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!


Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017

  • 24 Replies
  • 5780 Views
*

Offline Jonathan Sadow

  • Coyote
  • *
  • 194
Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« on: May 07, 2017, 12:58:24 AM »
It was time for a winter trip to the Big Bend area, as there were lowland areas that needed investigation that could be done in the cooler months of the year.  I scheduled the trip for mid-February, co-ordinating with a Special Viewing Night at the McDonald Observatory, with visits to both the national and state parks included.  It didn't happen.  In mid-January, that odd pain that I'd been feeling since early December in my left knee when I flexed it acutely was starting to show up whenever I walked an incline, whether it was a hill or a treadmill, so much so that it was interfering with my workouts.  When ibuprofen didn't help, an x-ray and MRI scan confirmed that I had a slight bucket-handle tear in my left lateral meniscus.  So on the day I'd been planning on hiking the Marufo Vega Trail, I was instead in the orthopedist's office having surgery scheduled, and on one of the days I'd been planning on hiking in Big Bend Ranch State Park, I was having arthroscopic knee surgery.  Fortunately, thanks to my conditioning I recovered quickly, and by late April I was ready to go again.  By now, though, lowland hiking would be out of the question with daytime highs in those areas getting into the high 90s and even touching triple digits.  I also wanted to reduce the amount of hiking I would normally do on such a trip, as I wanted to make sure I wouldn't stress my newly-repaired knee too much.  Consequently, I decided to pass on the state park for this time and only do the national park in the highlands.  I was able to reschedule the observatory viewing night for late April and so planned my trip for then.  Being that late April and early May is the peak migration period for birds, I decided that this trip would be, well, for the birds.

Monday, April 24 - Wednesday, April 26
As usual, I got a late start to the trip and got only to Junction by the end of Monday.  Even with all that time to pack, however, I still remarkably managed to forget to bring my camera.  This was a serious oversight (how could I do a trip report without pictures?) which had to be rectified.  So on Tuesday, on my way to Fort Davis and the observatory for the special viewing night, I stopped at the one place I knew that I could get a camera, the Wal-Mart in Fort Stockton.  There, I found a Fujifilm FinePix XP95 that appeared to have been a display model for 75% off.  I bought it and a 8 GB SD card for a total of about $57 with tax.  While this was unquestionably a deal, compared to the camera I left behind it has some limitations: it has only 5x digital zoom as opposed to 20x optical zoom and no manual brightness nor exposure control, which would limit my photography somewhat.  With that crisis resolved, I proceeded to the observatory for the special viewing night.  That turned out to be a bust.  Thanks to the high winds throughout the day, the particle count in the air was about 2 times the allowable limit for the telescope to be used, so the viewing was canceled.  I did get to see a pair of Montezuma Quail hanging around the telescope area, though.  On Wednesday, I made my way to the Chisos Mining Company Motel in Study Butte-Terlingua and did the laundry I'd been accumulating the past week.  Looking at the schedule of ranger talks in the national park, I noticed that a stargazing session was scheduled for that evening, so after dinner at the Chili Pepper I drove into the park to a spot on Park Route 12 about five miles north of Rio Grande Village, just north of the intersection with the River Road.  A volunteer showed us some of the sights of the spring sky.  The session was worth it just for seeing the zodiacal light, sunlight reflected off of cosmic dust in Earth's orbit which can be seen only under very dark sky conditions such as those present in BIBE.  It was setting over the Chisos from where we were standing and would've made a great photograph if the cheap camera I had just bought were capable of handling the light conditions....  It was a nice consolation prize for not being able to observe the previous night.  After that, it was time to go back to Study Butte and go to sleep to await the next day.

