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Doing It.

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Offline Homer67

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Doing It.
« on: November 27, 2011, 04:02:14 PM »
Arrival/Dodson Part One

My wife and I recently hiked a variation of the Outer Mountain Loop.  It was our desire to encounter as few others as possible, so we opted to skip the descent into the Basin and hike a loop consisting of the Dodson trail, Blue Creek Trail, Laguna Meadow to the South Rim, the SE Rim trail, Boot Canyon and Juniper Canyon back to our vehicle at the Dodson/Juniper Canyon trailhead. While most can hike this circuit in 3-4 days, we chose to take our time, providing time for some exploration and personal solitude in this part of The Garden.

We arrived in the park about mid-day, around 12:30.  There wasn't much of the day left after we dropped our cache below the Homer Wilson Overlook and drove in Juniper Canyon road.  (This photo looks into Juniper Canyon)

Dodson Trlhead Pano (Medium) by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

When we did finally depart we didn't get too far, perhaps two miles into the Dodson before we threw our tent. The Dodson opens with fairly flat desert, having to cross a couple of arroyos through some very scenic Sotol grassland.  I love the bunch grasses:

S Rim from Dodson near trl entry by SuperHomer67, on Flickr


Juniper Canyon from Dodson by SuperHomer67, on Flickr


S Rim and Juniper Canyon from Dodson (Medium) by SuperHomer67, on Flickr
 
My pack felt very heavy, and I wondered, can I make this haul?  The views of the SE/NE Rim and the beauty of the desert kept me wondering what we would see next, and my girl, Sandi, was smiling and upbeat.  She led on the trails, her youth against my heavy pack.

Sandi Dodson Lookout (Medium) by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

I was sure glad to get a break and drop the pack, only about a mile into the hike. The transition from all things artificial came in a much more subtle fashion on this trip; I had pretty much left all behind when we started the car for the drive in that morning.  I did think of the times we had considered getting some exercise before coming out on this trip. Now I wished we had done that! Trying to catch my breath, I took this video:


The sun was fading on that short first day and we soon found what would have seemed to be a comfortable spot (wasn't).  Before we threw the tent for the day we did encounter this interesting growth along the trail.  Any idea what this weird brown thing is?

What is this? by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

My girl made a good dinner and we had granola for breakfast the next morning. We broke camp a little late that day, stiff from the initial haul in.  The trail was gorgeous!

Dodson Day 2 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr


NE SE Rim from Dodson (Medium) by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

It was a bit of a victory to see Elephant Tusk from the Dodson trail; I knew we were getting deep into it!

ET from the Dodson Trl by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

Once again, I wondered if I could haul it all the way through, my legs in full burn. Fortunately, my girl saw fit to give me a break on the trail, so I got this video of Elephant Tusk from the Dodson trail (the mileage I give in the video is NOT correct, forgive me!):


We reached the Dodson Spring drainage and decided to take a break.  We napped under a bush which provided some shade.  It was a nice, cool midday, and the gravel in the wash felt so comfortable!

Dodson Creek Nap site (Medium) by SuperHomer67, on Flickr



We had planned on a 20-minute break, but it was over an hour.  I felt much better after a short slumber.  My pack felt good and I felt Like I could hike all day.  My girl had been smiling the whole time, leading the way on the trail:

Sandi Outlook After Dodson Creek (Medium) by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

Looks like a hungry bear has been here!

Dodson Day 2 Sotol by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

Here is a video of Fresno Spring; I erroneously say that this is along the Elephant Tusk trail, it isn't; it is along the Dodson trail, forgive me!


It was quite a climb out of Fresno Creek!  We had taken some time to rest on this day, napping in a wash and exploring a neat slickrock formation on the way to Fresno.  Now the day was waning once again, but we needed to get the hike up Fresno done, and we did!  We hiked up and up, taking short breaks to catch our breath.  I was in the zone; it finally felt good! Here is a pano taken during that climb:

ET Dodson Pano (Medium) by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

By this time daylight was fading and we found a suitable site off the trail. There are many sites along the Dodson where people have undoubtedly camped many times over, their reasons obvious when one reaches where they had hiked in before. We sat at our spot resting before throwing the tent.  Someone was shining a light down from the SE Rim.  We were elated when they responded to our headlamps which we waived back up to them!  We must have been a spot of light in the now dimly-lit Sierra Quemada.

