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OML Water/Hike Report Feb 3rd, 4th, 5th

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Offline bawaller

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OML Water/Hike Report Feb 3rd, 4th, 5th
« on: February 07, 2018, 07:34:42 PM »
In return for the information provided by the hiking community on this site, here's our water/trip report:

Hiked the OML Sat-Sun-Mon Feb 3rd, 4th, 5th 2018. 

Began day 1 Saturday morning at the Basin Visitor Center.  Hiked to Emory peak, left packs in the bear boxes, took wind gear, one treking pole and a water bottle (hand carry) to the summit.  Peak was a bit windy and chilly but not bad.  Plenty of day hikers, but also not bad. 

Returned to bear boxes, got our packs, and hiking partner used the privy.  Headed down boot canyon trail.  Took a right on colima trail, then a left on the SW rim trail to do a little "loop" so as not to miss the views from SW Rim.  Very glad we did this, the view didn't disappoint. Then, as the SE Rim was closed for falcons, took a left and came back north along the boot canyon trail. Here we found the "pools" of water as described.  At first very small and shallow, but as we went further North over the next few hundred yards, the pools got larger and deeper.  We topped up our water to full capacity (5.5L for me, 4L for my buddy) and headed on, taking a right (East) on the NE Rim trail.  Got to campsite NE 3 to find it occupied.  Upon closer inspection of our permit, we thankfully discovered that the ranger had written NE3 in one spot, and NE2 in another.  Headed back to NE2 and arrived just in time to set up camp with a little light left.  With our plentiful water we cooked chana masala (backpacker pantry) and coffee in the morning.  It was chilly and windy all night, even though the site seemed well protected by trees, it didn't seem to matter. 

Day 2 we headed back toward boot canyon, took a right, then another right (east) onto the Juniper Canyon trail.  Located the Juniper Spring water source as described perfectly on this site.  The spring was flowing but the pool was not 2 x 3 as described, In my opinion.  I'd say it was a pool about 1' x 1.5'.  It was full of leaves, but the water was fresh, cool, and clear.  There was a rock that made for a decent seat so scooping water from the leaf-filled pool was at least comfortable, though time consuming.  Lots of bees getting water, but they weren't angry, and left us alone.  We both topped back up to max capacity and headed down, down, down, to the Dodson.  Did not cache water here. 

Our plan was to make it to our water cache at Homer Wilson, and camp somewhere shortly after.  This didn't happen!  The Dodson section was a butt-kicker!  For some silly reason, I thought this would be a sort of "flat" section, and we'd just cruise on through, making great time, just crushing miles!  Nope! Not flat, NOT easy miles! I think the elevation profile made it look easy because compared to the elevation changes entering and exiting the Chisos basin, it just didn't look like much.  Don't be fooled like me, these miles are hard work.  And it's mostly up and down mountains, just smaller mountains, but still mountains.  Arriving at the Dodson spring, we found it did have water.  I didn't recall much info on this source, but it was on my topo, and it had water.  There was an old piece of pipe on the ground right on/by the trail.  Heading "up" this pipe, maybe 10 yards, the small pool of water was found below a layer of green algae.  This water was teaming with life!  While my partner didn't partake in this water, failure to reach our cache at Homer Wilson was, and had been on my mind for several miles!
I topped back up to full capacity and we continued on.  Shortly after we crossed over what I believe to be Fresno Creek/Spring.  Where the trail crossed, there was small puddles, but it looked like there was actual flowing water just 1-200 yards downstream to the south.  Happy with my "protein water" from Dodson spring, I passed, and we continued on.  A few more miles and the sun was getting low.  Just after the sun went below the mountains we came to a nice little flat camp spot with a fantastic view of the post sunset colors and that weird "nipple-topped" mountain that is just by Homer Wilson.  We had plenty of water, no more daylight, and a sweet spot, so we agreed to accept the change of plan, and spend the night! It was beautiful!  Probably my favorite camp spot to date, anywhere.  Plus no wind, and warm temps.  It was just one of those "meant to be" type of things.  My estimation is that this spot was 4-4.5 miles past Fresno Creek, and 1.5-2 miles from Homer Wilson. 