Thursday, April 27
In preparation for my backcountry stay, I went to the visitors' center at Panther Junction to get my backcountry permit. With it being the height of spring migration, a visit to Boot Canyon in the Chisos was in order. In deference to the recovery to my recent surgery, I decided to change things up from the way I've done visits to the high Chisos previously and do something that I'd been thinking about for a while.  In the past, whenever I'd done an exploration of Boot Canyon, I'd stayed in a Boot Canyon or Colima backcountry campsite.  However, out of the 41 Chisos Mountains backcountry sites, 13 of them aren't in the high Chisos but instead are on the approaches, either along the Blue Creek or Pinnacles trails.  I thought it would be interesting to try one, and staying in one of those sites meant I wouldn't have to subject my knee to the full ascent into and descent from the Chisos.  I've also seen few, if any, trip reports here involving a stay at one of these sites, so it would be interesting simply from an informational viewpoint.  With these considerations in mind, I got a permit for Pinnacles 1 for the following two nights.  The remainder of the day I would go birding.  On my way back to Study Butte, I stopped by the Sam Nail Ranch on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive.  The most interesting thing I saw there wasn't a bird but rather a javelina that was drinking at the water pipe there that took off into the brush as soon as I saw it.  The most interesting bird sighting came came not at the ranch but rather at the exhibit a couple of miles east of the Maverick entrance station.  When I passed by there earlier going to Panther Junction, vultures had been eating a dead rabbit in the road, but near them was a white bird that flew off with the vultures when the vehicle ahead of me came up to them.  Now passing the site going the other way, I noticed that the remains of the rabbit and hence the vultures were gone, but the white bird was now sitting on the exhbit's explanatory panel:


17427004 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

It was a Cattle Egret.  It was quite odd seeing a bird that normally hangs around grazing animals eating the insects that they uncover sitting on an exhibit panel in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert with no cattle in sight.  Cattle Egrets are known to migrate through the area, but this one seemed to be migrating very slowly....  I got lunch at the Rustic Iron Barbecue trailer on the site where Kathy's Kosmic Kowgirl used to be (the food was okay), then headed to Rio Grande Village to check out the Daniels' Ranch site and the campground.  As has been the case for the last several years, a pair of Common Blcak Hawks have been nesting in the area.  When I visited the area in 2013, I tried to take a picture of the nest, but that was the moment my camera battery chose to expire, and I'd forgotten to charge the spare, so there were no pictures.  When I visited in 2015 with a freshly-charged battery, the birds were away from the nest, so there was no point in taking a picture.  Now I found the nest with a bird on it but had a less-capable camera for the picture.  I managed with the minimal zoom:


17427006 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

The nature trail next to the campground was suffering from the recent lack of rain.  The ponds were full of carrizo that was in varying stages of dying.  However, I did luck into seeing a Sora in one of the few openings along the path.  Knowing that they prefer not to be seen, I snapped a quick picture before it disappeared into the reeds.  Image stabilization on this camera isn't that good, but I've drawn a box around the Sora just below the center of this image:


17427010 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

I drove back to Study Butte for dinner at the Big Bend Resort's cafe and to prepare for the next two nights out.  As I passed the exhibit where I'd seen the Cattle Egret, I checked to see if it were still there.  It was, only now it was sitting underneath the display panel rather than on top of it (like lots of creatures on a day where the thermometer hit the high 90s, it was staying in the shade).

Friday, April 28
I spent the morning finishing the packing and laundering of my hiking clothes for the next two nights.  Driving by the exhibit panel where the Cattle Egret had been the day before, I saw nothing there now, so perhaps it had moved on.  I had lunch at the Chisos Mountains Lodge restaurant, my last substantial meal for two days, then assembled the 7 liters of water that I'd be hauling, and hit the trail.  At the Juniper Flats overlook, one can see one of the many agaves that were flowering:


17428001 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

The sky was partly cloudy, and the camera doesn't handle shady areas that well.  I tried taking a closeup picture of the agave and had to play around with the brightness and contrast so that one could see all of the insects on its flowers drinking its nectar:


17428002 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

In less than two hours and about 2 miles, I was at the Pinnacles 1 campsite.  As the name suggests, it's up against the prominent volcanic rock formations shaped by jointing and weathering to form large spires:


17428004 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

The campsite itself is cozy, sandwiched between boulders and surrounded by a fairly dense canopy of trees.  In this image, if you look carefully you can see all three types of junipers found in the Chisos:


17428006 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

For supper, I tried a new Mountain House delicacy, chicken and mashed potatoes, and it wasn't bad.  After supper, I walked a short distance farther down the spur off the Pinnacles Trail to the Pinnacles 3 campsite, which offers the most expansive view of the surroundings:


17428008 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

The Pinnacles 2 site was occupied by a couple with two small children, probably around 4 and 2 years old.  As they had the previous night, they said, they came over to Pinnacles 3 to watch the sunset and then see the bats appear as it got dark.  With the western horizon having cleared up, as the Sun set the pinnacles reflected brilliant color:


17428013 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

Emory Peak caught the final few rays of the Sun:...


