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Solid short hikes for a day (between the OML and Marufo Vega)

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Offline bryandeMN

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Solid short hikes for a day (between the OML and Marufo Vega)
« on: January 02, 2017, 10:28:59 PM »
Hey you guys! I'm heading to Big Bend this week and have a free day that I'm trying figure out some hikes for. To start off I'm planning on taking 3 days/2 nights for the OML and I'm aiming to do the Marufo Vega loop on my last full day in the park, leaving one day between the two that's open. Ideally I'd like to try for a couple of shorter hikes, all under 5 miles, for maybe 10-12 mi at most. Would y'all recommend the Grapevine Hills Trail, Cattail Falls, Santa Elena, or any combo of those or some other ones? I'll have my own transportation at the park, like a Ford fiesta type car if the clearance of the car is important.

Thanks for your time, guys!

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Offline Quatro

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Re: Solid short hikes for a day (between the OML and Marufo Vega)
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2017, 11:23:17 PM »
If you haven't been there before, I'd take a short trip over to see Terlingua and then drive down Ross Maxwell Highway on the west side of the park.  There are lots of easy short hikes off that road.  I'd definitely do Santa Elena Canyon.  I also like the Top of the Burro Mesa pouroff trail.  Or better yet, do the Ross Maxwell portion first and end up in Terlingua.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro - HST

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Offline Jimbow

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Re: Solid short hikes for a day (between the OML and Marufo Vega)
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2017, 06:38:59 AM »
2

If that doesn't strike your fancy, Boquillas Canyon and a trip to Boquillas Mexico or/and a trip to the hot springs on the east.

To the north Dog Canyon,  Devil's Den, and returning via Nine Point Draw to the road would have you cover some ground there.

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Everything is in walking distance if you have enough time.

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Solid short hikes for a day (between the OML and Marufo Vega)
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2017, 06:58:30 AM »
So you have 5 days is that correct?  3 OML and 1 Marufo Vega as a day hike? or are there other days in the itinerary?  I would agree with touring the western side of the park down the Ross Maxwell and stopping at many of the pulloffs.  My first recommendation would be Mule Ears trail out to the over look of Smoky Creek and back that would be about 6 miles round trip.

If this is your first time to the park my real recommendation would be to add a day to the OML to include a night in the mountains enjoying the view but then you may not want to jump right into a 14 mile MV day but I would hate to miss the South Rim and the killer views.

By the way, welcome to the board and make sure you give us a report when you get done!
« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 07:09:21 AM by mule ears »
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline Jalco

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Re: Solid short hikes for a day (between the OML and Marufo Vega)
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2017, 08:03:23 AM »
+1 on Ross Maxwell and the associated shorter hikes - Sam Nails Ranch, Ward Springs, etc.

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Offline catz

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Re: Solid short hikes for a day (between the OML and Marufo Vega)
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2017, 10:19:05 AM »
If you haven't been there before, then you just have to see the view from the South Rim.  I would do it on the last night of your OML becuase it is really cool to look down at what you've just hiked.

Actually, you don't HAVE to spend the entire night there.  You can make a detour to the Rim after you've climbed up into the Chisos via either Blue Creek or Juniper. 
Wake me when it's time to go.

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Offline bryandeMN

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Re: Solid short hikes for a day (between the OML and Marufo Vega)
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2017, 11:09:36 AM »
These tips have been really helpful you guys! To clarify I will be arriving to the park this Thursday, in the afternoon, and I plan on starting the OML the next morning, so it'll be 5 full days in the park with half days on either end.

The suggestion to reach the South Rim on the last day sounds awesome, but I'm not sure if I could cache water if I go counter-clockwise on the route. I had been planning to carry 8 L with me and cache 4 L at Homer Wilson for the last day. Caching 4 L at the Juniper Canyon/Dodson Junction would be ideal but I'll be using a economy- class rental car and I'm unsure if it could handle the back roads. Are those roads in such bad shape a Fiesta couldn't make it out there? As of right now I'm planning to hike up Emory peak, starting from the Chisos Basin TH, and take the SE and NE Rim Trails on the first day. Hopefully I'll be able to secure one of the NE rim campsites (#1 would be the best).

