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70 Hours Redux

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Offline randell

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70 Hours Redux
« on: January 21, 2013, 10:37:15 PM »
I needed a few days away from the city so, in the interest of saving time, I retraced my steps from my 70 Hours trip five years ago.  Same trail, same game plan, same weekend, but this time I took a few friends.  Since it was the same trail and the same itinerary, I took mostly the same photos of the same things, so this is just a refresh.

The hike to this point is not easy, especially not with a fully loaded pack.  After a mile of off-trail hiking  - getting stuck by cactus, going up and down hills and tripping and slipping on rocks, one of my friends, covered in sweat, dropped his pack, cursing.  I waved to him from the top of the rim.  He made his way the last bit to join me.  "Randell, this better be worth what I just went through.  I put my faith in you and if this isn't something freaking amazing, you are going to be on my sh*t list." 

He took that last few steps and the scene below came into view.  "Holy crap!", he said.  "Sit down and eat", I said, with a large grin on my face.


And so we sat down and ate dinner, feeling we had earned this sunset.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2015, 10:40:34 AM by RichardM »
There's nothing like a good quest to get you intimate with a place. - Tom Clynes

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Offline Lance

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Re: 70 Hours Redux
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2013, 10:50:36 PM »
Gorgeous!

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Offline Al

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Re: 70 Hours Redux
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2013, 11:03:24 PM »
There are way too many folks who don't realize the incredible views reasonably available in Texas.  Thanks!

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Offline fartymarty

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Re: 70 Hours Redux
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2013, 02:16:35 AM »
Fantastic pictures Randell.  :eusa_clap:

That does it no more day hikes there for me!
I'm either going to camp there or hike back out by flashlight.
What a great sunset location.
Fort Worth

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Online mule ears

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Re: 70 Hours Redux
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2013, 07:16:52 AM »
Dude, beautiful!  I am including that spot in my next trip plan.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline trtlrock

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Re: 70 Hours Redux
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2013, 08:03:44 AM »
Wonderful!
John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee

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Offline randell

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Re: 70 Hours Redux
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2013, 11:12:07 AM »
I made it through my photos and found my favorites.  Here was our basic itinerary:

I left my house at 1:30am on Friday morning.  My poor 9 year old was crying on Thursday night because he could not go, but this was a guys trip and he had just hiked the South Rim with me in September so I didn't feel too bad for him.  I picked up Matt at 2am.  A third friend, Ramsey, who had planned to go got sick and had to back out at the last minute - literally, he backed out at 2am just as we were going to pick him up.  He was pretty upset as he had gotten a bunch of new gear for this trip but he felt like crap. 

We drove to Boerne and picked up the last member of our three-man team, Paul, who had driven in from Dallas.  We had to wait for Paul for 30 minutes as we were running early since we did not have to pick up Ramsey and Paul was running about 15 minutes late. 

We made it to the park HQ at 12:30 and hit the trail sometime around 2pm.  The hike took a little over two and a half hours.  Places to put your tent or sleeping pad are hard to find due to the landscape but we found some locations close to each other.  I did not bring a tent but Matt and Paul did.  The two tents and my sleeping bag are visible in this photo:



We watched the sun set on the rim, then watched the stars come out.  The moon had an awesome halo around it.  I tried unsuccessfully to get a good photo.  I had not brought my tripod.  While I was willing to haul my SLR in, I was not willing to carry the extra pounds of the tripod.  We drank some fine Scotch that night and slept wonderfully.

Saturday morning we ate breakfast at our favorite spot.



After breakfast we hiked over to another promontory to check out the views.



Travolta approves of this view:



On the hike out we found an old sardine can - really old, before pop tops:



We saw a couple with backpackers on as we were almost back to the trail but never saw them again.  I have no idea where they camped or if they did, but their packs looked like they had plans to camp. 

A group of perhaps a dozen men day hiking passed us just before the trail leaves the wash that the North/South split is in.  They asked where the river overlook was.  Thinking they were talking about the spur trail to the river, I told them it was 3 miles.  They were not very pleased with this answer. 

We passed them about a half a mile later and they were at a fine overlook, which I guess is what they were referring too.  They could not see the river, though, and seemed confused by this fact.  They were about 50 yards from a point where the river was visible.  I wasn't going to go back and tell them since seeing the river wasn't much better of a view than they already had. 