17428014 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

... and then it was the clouds' turn:


17428015 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

We waited for another 15 minutes or so, but this night the bats didn't show.  I did as much stargazing as I could from the campsites and went to sleep.

*

Offline Jonathan Sadow

  • Coyote
  • *
  • 194
Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2017, 01:09:24 AM »
Saturday, April 29
Today, I'd be checking out Boot Canyon and going to the South Rim.  The canyon is the only place in the United States where Colima Warblers are found, so I wanted especially to keep an eye out for them.  As I was leaving, I saw the family that had been at Pinnacles 2 was leaving for the Basin.  The women was carrying the younger child on a carrier on her back with the older child tagging along with her.  The man appeared to be hauling the entire set of gear for the four of them, including all their sleeping bags, supplies, and six-person tent.  As I ascended the remainder of the Pinnacles Trail, I of course had to take photos of the view:


17429004 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

Good views of Burro Mesa and beyond were available through The Window:


17429005 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

The weather forecast called for a cool front to move through the area within the next twelve hours, and you can see in these images the demarcation line of the front.  As I got to Pinnacles Pass, I encountered a blooming Claret Cup Cactus, and I would see more as the day went on:


17429007 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

Beyond the pass, expansive views could be seen down Boot Canyon to Nugent Mountain and the Sierra del Carmen beyond:


17429008 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

Due to heavy demand from Big Bend Chat users, I stopped by Boot Spring to check out the flow.  The ranger who had issued my permit told me that the spring was dry and all water should be hauled into the Chisos, and she was right:


17429010 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

I wasn't finding any pools of water in the canyon, either.  I was keeping my eyes open for Colima Warblers, and while I heard a few singing, I couldn't see any.  Then near the intersection with the Juniper Canyon Trail a different song caught my ear, and I eventually traced it to this:


17429011 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

In case you can't tell what it is due to the camera's inferior zoom capabilities, it's a Painted Redstart.  This warbler typically nests in the Sierra Madre of Mexico and the sky islands of Arizona and New Mexico, but it sporadically appears in the Chisos as well.  I later found a second one in the same area, so maybe nesting is in the future.  As the trail climbed out of the canyon, I still could hear Colima Warblers but not see them.  Along the trail was a gentleman who mentioned to me there was a pool just around the corner where he spotted three deer drinking.  I thanked him for the information, but as we parted I could see three Whitetail Deer coming around the corner and climbing the canyon walls, so I missed my opportunity.  I turned the corner and came to the pool, the first one I'd seen in the canyon, and saw something dark in it.  It saw me as soon as I saw it and immediately ran up the opposite canyon wall about 20 feet.  It was a Black Bear:


17429013 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

The bear stood there and eyed me as I passed by, as wary of me as I was of it.  I think it was waiting for me to go away so it could resume drinking.  That didn't happen, though, as by this time the deer appeared to notice it.  One of them sounded an alarm snort that seemed to startle the bear, and it ran further up the canyon slope.  It was still there when I lost sight of it rounding the next bend of the trail.  Soon, I was at the South Rim, which meant it was lunch time.  An excellent example of the physics of differential gas pressures can be seen in the behavior of a bag of potato chips packaged near sea level when it's taken to an elevation of about 7,300 feet:


17429014 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

As always, the view off the South Rim was spectacular, even though the dust kicked up by the winds ahead of the approaching front obscured the view a bit:


17429016 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

After lunch and a bit of a nap, I started back down the Boot Canyon Trail.  As I left, I encountered a lady who related to me her own bear encounter earlier.  She had been planning on dayhiking from the Basin up the Laguna Meadows Trail, then over to the Boot Canyon Trail via the Colima Trail and back down to the Basin.  However, when she reached the Colima Trail, she and others there spotted a bear not too far up that trail, so to avoid it she had hiked all the way to the South Rim and now finally was turning onto the Boot Canyon Trail!  We proceeded down the Boot Canyon Trail, stopping to point out to each other creatures such as Whitetail Deer:...


