Big Bend Conservancy
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Welcome to the board!!!!!My 2 cents: SLOW DOWN. SIMPLIFY. You're in definite jeopardy of trying to do too much for a first-time with average backpacking experience. Big Bend terrain is tough and the weather will be HOT! Hotter than you can imagine. Allow yourself four days to do the OML. Never carry more than 1.5 gallons of water (roughly 5-6 liters) and better to carry less. Water is HEAVY and carrying too much of it will ruin your trip. One gallon is tough but do-able. Two gallons is HARD. Three gallons will probably end your trip before you've made a couple miles. Take advantage of natural water sources whenever possible. If you don't use or have a filter, you can use disinfecting pills or liquid drops. They work great. I've been relying solely on them for a couple years. If Boot Canyon has water, then you should probably skip the Basin and start at Homer Wilson. You can either go clockwise up Blue Creek Canyon or counterclockwise along the Dodson. Pull water from Boot Canyon, Upper Juniper Spring, Fresno Creek, depending upon which direction you're hiking. If Boot Canyon is completely dry, then you'll probably have to start in the Basin and carry a little more than a day's water (5-6 liters) with you as you ascend into the Chisos via either the Pinnacles or Laguna. Lots of cool campsites depending upon how far you can hike with all that water. On Day 2 you can re-water at Upper Juniper as you head down Juniper Canyon, re-water again at Fresno Creek. Camp somewhere just beyond the creek. Day 3, carry enough water (2-3 liters) to get you to your cache at Homer Wilson (4-6 liters), then make camp somewhere in the washes of Blue Creek Canyon or maybe even upcanyon near the always-dry Cedar Spring if you're really, really feeling energetic. Day 4, carrying the last of your water (3-4 liters?) hike up the rest of the way through brutal Blue Creek Canyon to Laguna Meadow and then down the easy trail to the Basin for a hot meal and a cold drink. If you have time after that, make your way over to Rio Grande Village and the Hot Springs for a soak, and/or a meal across the Rio Grande in Boquillas, Mexico.THAT is an incredibly full four days for a newbie to Big Bend.
I'm almost starting to wonder if I should just abandon OML for a series of overnights/day hikes...
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