Sunset at Camp Above Fresno by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

We made camp and were soon in our tent. Sandi made some dehydrated something, chocolate pudding and Chicken soup with Bokchoy and carrots in a nice chicken broth!  The soup was sure good!  Our previous 4 trips since April 2010 had presented a series of learning experiences, and Sandi had learned well how to feed us, always providing something fresh to put back what we had lost in the preceeding day-long hikes. I give my girl mass props:

Sandi making Bokchoy and chicken soup by SuperHomer67, on Flickr



We settled down for the night.  I knew the next day would be tough; we had to make it to the Homer Wilson Ranch and we still had half of the Dodson to get done!

Good night, Dodson Day 2 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr


Good night 2 Dodson trail by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

To be continued...





















« Last Edit: May 17, 2014, 11:11:14 AM by Homer67 »
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?

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Offline catz

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Re: Doing It.
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2011, 05:15:43 PM »
You rock!!!
Wake me when it's time to go.

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Offline jim2

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Re: Doing It.
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2011, 05:21:58 PM »
great so far ! ready for more whenever you.

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Offline Flash

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Re: Doing It.
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2011, 06:44:29 PM »
Great stuff, Homer!  :great:

Question from the first second video: Panning leftward from Elephant Tusk, there is an interesting mountain with a dike across it. Anyone know its name?  :eusa_think:

Thanks,
Flash

Update: Answered my own question using both Google Earth and ACME Mapper. That is in fact the 4845 mountain on the topo. The dike is visible in GE for at least 3/4 of a mile and cuts across Fresno Canyon about 1000' downstream of the Dodson Trail crossing.  :celebrate:
« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 09:00:15 PM by Flash »

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Offline Quatro

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Re: Doing It.
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2011, 08:32:24 PM »
In addition to a nice read, good choice of music from the tent.  Now that you've taken Manhattan, looking forward to hearing about Berlin.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro - HST

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Offline SA Bill

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Re: Doing It.
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2011, 08:54:51 PM »
Well done to both of you!!  :eusa_clap:
  Keep it coming!
    Bill
Bill - In San Antonio

Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.

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Offline Al

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Re: Doing It.
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2011, 09:49:57 PM »
You guys know how to do it right!  Very impressive!

Al

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Offline dkerr24

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Re: Doing It.
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2011, 10:34:03 PM »
Great trip report so far....   Brings back memories of doing the OML myself. 

You guys definitely have me trumped on cooking prep!  Looking forward to reading more.

Darin

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Offline iCe

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Re: Doing It.
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2011, 08:24:31 AM »
Awesome trip report. I can't wait for the rest!

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Offline walkingman06

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Re: Doing It.
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2011, 08:55:00 AM »
Oh, man...this is drawing me back.  Great report!
Moving in silent desperation
Keeping an eye on the holy land
A hypothetical destination
Say, who is this walking man?
James Taylor
Posted from Tulsa, OK

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Offline Homer67

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Re: Doing It.
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2011, 02:12:06 PM »
Dodson Part Two/Blue Creek

We were up early the next morning.  Today would be a big haul if we were to make it to the Homer Wilson Ranch and our cache nearby.  I was a bit stiff, but not as bad as the morning before.  The sun was shining and everything felt perfect!

Next morn Dodson Day 3 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

We had a nice descent for a short bit, then we were engaged in a pretty good climb.  Once over the top the trail descended into a wash.  This is a good sized wash along the trail and we wondered if we hadn't made a wrong move and were now heading down the Smoky Creek trail. I backtracked a bit, but could find no sign that we had gone astray. Hiking mentions being careful about this. It was nice to get some easy hiking through the gravel and slight descent of the wash. My girl was feeling good; I could tell, she was leaving me behind!

I was happy when we reached this sign:

Dodson/Smoky Creek sign by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

We had a small descent, then the corral along the Dodson came into view.  We took a half-hour rest and looked at the climb coming up...Could this be the Top of Smoky Creek?  If it was, then a great panorama would open up for us at the top of the next climb!

We were NOT disappointed!  We had climbed out of Smoky Creek to find one of the best views we had encountered so far!

W View top Smoky Creek 1 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr



Looking back, this is what we came through:

E View Top Smoky Creek 2 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr



Here are some more photos:

W Top Smoky Creek 4 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr


Mule Ears from Top Smoky Creek by SuperHomer67, on Flickr


Sandi W Top Smoky Creek 6 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr


Descent W Top Smoky Creek 8 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

I had a feeling that we were home free.  Just when one thinks the end is near, the struggle keeps on coming!  It was a bit of a haul to finish off the Dodson!




Descent Dodson 9 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

Looking back up the trail to the Top of Smoky Creek:

Looking back up Smoky Creek from Dodson by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

We hiked and hiked, the descent making my already-tender feet ache.  Eventually we reached a wash south of Carousel Mountain.  The gravel felt good on my feet. The wash eventually gave way to some undulations and my bunchgrasses were back again! I was beat, and my girl was making some space between us!