17429017 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

... and a Texas Alligator Lizard:


17429018 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

As I made my way back to Pinnacles Pass, I took the opportunity to get two BIBE icons into one image:


17429019 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

I took a picture from nearly the same spot about 2 years earlier.  It's interesting to note the differences in the two images caused by the different sun angle due to the time of day and date:


14A15020 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

The front was now passing through in earnest, as can be seen from this image, and the wind had picked up considerably.  The Pinnacles campsites are below of center:


17429021 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

The descent to the campsite from Pinnacles Pass was the first time I felt soreness in the knee on the trip, but it was tolerable.  Because of its well-sheltered nature, even with the wind my campsite was unbothered, which was good because the temperature was about 20 degrees cooler than the previous night.  Pinnacles 3 was occupied this evening, so opportunities for stargazing were limited.  After supper (Jamaican jerk chicken and rice from AlpineAire), I read for a while and went to sleep.  I never did see any Colima Warblers (historically, I've only seen them about 50% of the time they're supposed to be there), but the Painted Redstarts and bear were good consolation prizes.  I also noted some Grace's Warblers near Pinnacles Pass, a bird that nests in the northern Rocky Mountains but migrates along the Cordilleran flyway through BIBE and sometimes stops for a rest in the Chisos.

Sunday, April 30
I broke camp and hiked down to the Basin and was there in a couple of hours.  The wind had died down during the night, and the front had cleared out the skies, as can be seen in this image of The Window where one can see Burro Mesa and the Bofecillos Mountains far beyond:


17430001 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

With the clear sky, the overlook at Juniper Flats provided a great panoramic view from Pulliam Peak to Pinnacles Pass:


17430004 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

The view off the South Rim must have been great that day.  Like the previous day, my knee developed soreness on the descent, but it wasn't too bad.  When I got back to the Basin, I went by the visitors' center to report my wildlife sightings to the ranger manning the information desk (unlike the last time I saw a bear on the trails, this time I didn't get a little certificate commemorating the event - bummer...).  While I was there, another guy came in to check in as a solo hiker, having just finished doing the OML.  It was then that I learned from the ranger that the only hikers who typically are tracked through the solo hiker program are the ones hiking outside the Chisos;  apparently, the NPS doesn't worry about them if they're just staying in the Chisos.  After grabbing  lunch at the Lodge restaurant, I still had some time before my room at the Lodge would be available, so I drove down to Cottonwood Campground to check out the birding.  There were Blacktail Jackrabbits there as well as birds:


17430005 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

The most interesting, if not the most unusual bird in the campground, was this Great Horned Owl roosting in a Cottonwood tree:


17430006 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

I returned to the Basin, checked into my room in the Lodge, and had dinner in the restaurant.  After dinner, it was time for sunset photos from the Window Trail:...


17430011 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

... the sunset through The Window:...


17430016 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

... and finally twilight from the restaurant patio:


17430017 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

As I left the patio, I saw something scurrying about in the dim light.  With a good idea of what it could be, I aimed the camera in the general direction of the object and took a picture.  Looking at the result, it confirmed what I thought I had seen - it was a Gray Fox:


17430018 by Jonathan Sadow, on Flickr

With the waxing Moon still up, stargazing wouldn't be productive, so I called it a night and worked on processing my photos before going to sleep in an actual bed.

Monday, May 1
It was departure day for me, but I noticed on the program schedule that there would be a ranger talk on the restaurant patio in the morning, so I figured I might as well attend.  It turned out to be more interesting than I expected.  The talk was about bears.  It was fairly informative, and I got to tell my bear encounter story to the ranger (who was the same one who had issued my permit on Thursday).  What might be most informative to the readership of BBC came near the end of the talk.  The ranger cannily brought the materials for her talk in her bear canister, a BearVault BV-500, talked about its use, and then mentioned that sooner or later the use of bear canisters would be required in BIBE.  Like other parks that require them, people who didn't have one would be able to rent one from the park, but they would be required.  I didn't specifically ask, but the impression I got was that they wouldn't be necessary for camping in sites with bear boxes but would be required elsewhere (e.g., zone camping and river trips);  the standard of having food items within arms' reach at all times would no longer be acceptable.  So eventually everyone doing the OML or the epic expeditions that some BBChatters do is going to have to take the extra two-pound hit and carry a bear canister.  No time frame was given for this implementation, but I'd keep an eye on what's in the next Supervisor's Compendium.