Also y'all gave me some great ideas for that free day, definitely going to check out the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive towards Terlingua. I'm thinking the Sam Nails Ranch trail, Tuff Canyon Trail, and the Santa Elena, depending on how sore I am after the OML. Dog Canyon and Devil's Den would be cool to stop by on my way out of the park, and Nine Point Draw would be a really convenient place to stay the night before leaving too.

Thanks again for the advice and keep it coming if you have some more!

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Solid short hikes for a day (between the OML and Marufo Vega)
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2017, 11:33:32 AM »
The suggestion to reach the South Rim on the last day sounds awesome, but I'm not sure if I could cache water if I go counter-clockwise on the route. I had been planning to carry 8 L with me and cache 4 L at Homer Wilson for the last day. Caching 4 L at the Juniper Canyon/Dodson Junction would be ideal but I'll be using a economy- class rental car and I'm unsure if it could handle the back roads. Are those roads in such bad shape a Fiesta couldn't make it out there? As of right now I'm planning to hike up Emory peak, starting from the Chisos Basin TH, and take the SE and NE Rim Trails on the first day. Hopefully I'll be able to secure one of the NE rim campsites (#1 would be the best).

Thanks again for the advice and keep it coming if you have some more!

So still not clear on your OML plan.  1st night in the Chisos at NE1 and then down Blue Creek and counter clockwise?  No need to carry that much water and if you do start with 8 L and climb Emory on the first day and then to NE Rim you will be tired for sure.   Sounds like you are a strong hiker but what is your general experience and in the desert?  If you have read the OML FAQ and the latest trip reports you  should know that there is plenty of water in the natural sources this winter especially Fresno creek so no need to cache at Juniper Canyon trailhead.

If you do stay on the rim then SW3 and 4, SE1-4 and NE4 have the better close by views with SW3 the only one with a view from the campsite.  You might also want to decide on a night in the Chisos based on the forecast.   At the beginning or the end based on what the weather might be.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline bryandeMN

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Re: Solid short hikes for a day (between the OML and Marufo Vega)
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2017, 01:58:26 PM »
Sorry I'll clarify a bit, the plan is to go clockwise; someone had suggested going counterclockwise to see the South rim on the last day which seems cool. That being said I had not consulted the OML FAQ and I am so glad that it was recommended because now I'm thinking I'll only pack 5 L. Also counter-clockwise sounds like it may be the way to go, not having to climb the 2500' up the Blue Creek Tail on the last day, and instead descending it the first day. And refilling as needed on the second day at the Fresno spring and on the third day at Boot spring.

I guess the most experience I've had in desert-like areas has mostly been in high elevation/barren zones in the upper Tetons (Static Peak Divide - 28 mi), spring time on a 12 mi loop in Iceland, and some dry hiking in Peru (in the mountains and the lowlands). In these places water was available but not for large tracks of at least 4 or 5 miles at a time and there was little to no tree cover from the sun.

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Solid short hikes for a day (between the OML and Marufo Vega)
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2017, 03:42:27 PM »
How many miles a day do you normally do or like to do?  As the OML can be as short as 24 miles or as long as 40 with Emory Peak.  With the climbs back up into the Chisos and the roughness of the Dodson much more than 12-14 is pretty much most peoples limit.  If you start in the Basin the decision is which trail to go up or down (Laguna Meadows or Pinnacles) and one can always figure 8 using the Colima trail too.



I am a fan of climbing up Juniper even though it is longer and more total elevation gain because the footing is so much better for most of it and a steadier climb.  If you climb up Juniper try and get pretty far up the trail from the Juniper/Dodson junction before you camp so the climb in the morning doesn't seem so long.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

 


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