Day 3 - Woke up to the still beautiful view and had coffee, twice!  Headed on to Homer Wilson each with only about .75L left.  Picked up a gallon each at the Homer Wilson cache boxes, and continued up blue creek to complete the loop.  The cairns were critical to staying on the trail as the various washes were hard to tell from the designated trail path.  A couple of times I think we got a bit off-trail, but were able to get back on track without having to backtrack.  After the Dodson experience, I was anticipating the worst for the climb back into the basin.  While, it was a legit climb, we knocked it out in better time, and with less "struggle" than I feared.  Plentiful shady spots and outstanding views mixed in with the switchbacks of the climb made it a very memorable and pleasant section of the loop.  With our food bags lightened and water supplies low we cruised, nearly jogging, back into the visitor center with sub 10lb packs.  Feeling accomplished, and deserving, my buddy partook in a soda and a bag of Fritos, while I indulged in a Gatorade and a bag of Fritos.  Neither of us would normally consume such items, but celebration was in order! 

Our total hike was about 34-35miles, and 2.5 days.  This was our first time hiking in Texas, and first time in the desert.  Lessons learned:  The DODSON TRAIL IS TOUGH!!!  %#%$% the DODSON!  But, after doing it I'm SO glad I did! It was beautiful.  Just won't do it again ;)

Many, Many Thanks to the community here for all the critical info that made our hike a memorable one.

Byron

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Online mule ears

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Re: OML Water/Hike Report Feb 3rd, 4th, 5th
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2018, 08:03:37 PM »
Thank you for the report and congratulations on making the loop!  The Dodson is what surprises and gets most folks.  The reason you didn't read anything about Dodson spring is it is usually dry or a very unappetizing pool and it is only a short distance to good water at Fresno.  Thanks again for coming back and letting us know about your hike.   :eusa_clap:
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline elhombre

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Re: OML Water/Hike Report Feb 3rd, 4th, 5th
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2018, 08:14:48 PM »
So you went from the Chisos NE2 all the way around to half way down the hill above Homer Wilson in one day.    :icon_eek:

I think you "nearly" jogged 2/3rds the trail and sprinted the last 1/3rd.  Incredible.   :eusa_think:

Thanks for the water report.
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Re: OML Water/Hike Report Feb 3rd, 4th, 5th
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2018, 09:57:51 PM »
So you went from the Chisos NE2 all the way around to half way down the hill above Homer Wilson in one day.    :icon_eek:

I think you "nearly" jogged 2/3rds the trail and sprinted the last 1/3rd.  Incredible.   :eusa_think:

Thanks for the water report.

And all that on a trail that Byron admitted was kicking his butt!  VERY impressive. Not many people on this board could pull that off. Glad you had such a rewarding trip. And glad you enjoyed Dodson Spring. Most of us don't mention it because we're not as comfortable with "protein water" ( :icon_lol) as you are, Byron. Great trip and great, concise report. Well done!!!
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Joe The Real Deal

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Re: OML Water/Hike Report Feb 3rd, 4th, 5th
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2018, 08:21:04 PM »
Hi Byron

Thank you for the trip report. I am fortunate to be back in Texas after 10 years away so I can go to Big Bend again. I am happy you enjoyed your visit, and the NE rim sites are my favorites!
I really appreciate reports like yours and all the information on Big Bend Chat. It is all helping me plan my next trip with more confidence than I could in the old days.

Take care,

Joe

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Offline dprather

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Re: OML Water/Hike Report Feb 3rd, 4th, 5th
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2018, 09:25:01 PM »
Great report. 

There is nothing quite as exhilarating as cruising down Laguna Meadows Trail with lightened packs, and stoked with the satisfaction of a successful OML. 
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

 


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