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.

+-Calendar for sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!


7 Day Hike Jan 16 - Homer Wilson to Rio, Mariscal Mountains to Chisos Basin

  • 16 Replies
  • 6099 Views
*

Offline MetalMan

  • Jack Rabbit
  • *
  • 41
    • SeekingLost: Backpacking Adventures
I finally got around to finishing the trip report for this hike. Here's a rundown on the itinerary -

Day 1 - Started at the Homer Wilson ranch and hiked a canyon east of Goat Mountain to the Mule ears area. Camped near Smoky Spring
Day 2 - Hiked up Jack's Pass down to Dominguez Spring, then down to  camp in the open desert south of Dominguez near some badlands
Day 3 - Hiked down to the Rio near Talley, then up to the Mariscal Canyon overlook where I camped for the night
Day 4 - Hiked the spine of the Mariscal Mountain range north to the mine, then northwest towards Elephant Tusk. Camped bout 2 miles NE of ET trailhead
Day 5 - ET trail north to Adler Spring and then to the Dodson, taking that east to Juniper Canyon
Day 6 - Juniper Canyon trail to Boot Canyon to the South Rim
Day 7 - Northeast Rim trail to Boot Canyon to Pinnacles trail, down to the Chisos Basin

This would have been a loop but my hiking partner had torn his planters tendon in his foot last year and the rough terrain was making it flare up on him. He headed back to the Mule Ears overlook on the morning of day 2 and I continued on solo. He hitched back to the car parked at the Sotol Overlook by Homer Wilson. His feet were feeling better by day 6 and he joined me for our last night on the South Rim, having left from the Chisos Basin. That's why I ended at the Chisos Basin instead of Homer Wilson.

We had a (probable) mountain lion in our camp on night 1 near Smoky Spring. After the sun went down, we heard a raspy growl from the base of the mountains nearby, maybe a few hundred yards away. We heard it again after we went to bed. It definitely sounded like a cat. Later that night, I heard something moving around near camp. My buddy had heard something brush up against his tent right at that time, and we both started making noise and carrying on a conversation. We didn't hear anything else after that all night. While my buddy was off exploring the park by car (and some easier day hikes) during the rest of my hike that week, he stopped in the ranger station to inquire about the animal encounter. He described the sound and the rangers had said it was most likely a mountain lion, not a bobcat as we originally considered.

I have posted the full report with LOTS of pictures here on my blog:  http://seekinglost.com/big-bend-national-park-7-day-hike-jan-2016/
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 10:32:04 PM by MetalMan »
Backpacking adventures and photography - http://seekinglost.com

*CDT Thru Hike starting April 21st 2018!*

*

Offline Jalco

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1072
GREAT report!  You took a lot of pictures!  Loved the one of the sunset on the Rim.  And, yes, the Mariscal Canyon shot (the last one you took) is terrific, too.

*

Offline mule ears

  • Administrator
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 4378
  • "He had to leave Texas but won't say why" McMurtry
    • 40 years of walking
Great job, you were moving fast.  Cant' believe you  did 17 miles the day you did Mariscal Mtn.  That was a haul. 

Too bad you ran into those guys camping at ET trailhead, you could have had a long stretch without seeing anyone.  My longest is 6 days.  But then you did get some water from them.

Thanks.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

*

Offline MetalMan

  • Jack Rabbit
  • *
  • 41
    • SeekingLost: Backpacking Adventures
Too bad you ran into those guys camping at ET trailhead, you could have had a long stretch without seeing anyone.  My longest is 6 days.  But then you did get some water from them.

I was thinking the same thing! I would have made it 5.5 days without seeing anyone if it weren't for them, but that water was a great compromise. Wow 6 days is a long time though. Was that in Big Bend?

And yeah that was a haul doing the 17 miles on day 4. But I remember reading Eric's report on his hike of this similar route, where he hiked all the way from Elephant Tusk to the Basin in one day. I was just glad I didn't have to do that!
« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 09:29:12 PM by MetalMan »
Backpacking adventures and photography - http://seekinglost.com

*CDT Thru Hike starting April 21st 2018!*

*

Offline elhombre

  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1162
Nice hike and you covered a ton of area.  Good to hear Alder spring is doing well.  You did right in getting out of the creek bed to the east and avoiding all that brush.  If you pushed through some of it before leaving the creek bed, then you for sure took a serious beating! 

