get a room in Terlingua Monday night.

Tuesday 2/26 the Ross Maxwell Drive & Santa Elena canyon. After that I am heading to Guadalupe National Park possibly overnight in Marathon/Alpine/Van Horn. Hike to the Peak and head back to DFW.

This is bucket list trip you can probably tell and probably a little too ambitious but I want to see as much as I can while Im there because I may never get a chance to go back. The race is a loose term it will be more of a run walk and it is more of an excuse to go to Big Bend than to a race.

So any problems with my plans? Im sure it is all subject to change. The hardest part is not being able to guarantee a place to camp.

Thanks Mike

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Offline Al

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Re: First time to Big Bend and National Park
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2018, 07:11:46 PM »
Sounds like you've done some good scouting.  Be sure to have a plan B and C. on the campsites.  Also be sure to get a continuous permit as soon as you get there.  The further out from your arrival date the more likely you are to get the sites you want.

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Offline elhombre

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Re: First time to Big Bend and National Park
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2018, 07:58:10 PM »
Way too much moving camp around.  Also, there are two very different experiences between staying in an established campground with toilets, and out at a car spot all by your lonesome.  You need to decide what you really want to see and stick with that.  The park is very big.  Your Nissan can make it out to Mariscal mine.  I would recommend doing that drive one day for sure.  Just have good tires.  Not "I really should get new ones some time soon" tires. 

With the race going on, there is no way to predict what you can get for a permit.  I would stay put for a few days before moving up to the basin.

Guadalupe will take you all day to get to.  I would leave it for another trip and concentrate on Big Bend.   The south rim is the best hike for any new guy.  Or go down Ross Maxwell for a day and see the other side of the park if the legs are toast.  The drive home is close enough to the same time as to be negligible. 
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Offline Slimkitty

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First time to Big Bend and National Park
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2018, 08:34:10 PM »
Your Nissan can make it out to Mariscal mine.  I would recommend doing that drive one day for sure.  Just have good tires.  Not "I really should get new ones some time soon" tires.

In 2014 I traveled the backroads in my Toyota Tundra with mild all terrains with no issues. Then last November, we came out to the park in my wifes Honda CR-V.  The only unpaved park road we traveled was Grapevine Hills and it absolutely wrecked the entire set of tires.  You can read about that experience here:


Ballad of the Sh*tty Street Tires: A Tale of Unbridled Numbskullery
https://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/index.php?topic=15443

If nothing else, keep your tire pressure at the lower end of the spectrum while off road.  I think that was a major factor in my incident.

Sent from the future.

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Offline MBH

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Re: First time to Big Bend and National Park
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2018, 11:42:02 AM »
I'm really not sure what I want so I'm trying a little of everything.  Moving camp is not a problem really It's just moving the truck, and I like to be able to start early without having to drive an hour to get to a trail head. Tires are Michelin in good shape. I have a full size spare but I do need to check the air in it. So I may drive around the back roads more on Sunday. I was just worried about having to have 4WD. I'm also a Ham radio operator N5WJS so I'll have my a mobile & HT with me. How is the coverage in the park?

I don't have to be back anytime before 3/3 so I may extend the time if I need to.

Thanks

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Offline Imre

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Re: First time to Big Bend and National Park
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2018, 12:45:51 PM »
From the park website:
Quote
During Peregrine Falcon nesting season, the Northeast and Southeast portions of this trail are closed.
In previous years, most (not all) of the northeast rim trail was closed until June due to nesting falcons. In any event, this is not an impediment to a day hike to the south rim. I would skip the peak, slow down, and enjoy the hike. Don't forget the days are still short. Even during the summer, I carry a flashlight on a day hike to the rim. One never knows.
For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong.
- H.L. Mencken

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Offline aljones

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Re: First time to Big Bend and National Park
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2018, 01:21:04 PM »
I'm also a Ham radio operator N5WJS so I'll have my a mobile & HT with me. How is the coverage in the park?

Thanks

Check the repeater book for the Big Bend Amateur Radio Club repeaters or check out our repeaters
146.820 (Christmas Mountain) is the common repeater for the parks, though it may be shadowed by 'hills' and
147.020 (Elephant Mountain) is often in reach.

Several of us monitor the repeaters so someone is generally on call if you need help / directions. 

al // kg5hej

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Offline MBH

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Re: First time to Big Bend and National Park
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2018, 02:13:37 PM »
I'm also a Ham radio operator N5WJS so I'll have my a mobile & HT with me. How is the coverage in the park?

Thanks

Check the repeater book for the Big Bend Amateur Radio Club repeaters or check out our repeaters
146.820 (Christmas Mountain) is the common repeater for the parks, though it may be shadowed by 'hills' and
147.020 (Elephant Mountain) is often in reach.

Several of us monitor the repeaters so someone is generally on call if you need help / directions. 

al // kg5hej

Thanks I programed all those in last night as well as 145.23 for the race.

 


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