We stopped at Split Rock camp for lunch.  Split rock is visible in the upper center cluster of rocks here:


We heard the donkeys but never saw them.  Their poo was everywhere.  After the lecture from the park ranger about burying our poo, I was somewhat amused that when my time came, I had to kick donkey poo out of the way, dig a hole through the donkey poo, then cover my poo with donkey poo.  It kind of seemed pointless.  Ok, I didn't really poo where the donkeys did, but there was so much donkey poo that it was amusing to consider. 

We saw lots of aoudad tracks and scratch marks, but never any aoudad.  It was interesting that Matt and I hiked the Mesa de Anguilla a few years ago and saw more aoudad than aoudad tracks and in doing this trail twice now, I have seen lots of aoudad sign but no aoudad.

While exploring a wash, we found several tinajas that had water in them from the recent precipitation.  One was particularly large so we filtered water here instead of from the Rio Grande.  While making his way to the tinaja, Paul's camelbak bladder was punctured by a yucca.  This was potentially a serious problem.  Fortunately I had thrown in an extra 70 oz platypus bottle at the last second when packing just in case one of my older platypus bottles sprang a leak.  Paul used my spare and all was good.

Late in the evening we reached the same bowl where I had camped five years ago. Our camp is visible in the lower-center-left:


I found some cliffs a ways up a hill with a good view of the Sierra del Carmens to eat dinner:


My Saturday night sleep-spot:


Sunday morning we got a 10am start to hike out of the bowl, through the V:


We made it back to the car a few minutes after 1pm.  We went to RGV and found the place packed.  I had forgotten about the Big Bend Ultra being this weekend and was somewhat disappointed as I was looking forward to the Hot Springs.  I almost didn't want to go for a soak when we saw the full parking lot at the Hot Springs, but I figured it was better to see a full Hot Springs than no Hot Springs. 

There were over 40 people at the Hot Springs and they were having a blast.  They had a radio, washers, and lots of beer.  There was not attempt to conceal their beer.  One couple showed up with a glass bottle of wine, much to my dismay.  A couple of guys had crossed over the river and were tossing a football back and forth over the river.  A park maintenance worker showed up and was not looking very pleased, but nobody seemed to be concerned.  We figured this party was about to be busted wide open and left.  Sure enough, as we were driving back to the main road, a park ranger truck came speeding down the road followed by an immigration jeep.  The park ranger was not looking happy at all. 

We went back to RGV for a shower, then to K-Bar 1 for our night of car camping.  The view was splendid.  I had brought my tent, but did not use it for the last night.  After sleeping under the stars the previous two nights, it seemed like a hassle.  At about 6:15am on Monday something tickled my ear.  I swatted at my ear and as I lay there listening I head something small skittering about behind me.  I guess it was a mouse.  Regardless, this was a good time to get up so I got up and we packed up and hit the road at 7am.

Now I have to start planning a possible spring break trip so my nine year old will be happy again.  He made sure to tell me how unhappy he was that he had not gone when I got home.  But what can I say, sometimes you just need a guy trip.

The End.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2015, 10:44:25 AM by RichardM »
There's nothing like a good quest to get you intimate with a place. - Tom Clynes

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Offline badknees

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Re: 70 Hours Redux
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2013, 06:53:55 PM »
Most excellent photos and TR!
Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
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Offline steelfrog

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Re: 70 Hours Redux
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2013, 10:15:43 AM »
Randell--can you post a map of your route?

I may do this President's day weekend; taking a Noob; I think he'd like it...

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Offline randell

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Re: 70 Hours Redux
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2013, 02:11:13 PM »
Randell--can you post a map of your route?

I may do this President's day weekend; taking a Noob; I think he'd like it...

Here you go.  It is just following the trail except for the one off-trail excursion.  For that, we left the trail here:
N29 13.832 W102 55.361

That point is 3.1 miles from the trailhead, then another .9 miles to where we camped.  It took us 3 hours to get to Camp 1 from the trailhead - the off-trail part is tough going - lots of thorny vegetation, rocks, and uneven ground.

« Last Edit: November 16, 2015, 10:45:11 AM by RichardM »
There's nothing like a good quest to get you intimate with a place. - Tom Clynes

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Offline steelfrog

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Re: 70 Hours Redux
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2013, 02:35:55 PM »
Cool--many thanks; ya, that's the canyon I thought you might follow, but just wanted to make sure.

 


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