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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Planning a ThanksGiving Trip and need help.

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Offline jonesy

  • Kangaroo Rat
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  • 4
Planning a ThanksGiving Trip and need help.
« on: November 19, 2007, 12:58:29 PM »
Hello everyone!

I finally have a block of time off (thanksgiving holiday), and I'm heading out to Big Bend solo...and need some advice! :willynilly:

I'll be driving from Waco, leaving either wednesday Nov.21 and breaking the drive in half, or THX-Giving Day and driving the whole way...some 9 hours.  I've never been there, and am wondering if I should car-camp or do some primitive backcountry camping. 

I have to be back at my desk in Waco on Monday morning (Nov.26), so my time is short, but I'm sure 2 days is enough to get outdoors a piece and enjoy the scenery.  I have some primitive camping experience (my last trip was to Enchanted Rock for two days at the primitive site-Buzzard's Roost), but I'm wondering if car camping would be a better idea for my time/experience.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!


FYI:

My vacation time starts at 5PM Wednesday November 21, and runs out Sunday night November 25th.

I'm driving a 4x4 pickup.

Mycamping gear includes:
-Kelty Multi-day 5600cc backpack with camel-bak
-2-man-4-season Moss Stardome II tent
-0-degree bag and thermorest
-MSR Whisper-lite portable Stove
-Assorted camping accessories.... (I've been building my gear up slowly for years!).

I'm male, 29 years old, in good physical condition, and can live off freeze-dried meals, hard-salami, cheese, peanut butter, and water till the cows come home, but I've not tackled anything as vast as BBNP before.  Feel free to let me know what you think.  Thanks in advance!!

 :eusa_angel:
-j 
If you meet the buddha on the road...kill him!

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Offline PyramidBlaster

  • Coyote
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  • 224
  • 3AM Eternal...
Re: Planning a ThanksGiving Trip and need help.
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2007, 01:31:30 PM »
I just got back from a solo trip out there for 5 days, and for the time you have, I'd say car camping would give you the most time---I'm partial to K-Bar 1 backcountry site for central location and ease of use....There's lots of dayhikes that lend themselves to a short trip...I did lots of them. When i was too tired to set up a tent in the dark after a long day, I was able to sleep in the car....basically, there are quite a few 'backcountry' sites that are drive-ups...just that they're on unimproved roads. You're driving a pickup, so your options should be good....
"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents."-H.P. Lovecraft

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Offline Roy

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 1529
Re: Planning a ThanksGiving Trip and need help.
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2007, 01:35:13 PM »
Two days isn't much time to cover the park, but here's a few suggestions.

1.  Overnight the South Rim.  Into the high country of the Chisos Mountains, this is the park's signature hike.  13-17 miles (or more), depending on side trails.  Or you can day hike it, but it'll be somewhat rushed.

2.  Several shorter hikes.  Lost Mine Peak Trail in the mountains;  half day.  Chimneys Trail, a good introduction to desert hiking, also a half day.  Alternatives:  Mountains - Window Trail, or Pinnacles Trail to Emory Peak, the park's highest point.  Pinnalces Trail is part of the loop trail to the South rim.  Desert:  Dog Canyon/ Devil's Den, not healvily utilized, rock cairns only;  Mule Ears, a developed trail.  Lots of others to chose from.

3.  Drive the paved roads.  Most folks do this on their first visit to get a feel for the place.  It takes longer than you might think, it's a big place.  See Boquillas Canyon on the east, Santa Elena on the west,  lots of view points to see.  Make a point of seeing the sun set from Sotol Vista.

4.  Drive the back roads.  Check with the Rangers for road conditions when you get there, but the only road that is usually a problem is Black Gap.  My personal favorite is Old Ore Road;  lots of backcountry car camping sites on the back roads.

