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Ay Chi, Jeff and Viper Meet Their Mesa

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Ay Chi, Jeff and Viper Meet Their Mesa
« on: April 04, 2010, 10:41:46 PM »
Just got back from a week in Big Bend. The first few days were an introduction to the park for my good friend and neighbor Walter (I'll post this portion under a separate trip report.). We hiked Lost Mine and backpacked the South Rim, getting in a summit of Emory Peak. Following an afternoon along the Ross Maxwell Drive, we met up with Ay Chihuahua!, his friend Eric, and 01ACRViper on "the front porch" in Terlingua. Walter left the next morning, and the rest of us took on the Mesa de Anguila.

Randell's trip was better timed with cooler weather and more water. In virtually all of the tinajas and potholes we found only dust. Viper's determined free-climbing efforts down a 40-foot or so chute preserved any chance we had of reaching our goal: the point on the rim above the mouth of Santa Elena Canyon.



We made it, but it was a challenge. There was almost no water, virtually no shade, and practically no place to even sit down. Crisscrossed by dozens of gullies and washes, the Mesa’s limestone surface provided few easy stretches of hiking, and all of it was under the relentless sun (except for a merciful deck of clouds on our first afternoon, laboring under the weight of two gallons plus of water), half of it off-trail.



A very rewarding trip, to be sure, and a lot to talk about, with at least three storytellers/photographers contributing to the tale.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2010, 10:46:41 PM by jeffblaylock »
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline Al

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Re: Ay Chi, Jeff and Viper Meet Their Mesa
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2010, 10:50:30 PM »
You guys are incredible!  Now this is what is truly covering a lot of ground.  Don't let your hiking buds short change us please, Jeff.  Mule Ears will eat this up like freshly rendered paleo flesh with a plethora of sides!

Al

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Offline Al

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Re: Ay Chi, Jeff and Viper Meet Their Mesa
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2010, 11:11:09 PM »
At first I thought you were in Mexico.



Al

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Offline 01ACRViper

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Re: Ay Chi, Jeff and Viper Meet Their Mesa
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2010, 11:51:50 PM »
didn't get very far with my pictures, labs took up most of the evening  :icon_redface:



and a large (2.5 mb) pano from the top of the saddle looking to the east, with the obligatory Sotol stalk for Jeff

http://www.grbphotography.net/bbcfiles/Saddle_Pano.jpg

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Offline guc126

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Re: Ay Chi, Jeff and Viper Meet Their Mesa
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2010, 12:00:14 AM »
Did you gentlemen visit Tinaja de la V***a?
« Last Edit: April 05, 2010, 10:04:32 AM by RichardM »

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Offline Al

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Re: Ay Chi, Jeff and Viper Meet Their Mesa
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2010, 12:07:33 AM »
didn't get very far with my pictures, labs took up most of the evening  :icon_redface:



and a large (2.5 mb) pano from the top of the saddle looking to the east, with the obligatory Sotol stalk for Jeff

http://www.grbphotography.net/bbcfiles/Saddle_Pano.jpg

That pano is a whole lot of picture.  Thanks!

Al

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BigBendHiker

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Re: Ay Chi, Jeff and Viper Meet Their Mesa
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2010, 05:56:14 AM »
Cool!

Looking forward to the rest of the pictures...



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Offline mule ears

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Re: Ay Chi, Jeff and Viper Meet Their Mesa
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2010, 06:04:50 AM »
You guys are incredible!  Now this is what is truly covering a lot of ground.  Don't let your hiking buds short change us please, Jeff.  Mule Ears will eat this up like freshly rendered paleo flesh with a plethora of sides!

Al

I will savor this, multiple story tellers and photographers!  Now that the farming season is really picking up and I won't be able to put a pack on until at least August, this is my only virtual backpacking outlet.  :eusa_dance:
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline Terlingua50337

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Re: Ay Chi, Jeff and Viper Meet Their Mesa
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2010, 06:48:03 AM »
Sweet pano. What'd you use to stitch it?

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Offline stingrey

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Re: Ay Chi, Jeff and Viper Meet Their Mesa
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2010, 08:03:50 AM »
You guys are definitely tough as nails, the heat was pretty brutal out there!
Get busy living, or get busy dying.

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Offline randell

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Re: Ay Chi, Jeff and Viper Meet Their Mesa
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2010, 08:49:14 AM »
Glad you guys made it to the mouth!  Can't wait to hear the rest.  I bet it was hot.  We lucked out and had perfect weather.
There's nothing like a good quest to get you intimate with a place. - Tom Clynes

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Offline TexasAggieHiker

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Re: Ay Chi, Jeff and Viper Meet Their Mesa
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2010, 08:58:15 AM »
More pictures!!!!!!   :willynilly:

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Offline homerboy2u

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Re: Ay Chi, Jeff and Viper Meet Their Mesa
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2010, 09:00:24 AM »
Did you gentlemen visit Tinaja de la V***a?