After the talk, I checked out of my room and began the journey home, stopping by the new Fossil Exhibit on the way out (much better than the old one).  In total, I saw and/or heard 60 species of birds in the park.  I was able to get through the trip without much trouble from my knee, and hopefully a few months more recovery will help even more.  I still need to investigate the desert areas of the park more, so sooner or later I'll be back.

*

Offline mule ears

  • Administrator
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 4378
  • "He had to leave Texas but won't say why" McMurtry
    • 40 years of walking
Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2017, 06:50:27 AM »
Thanks for the report Jonathan!  Sorry about the knee but it sounds like the surgery and rehab went well. 

The future requirement of having to carry a bear can does not totally surprise me now that we are 3 years down the road from when they first proposed it.  I still wonder if and when for lower desert trips but you never know.  It is one of the reasons my "newest" pack (2013) is bear can compatible but I have never actually had to carry it on a trip other than to set a cache.   :pissed:
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

*

Offline elhombre

  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1162
Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2017, 08:37:03 AM »
Nice trip for a half broke hiker and a cheap camera!

This bear container thing is just total crap.  Did you happen to ask what kind of data they are basing their decision on?  Any BIG Bend history?  Not Yosemite.   Starting to sound like all the chumps the NPS hired to be the naturalist all came from the same college of stupidness.  They all live in fear of that crafty bear.  Talk about it long enough like it is a problem, then everybody in the room starts shaking their head in agreement and say that it must be so because they have heard about it for so long.  Maybe it's time for the bears to go back to Mexico..... :violent-smiley-007: 

According to their logic, they should go out and scoop up all the pinion nuts every winter and put those in bear containers.  That's what is attracting bears and cause all the scary encounters with hikers.  Their fancy bear boxes weren't enough to protect us all this winter when they closed the Chisos to campers with all those boxes already there.   Or are we not suppose to remember that latest overreaction?

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 DesertRatShorty

  • Diamondback
  • *
  • 274
    • Who was Desert Rat Shorty?
Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2017, 12:08:56 PM »
The Pinnacles Trail doesn't sound like the easiest way to test out a rehabilitated knee, but I'm glad you had a good trip! Envious of the wildlife sightings as well.

I'm not too worried about the bear canister this issue, as I don't see how they could enforce this across the park as a whole.
I roamed and rambled, and I foller'ed my footsteps
   To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
   And all around me a voice was a'sounding
   This land was made for you and me

*

Offline House Made of Dawn

  • www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2YJduDyFA4
  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 3028
  • Backpacking since '78, Big Bend since '95.
Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2017, 12:30:00 PM »
Nice trip for a half broke hiker and a cheap camera!

I'll say! Well done, Jonathan. Excellent trip and excellent photos, considering all the obstacles you had to overcome. You refused to be denied! The Cattle Egret, the Painted Redstart, and the Common Blackhawks were all particularly nice. And the Sora!!!!! Great catch. I've seen a few, but never gotten a picture of one. Your photo, dicey as it may be, is unquestionably a Sora.  The bear and the fox round out a great set of photos. Your trip reports are always fascinating for all the natural history that you work into them: biology, geology, meteorology, astronomy, physics. Always a feast.

Pinnacles 1 is one of the nicest campsites in the Chisos. My family stayed there our first night during a several day backpacking trip through the Chisos during Thanksgiving 2015. We'd hoped for something higher up, but the crowds were thick and we took what we could get for our first night. My kids loved the shade, the huge rocks (good for climbing over and napping on) and the great views nearby (see pics below). Your story of the Dad packing for four reminds me of me during that trip. While my kids were old enough to pack their own clothes, sundries, bags and pads. I took everything else: tent, medical/repair/emergency kit, cookset, food, and, most painfully, six gallons of water. Hero Dad was packing 88 pounds. Which is probably also one of the contributing factors to Hero Dad's knee going out sixteen months later.