5.  If you don't already have a place reserved, you may have to zone camp, which means find an approved area and pitch your tent;  no tent pad or other facilities.  Check with the Rangers;  you'll need a permit.  Or, if you insist on a room, you may wind up in Alpine;  the park is going to be crowded.  This isn't a disaster as Alpine leads you to Fort Davis, McDonald Observatory, Davis Mountains State Park, etc..  Also a very nice trip



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Offline jonesy

  • Kangaroo Rat
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  • 4
Re: Planning a ThanksGiving Trip and need help.
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2007, 12:18:26 PM »
Thanks guys!

The weather looks to be damp/chilly, but I'm fine with that.  I think I'm going to backpack the rim as advised for one night, and look to 4x4 out back for another night.  I'll be sure to bring everything I need, especially a good attitude! :eusa_dance:  I can't wait!

Thanks again.


-j
If you meet the buddha on the road...kill him!

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Offline xseption

  • Do it in Big Bend!
  • Black Bear
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  • 780
  • BiBe is the BEST!
Re: Planning a ThanksGiving Trip and need help.
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2007, 03:13:12 PM »
Two days isn't much time to cover the park, but here's a few suggestions.

1.  Overnight the South Rim.  Into the high country of the Chisos Mountains, this is the park's signature hike.  13-17 miles (or more), depending on side trails.  Or you can day hike it, but it'll be somewhat rushed.

2.  Several shorter hikes.  Lost Mine Peak Trail in the mountains;  half day.  Chimneys Trail, a good introduction to desert hiking, also a half day.  Alternatives:  Mountains - Window Trail, or Pinnacles Trail to Emory Peak, the park's highest point.  Pinnalces Trail is part of the loop trail to the South rim.  Desert:  Dog Canyon/ Devil's Den, not healvily utilized, rock cairns only;  Mule Ears, a developed trail.  Lots of others to chose from.

3.  Drive the paved roads.  Most folks do this on their first visit to get a feel for the place.  It takes longer than you might think, it's a big place.  See Boquillas Canyon on the east, Santa Elena on the west,  lots of view points to see.  Make a point of seeing the sun set from Sotol Vista.

4.  Drive the back roads.  Check with the Rangers for road conditions when you get there, but the only road that is usually a problem is Black Gap.  My personal favorite is Old Ore Road;  lots of backcountry car camping sites on the back roads.

5.  If you don't already have a place reserved, you may have to zone camp, which means find an approved area and pitch your tent;  no tent pad or other facilities.  Check with the Rangers;  you'll need a permit.  Or, if you insist on a room, you may wind up in Alpine;  the park is going to be crowded.  This isn't a disaster as Alpine leads you to Fort Davis, McDonald Observatory, Davis Mountains State Park, etc..  Also a very nice trip

Awesome advice, Roy! I really like the Chimney trail as the land changes almost every quarter mile after reaching the Chimneys.

~ edd

Be the kind of person that you will want to meet!

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Offline STARLITDARKNESS3

  • Black Bear
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  • 530
Re: Planning a ThanksGiving Trip and need help.
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2007, 04:47:39 PM »
Thanks guys!

The weather looks to be damp/chilly, but I'm fine with that.  I think I'm going to backpack the rim as advised for one night, and look to 4x4 out back for another night.  I'll be sure to bring everything I need, especially a good attitude! :eusa_dance:  I can't wait!

Thanks again.

-j

This place will provides a good attitude  :icon_smile:    Oh and don't forget your camera.....  we always look forward to more pics here..    Have a safe and fun trip
"Are we there yet?"  ... by my Kids

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Offline bdann

  • Creosote
  • Mountain Lion
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  • 1863
Re: Planning a ThanksGiving Trip and need help.
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2007, 11:03:38 PM »
Thanks guys!

The weather looks to be damp/chilly, but I'm fine with that.  I think I'm going to backpack the rim as advised for one night, and look to 4x4 out back for another night.  I'll be sure to bring everything I need, especially a good attitude! :eusa_dance:  I can't wait!

Thanks again.


-j

Just make sure to have a plan B.  The last time I was there over Thanksgiving, all the High Chisos Backcountry sites were taken by 9:00AM on Friday morning. 
If you run into the same problem, ZONE CAMP, unlimited possibilities. 
WATER, It does a body good.

 


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