 Y siguele con eso.... :icon_lol: :icon_lol:. Hay ni?os que leen este sitio. No te digo?
« Last Edit: April 05, 2010, 10:03:56 AM by RichardM »
Stay thirsty, my friends.

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Ay Chi, Jeff and Viper Meet Their Mesa
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2010, 10:45:23 AM »
Sweet pano pic Viper - so nice to have a real photographer along for a hiking trip!

guc126, we did not go past Tinaja de la V. Based on what we observed elsewhere on the MDA, I'd consider any water found in its drainage to be a "bonus" rather than a "requirement."

It was hot, but we caught a break with some clouds one afternoon, and stiff winds helped at times. We were definitely pushing the boundary on when this hike could be done.

Btw, we saw the remnants of two metal poles which had been intentionally sawed off near the trailhead. Might've been the former interpretive sign. All we found was a small "trail rules" sign and orange ribbons marking the route from what we think was the trailhead.
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline Ay Chihuahua!

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Re: Ay Chi, Jeff and Viper Meet Their Mesa
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2010, 02:53:31 PM »
This was a great trip that started the morning of March 31st at about 8:15 a.m. with a fairly uneventful drive from Austin to Terlingua. Viper, my friend Eric and I arrived on the "porch" about 3:30 p.m. and had beers in hand by 3:45. About 5 beers later Jeff and Walter finally arrived and we soon were eating dinner at the Starlight.

Camp that night was at the Rattle Snake Mtn. camp site. Unfortunately, some folks were already camped there. Jeff brandished his permit and the interlopers were quickly shooed away. They were surely a bit nervous as we drove up and Black Sabbath's War Pigs was blaring from from my vehicle.

The next morning we started our hike to the Mesa and cut around the Lajitas golf course and walked across the flats and up to the top of the Saddle, which put us on the Mesa. Our destination was Tinaja Rana for water. Viper's 24 year old legs led the way with each of us spread out and hiking at our own pace. We all met up at a drainage with an overhang that supplied some shade. Viper had been the first to arrive and had already explored for water further down the drainage, which was a reported 200 feet down and unobtainable. We mistakenly thought that Tinaja Rana was one more drainage down the trail until we realized we had just stopped at Tinaja Rana and the next opportunity for water was a short distance to Tinaja Blanca.

Once again, Viper reached the destination long before the rest of us and reported that there was water, but it was a bit of a climb to get to. After inspecting the Tinaja, my gut feeling was that it was too dangerous to attempt the climb down, or the climb out, for that matter. While the rest of us lounged beneath the shade on an overhang (I guess the rest of us lounged...I was sound asleep), Viper took off to look for water in the next drainage. Some time later, I was awoken by the sound of Viper's voice saying he had already climbed down to the bottom of Tinaja Blanca and was reporting that it was reachable.

Note: For those in the 40+ age range, a good piece of advice for hiking the MDA is to bring a young guy.

Young Viper must have made the climb in and out the drainage 6 or so times carrying buckets of water, while Jeff portioned it out in bottles and various bladders. My only job was to grab the bucket being carried out and hand it to Jeff. I also managed to grab a couple of pictures.

Viper down at the bottom of Tinaja Blanca




Once again, I'd like to thank Viper for making the unadvised trip down to get water. If not for his efforts, it would have been a very short trip.

After obtaining water, we hiked a short distance and made camp beneath Canyon Flag.

Camp








We awoke early the next day and stripped our packs down to the essentials we would need to hike to the point at the mouth of Santa Elena Canyon.

Looking toward the drainage of Bruja Canyon.


Viper with camera in hand and surveying the landscape beneath.


A view towards Terlingua Creek.




After a scenic stroll along the rim facing the Chisos, we came to the mouth of the canyon.




Views across canyon into Mexico and the Sierra Ponce.




A buzzard's view.


Self-pic.


A view up-canyon at Smuggler's Cave.


I managed to snap a few pics of some oddities on the trail. I saw this severed fox head in a drainage, which seemed odd, but I guess whatever had it for dinner didn't care for cabeza.


I guess someone from across the river is grazing their horses? :eusa_think:




That just about wraps 'er up. I did manage to snap this picture on Easter morning from our camp site at Grapevine Hills before we hit the road back to Austin.

« Last Edit: April 05, 2010, 04:35:43 PM by RichardM »

 


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