I would bet you a peso that the animal you heard was a ringtail.  They often call out after it finally gets good and dark.  It's not in a mountain lions nature to call out and then wonder around some ones camp.  They are purely stealth and don't announce themselves.  I would bet you another peso that a least one mountain lion sat somewhere and watched you wonder by though.

You aren't the only person to loose that trail at Elephant tusk.  People come to the spot where the dirt turns turquois and they head down hill instead of simply walking straight along that side.   NPS should do something right there.  Over Christmas we found a bunch of trash down in the black rock canyon of Elephant tusk.  Was there still a bunch of trash?  Or did they send someone out there to pick up all the cans and milk cartons? 

Lastly, on your first day when you went around the "150 foot" pouroff, was there enough water flowing that it made a water fall?  A while back it was flowing enough that someone had put a game camera there to look at all the animals that came by for a drink.

Once again, nice work.  I bet your buddy was jealous as you described and pointed out your route when y'all were both up on the rim your last night!
For 2 years the Fake News Media, Obama's FBI, CIA & DOJ, and Swamp dwelling Politicians COLLUDED, Illegally Spied,and LIED to America about POTUS in order to overturn an election

All the while demanding censorship and removal of opposition Conservative "hate speech" voices.  Globalists Hate Freedom

*

Offline ambersdad

  • Diamondback
  • *
  • 364
Great report, great pics, and I really like your blog.  Well done.
Having decent gear is nice, but wildlife photography is knowing your subject and getting lucky, and I love getting lucky.
https://www.facebook.com/randy.jones.33234
http://randyswildlifeandnaturephotography.com/

*

Offline mule ears

  • Administrator
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 4378
  • "He had to leave Texas but won't say why" McMurtry
    • 40 years of walking
Too bad you ran into those guys camping at ET trailhead, you could have had a long stretch without seeing anyone.  My longest is 6 days.  But then you did get some water from them.

I was thinking the same thing! I would have made it 5.5 days without seeing anyone if it weren't for them, but that water was a great compromise. Wow 6 days is a long time though. Was that in Big Bend?

And yeah that was a haul doing the 17 miles on day 4. But I remember reading Eric's report on his hike of this similar route, where he hiked all the way from Elephant Tusk to the Basin in one day. I was just glad I didn't have to do that!

I had my numbers off slightly, yes it was in Big Bend and was just over 5 days on my somewhat similar loop over Mariscal Mountain, when we decided not to walk the spine, had we walked the spine I am sure we would have gone over 6 days without seeing anyone but we came out a day early.

Quote
Lastly, on your first day when you went around the "150 foot" pouroff, was there enough water flowing that it made a water fall?

I was surprised you had trouble finding your way around the pouroff that has Mesa Bonita spring at it's base, there is a steep/scramble descent on the right side going down canyon.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

*

Offline dprather

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2476
Great report and pictures - thanks
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

*

Offline Homer67

  • Passionate Backpacker
  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 825
  • Be Amazing.
Awesome report!  I love long hikes.  My longest thus far in the park is 8 nights, Quemada loveliness.
Ah Big Bend, we will soon return to reacquaint ourselves in our ritual of blood, exhaustion and dehydration. How can we resist the temptation to strip ourselves of the maladies of civilization?

*

Offline tusker

  • Coyote
  • *
  • 108
A splendid account of a magnificent exploit!

Thank you!

*

Offline tx1c

  • Roadrunner
  • *
  • 90
Re: 7 Day Hike Jan 16 - Homer Wilson to Rio, Mariscal Mountains to Chisos Basin
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2016, 12:29:24 PM »
Quote
Great report, great pics, and I really like your blog.  Well done.
I agree.

*

Offline MetalMan

  • Jack Rabbit
  • *
  • 41
    • SeekingLost: Backpacking Adventures
Re: 7 Day Hike Jan 16 - Homer Wilson to Rio, Mariscal Mountains to Chisos Basin
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2016, 09:45:20 PM »
Nice hike and you covered a ton of area.  Good to hear Alder spring is doing well.  You did right in getting out of the creek bed to the east and avoiding all that brush.  If you pushed through some of it before leaving the creek bed, then you for sure took a serious beating! 

I would bet you a peso that the animal you heard was a ringtail.  They often call out after it finally gets good and dark.  It's not in a mountain lions nature to call out and then wonder around some ones camp.  They are purely stealth and don't announce themselves.  I would bet you another peso that a least one mountain lion sat somewhere and watched you wonder by though.