Which brings me to my last kudo: here's a toast to your recovering knee and the excellent physical conditioning that promoted it. You rocked the hike. Well done, Jonathan!  May you walk many more miles over many more years,
« Last Edit: May 07, 2017, 11:37:46 PM by House Made of Dawn »
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

*

Offline badknees

  • Actually, I was there once
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 4394
  • I think I know that place
    • Through the Mirror
Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2017, 01:00:37 PM »
Quote
However, I did luck into seeing a Sora in one of the few openings along the path.

That's a good find. They're hard to see in the open....for long.
Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
http://mirrormagic.com

*

Offline dprather

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2476
Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2017, 01:19:30 PM »
Thanks!

Usually bypassed by backpackers on their way to elsewhere, the Pinnacles campsites are really quite nice.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

*

Offline Jonathan Sadow

  • Coyote
  • *
  • 194
Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2017, 01:32:47 PM »
Nice trip for a half broke hiker and a cheap camera!

This bear container thing is just total crap.  Did you happen to ask what kind of data they are basing their decision on?  Any BIG Bend history?  Not Yosemite.   Starting to sound like all the chumps the NPS hired to be the naturalist all came from the same college of stupidness.  They all live in fear of that crafty bear.  Talk about it long enough like it is a problem, then everybody in the room starts shaking their head in agreement and say that it must be so because they have heard about it for so long.  Maybe it's time for the bears to go back to Mexico..... :violent-smiley-007: 

According to their logic, they should go out and scoop up all the pinion nuts every winter and put those in bear containers.  That's what is attracting bears and cause all the scary encounters with hikers.  Their fancy bear boxes weren't enough to protect us all this winter when they closed the Chisos to campers with all those boxes already there.   Or are we not suppose to remember that latest overreaction?



I didn't ask specifically, but the impression I got from the ranger's talk was that the Yosemite example was very much on the mind of the NPS when coming up with bear policy for BIBE.  The ranger's husband was a bear ranger in YOSE, so she shared some horror stories from his experience (the best/worst: he observed a bear come up to a woman eating lunch at a picnic table, swipe her sandwich out of her hands, and run off with it).  The NPS seems to be operating with a "ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" mentality about the issue and is willing to impose the most stringent conditions to prevent even the slightest possibility of bears interacting with humans.  One other consideration the ranger brought up is the size of the bear population in the park;  although the 40 bears estimated to be presently in the park is the highest number in decades, that's still a small overall population.  Bears that interact with humans despite non-lethal means of discouragement have to be killed, and while there are so many bears around YOSE that killing a couple of hundred over the years doesn't noticeably affect the population, even a few deaths would seriously affect the long-term viability of BIBE's population.


... Well done, Jonathan. Excellent trip and excellent photos, considering all the obstacles you had to overcome. You refused to be denied! The Cattle Egret, the Painted Redstart, and the Common Blackhawks were all particularly nice. And the Sora!!!!! Great catch. I've seen a few, but never gotten a picture of one. Your photo, dicey as it may be, is unquestionably a Sora.  The bear and the fox round out a great set of photos. Your trip reports are always fascinating for all the natural history that you work into them: biology, geology, meteorology, astronomy, physics. Always a feast.

We all go to wild spaces for a combination of reasons.  Some go for the scenery, some go for the isolation, some go for the chance to explore remote places - I suppose each figures in to a certain extent as to why we do this.  My primary interest is in what to use your now somewhat-neglected term is the natural history of an area, so I tend to make observations and write about them with that foremost in my mind.

Quote
Pinnacles 1 is one of the nicest campsites in the Chisos. My family stayed there our first night during a several day backpacking trip through the Chisos during Thanksgiving 2015. We'd hoped for something higher up, but the crowds were thick and we took what we could get for our first night. My kids loved the shade, the huge rocks (good for climbing over and napping on) and the great views nearby (see pics below). Your story of the Dad packing for four reminds me of me during that trip. While my kids were old enough to pack their own clothes, sundries, bags and pads. I took everything else: tent, medical/repair/emergency kit, cookset, food, and, most painfully, six gallons of water. Hero Dad was packing 88 pounds. Which is probably also one of the contributing factors to Hero Dad's knee going out sixteen months later.