Sandi Bunchgrass S of Carousel Mtn near HWR by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

We finally reached the Homer Wilson Ranch house, my girl quite a bit ahead of me issuing calls of "You can do it, Old Man!" as I dragged in.  We sat on the porch and rested for a few minutes then hiked over to the cache box to get some of our supplies.  Sandi made tuna salad and we dined on the ranch house porch. Worn from the Dodson, we ventured out and found a spot in C05; we threw our sleep setup on the ground and used the tent tarp as a cover, our backpacks holding down the sides and two gallon jugs holding down the end by our feet.


We were up early the next morning.  We wanted to get up and break camp before anyone would reach the overlook in case we were in sight. This worked out well as we retrieved the rest of our cache and made our packs, ready to get on the trail early.  We did encounter two young men at the Homer Wilson early that morning as we readied for the hike.  They were very nice, each wearing a Texas Tech shirt; being a Longhorn, I remarked on their team's victory over Oklahoma.


HWR into BC 10 Morning after Bivy in C05 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr


HWR Making Packs 11 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

Soon we were off.  Clouds came and went, threatening rain at times.  We had hiked Blue Creek in April and were eager to check out some things we had seen last time.  Red Rocks is very scenic!

Trail into Red Rocks Canyon along Blue Creek Trail by SuperHomer67, on Flickr




Nice Red Rocks! by SuperHomer67, on Flickr


Sandi hiking through Red Rocks by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

It is odd at how fast a familiar trail will pass by!  Soon we were past Red Rocks and into the forest/woodland ecotone above the Sotol Grassland, beyond the two-mile wash that begins the Blue Creek trail.  This is a very nice and serene area, with red dirt and lots of shade!

There are a few nice caves in this area; we shall check these out on our next trip to Big Bend:

Cave in woodlands along BC by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

Here are a few more photos of this area:

Woodland view along BC Trail by SuperHomer67, on Flickr


Very nice Woodland View along BC Trail by SuperHomer67, on Flickr


View of Emory and the W RIm from BC Woodland by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

Soon we were on the final climb out of Blue Creek; it was about 2 pm when we encountered two nice gentlemen coming down the trail.  One seemed a bit older than the other.  They were very nice and congratulated us on our climb out of Blue Creek. This was in stark contrast to a woman we had the misfortune to meet while preparing our packs at the Homer Wilson Overlook last April. She had arrived in an old Chevy Caprice Classic, white, with "Terlingua School" or something close to that stenciled on the doors.  She was with 4 students. She inquired what we were doing and I told her of our short circuit we were going to do in the Chisos. "I don't think that you are, " is what I recall hearing. Well, we did, and now we were back for more!

The climb out of Blue Creek presents many beautiful views to the SW:

Looking back down BC on the Hike Up by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

Here is a view just as we were beginning that final heinous hike out of Blue Creek:

BC Climb Start by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

The view improves as one goes up!

More of the BC Climb by SuperHomer67, on Flickr


View Keeps Getting Better Up BC Climb! by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

This climb is a tough one!  On a break, I shot this video:



BC Climb 13 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

It was nice to see this little guy again...this tree is a bit taller than when we saw it last!

Small Pine on way to BL1 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr

Soon we made it to our designated camp spot.  The clouds were now moving in and some intermittent drizzle came and went.  We were beat and relaxing over an early dinner sounded good to us. Sandi made some Mahatma broccoli and rice, which she added chicken and more cheese to, as well as some chocolate pudding.  Mmmm, it was sure good!  Soon it was lights out.

To be continued...
















« Last Edit: November 29, 2011, 02:33:37 PM by Homer67 »
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?

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Offline dprather

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Re: Doing It.
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2011, 02:43:20 PM »
Thanks, Homer, for getting me primed for my trip next week!  These are some great pictures.  They cause me to recall similar scenes I have seen on the trail.  Great job - you and your girl!
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline Homer67

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Re: Doing It.
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2011, 01:48:14 PM »
Thank you for the kind responses!  I will have the final part of the report up tomorrow or the next day...I have the panos done, but it takes a while to upload the videos!

Here is a preview of some photos to come!

South Rim Sunset Nov 2011 by SuperHomer67, on Flickr
« Last Edit: December 01, 2011, 01:53:31 PM by Homer67 »
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?

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Offline jim2

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Re: Doing It.
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2011, 06:30:21 PM »
the sunset is very pretty. great trip report, your photos have got me rethinking my upcoming trip. thought i had it all planned. 

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Offline Juan Cuatro Lados

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Re: Doing It.
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2011, 07:46:51 AM »
Very good report, always nice to see a place through fresh,
enthusiastic eyes, well done.

 


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