You aren't the only person to loose that trail at Elephant tusk.  People come to the spot where the dirt turns turquois and they head down hill instead of simply walking straight along that side.   NPS should do something right there.  Over Christmas we found a bunch of trash down in the black rock canyon of Elephant tusk.  Was there still a bunch of trash?  Or did they send someone out there to pick up all the cans and milk cartons? 

Lastly, on your first day when you went around the "150 foot" pouroff, was there enough water flowing that it made a water fall?  A while back it was flowing enough that someone had put a game camera there to look at all the animals that came by for a drink.

Once again, nice work.  I bet your buddy was jealous as you described and pointed out your route when y'all were both up on the rim your last night!

I could only find a couple of sound clips of sounds a ringtail makes, and they do sound pretty similar except the ringtail sound clips I heard were more of a barking sound. That's not to say the ringtail can't make more of a growling noise like we heard, but having listened to a few cougar growl sound bytes there's a few that sounded pretty similar. I'll never really know what it was but you're probably right about it being a ringtail.

I don't remember seeing any trash anywhere. I hate seeing that stuff. And no, there was no water coming off that pour off on day 1. It was dry above the pouroff. Ha, yeah he was a little jealous about the route, specifically the mariscal canyon area.


I had my numbers off slightly, yes it was in Big Bend and was just over 5 days on my somewhat similar loop over Mariscal Mountain, when we decided not to walk the spine, had we walked the spine I am sure we would have gone over 6 days without seeing anyone but we came out a day early.

I was surprised you had trouble finding your way around the pouroff that has Mesa Bonita spring at it's base, there is a steep/scramble descent on the right side going down canyon.

That's still a long stretch at 5 days. I remember reading that trip report before I left for this hike. Going down around that pouroff though, it wasn't that bad, just that we chose the wrong route down initially. It would have been fine if we just skipped the gully that ended with he dropoff, went over the next little hill and down from there.

Awesome report!  I love long hikes.  My longest thus far in the park is 8 nights, Quemada loveliness.

Wow, 8 days, now that's impressive. Got a link to that trip report? I like long hikes too, without seeing anyone!


« Last Edit: February 05, 2016, 03:06:40 PM by MetalMan »
Backpacking adventures and photography - http://seekinglost.com

*CDT Thru Hike starting April 21st 2018!*

*

Offline MetalMan

  • Jack Rabbit
  • *
  • 41
    • SeekingLost: Backpacking Adventures
Re: 7 Day Hike Jan 16 - Homer Wilson to Rio, Mariscal Mountains to Chisos Basin
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2016, 09:50:52 PM »
I wore a GoPro on this hike too. I uploaded the video to youtube...

Backpacking adventures and photography - http://seekinglost.com

*CDT Thru Hike starting April 21st 2018!*

*

Offline raptor()

  • Roadrunner
  • *
  • 82
Re: 7 Day Hike Jan 16 - Homer Wilson to Rio, Mariscal Mountains to Chisos Basin
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2016, 01:53:13 PM »
Excellent report, I really enjoyed reading it.  Looking forward to watching the video as well.  Did it ever get creepy out there by yourself for so long?  I know at night especially, I'd be hard for me not to think of mountain lions as well as unsavory folks near the border.

*

Offline Lance

  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 867
Re: 7 Day Hike Jan 16 - Homer Wilson to Rio, Mariscal Mountains to Chisos Basin
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2016, 02:52:22 PM »
What a awesome trip report MetalMan!  Read the whole thing then watched your video along with your gpx track loaded in Google Earth.  Was able to follow along quite nicely.  You definitely put some miles in.  Thanks for providing the GPX tracks too.  I added a few of your campsites and a cleaned up version of your Mariscal Mountain track to my Big Bend Google Earth Project.  What was your total pack weight with water?  Were there any tinajas on top of Mariscal Mountain? It looks like in one of the pictures as you neared Mariscal Mine there were tinajas.  The terrain on Mariscal Mountain reminds me of Mesa de Anguila from the satellite photos.  I've had the same experience with Gossamar Gear hiking poles (broke 3) in Big Bend. They're lightweight, but not durable enough for the punishment I put on them out in Big Bend.  Thanks again for the nice writeup!

 


©COPYRIGHT NOTICE

All photographs and content posted by members are to be considered copyrighted by their respective owners and may not be used for any purposes, commercial or otherwise, without permission.

+-Calendar For Sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!

Powered by EzPortal

Facebook Comments