I carry a pretty heavy pack, and even with the water I hauled your were hauling about twice the weight that I do!  The Hero Dad in this case was tall and looked to be in good shape and also substantially younger than you, so I think he was able to rock the 105L Osprey pack he was carrying okay.

Pinnacles 1 is indeed a nice little site - I'd put it up there with Colima 2 as the coziest and most private site that I've stayed at in the Chisos.

*

Offline House Made of Dawn

  • www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2YJduDyFA4
  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 3028
  • Backpacking since '78, Big Bend since '95.
Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2017, 02:02:17 PM »
and while there are so many bears around YOSE that killing a couple of hundred over the years doesn't noticeably affect the population, even a few deaths would seriously affect the long-term viability of BIBE's population.

So this is an example of one of those things you hear and then, thunderstruck, ask yourself (ashamedly) why you didn't think of it before. Thank you for everything, Jonathan, especially the epiphany.

My primary interest is in what to use your now somewhat-neglected term is the natural history of an area, so I tend to make observations and write about them with that foremost in my mind.

 :icon_lol: I am nothing if not now somewhat neglected. All I ask of my dotage is that I go into the great unknown standing up on my own two feet.  ;)
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 02:11:32 PM by House Made of Dawn »
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

*

Offline RichardM

  • Admin/Moderator
  • Global Moderator
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 7618
Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2017, 06:28:57 PM »
I'm not too worried about the bear canister this issue, as I don't see how they could enforce this across the park as a whole.
I'm wondering if they will require an inspection of your canister(s) before issuing permits.

*

Offline House Made of Dawn

  • www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2YJduDyFA4
  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 3028
  • Backpacking since '78, Big Bend since '95.
Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2017, 10:19:57 PM »
I'm not too worried about the bear canister this issue, as I don't see how they could enforce this across the park as a whole.
I'm wondering if they will require an inspection of your canister(s) before issuing permits.

I would think they'd at least want to see and approve your canister, or see your rental receipt. And I assume the penalty for being caught in the backcountry without one will be significant. Richard, that extra "s" as in canister(s) makes me shudder in anticipatory horror. I hope I never have to go there. Here's hoping we can persuade them to accept Ursacks as a reasonable alternative. I used an Ursack Major during my recent cross-park hike and, at 8.7 ounces, it held 10 days of carefully packed food and smellies and wasn't that much of a pain to use.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

*

Offline Quatro

  • Diamondback
  • *
  • 470
Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2017, 10:58:51 PM »
Here's hoping we can persuade them to accept Ursacks as a reasonable alternative.

This.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro - HST

*

Offline TheWildWestGuy

  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1342
Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2017, 11:06:31 PM »
It seems stupid to me to even think of requiring Bear Canisters on the OML or elsewhere where there are no bear boxes.  But I have one that I bought to do the CDT Loop in RMNP which was also completely unnecessary and useless but it gives me joy to have it prominently displayed in my garage shelf where all the neighborhood guys can see it.    Pretty rare sight around Houston to own a bear canister, gives me street cred.    If you want good wildlife or bird photos try going downhill from the gate marked "official vehicles only" in the no-generator zone of the Basin Campground.  This leads down to the old sewage treatment plant (now just a big overlook area) and then down the hill to the first water well drilled in the Basin a long time ago (which had to be abandoned due to depleting the aquifer too quickly).  Then go a little further down the road and you will come to the new sewage treatment plant which has a couple of nice settlement ponds full of cattails and reeds and lush grassy areas.   When I was there a week ago I noticed 2 game cameras set up to photograph macro fauna coming up from the direction of the window trail to get a drink.   Probably for bear.  TWWG

*

Offline badknees

  • Actually, I was there once
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 4394
  • I think I know that place
    • Through the Mirror
Re: Big Bend National Park trip, April 24 to May 1, 2017
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2017, 07:36:39 AM »
.....try going downhill from the gate marked "official vehicles only" in the no-generator zone of the Basin Campground.  This leads down to the old sewage treatment plant........Probab ly for bear.  TWWG

Good call TWWG...this pic came from there.

Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
http://mirrormagic.com

 


©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