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Flash July 22-28, 2018 Trip

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Offline Flash

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Flash July 22-28, 2018 Trip
« on: August 02, 2018, 10:46:53 PM »
Flash July 22-28, 2018 Trip



This year, my wife and I left our two college aged kids to hold down the fort, since they both have summer jobs, and so we headed for Big Bend National Park for a week of camping, hiking, and relaxing. What follows is a brief description of our activities. Later, I plan to post photos as time permits.


Sunday - Left Houston and drove to Marathon with stops at Columbus rest area, Hondo for Heavy's BBQ and HEB gas, Lake Amistad Exxon, Sanderson for Alon gas. Bought a chef salad and a sandwich from French Grocers and dined in our room at the Marathon Motel. Strolled around the Gage Gardens later in the evening, then got ice cream from French's.


Monday - Drove to the Alon station for breakfast, but alas it was closed. Made a pit stop at Persimmon Gap, but otherwise drove straight to the Basin Campground and settled on Site 17 from a wide array of choices in the sparsely-filled campground. Set up tent, cots, chairs, and hammocks. Ate a picnic brunch, then relaxed in hammocks the rest of the morning on into the early afternoon. Due to the rising heat, we escaped camp and went on a drive down Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to Castolon after a stop at Sotol Vista for the view. Dinner later on was at the Chili Pepper in Study Butte, returning to camp by early evening. Drove up to the Basin and walked the Window View path.


Tuesday - Arrived at Sam Nail Ranch mid-morning after breakfast and hike prep. Walked down to Cottonwood Creek and headed to the right and north, which is downstream. Found water in various pools and pockets near the Unnamed Spring. Saw bear scat and tracks. Searched for the all elusive Rock Hut. Coordinates were located in a gravel bar between the low and high stream channels. Tried to walk a 150+' circle about it, but the creek banks and the cat claw hampered efforts. We did find one chiquitero however on top of one of the banks. Coordinates for Cottonwood Spring were way off from the channel by 200+' and in thick brush. Hiked 4.1 miles over 3.6 hours. Later, drove to the old road near the Sphinx I visited back in April, showed my wife the alleged "tossing games" and we had a laugh over the whole story. Returned to camp and rested 2-3 hours in hammocks. Later, to escape heat, we drove around the Basin and down Green Gulch, then ended up at the Lodge for dinner. Once shade fell upon the campground about 8pm, we returned to camp to relax. Monday and Tuesday were the hottest days by the way.


Wednesday - Left the Basin Parking Lot for the South Rim via Laguna at 9:30am. Reached Laguna Pass at 11:30. Spotted some very nice bear tracks in the dried mud from the previous rains. Arrived at Southwest Rim near SW4 at 1:45pm.  Had lunch on the South Rim a bit past the Boot Canyon Trail Junction and finished up by 3pm. Admired the rain falling near  Chilicotal Mountain and also around Dominguez and the Punta de Sierra. Reached Boot Cabin at 4pm. Lots of pools of water down the canyon length, but no stream flow. Light rain hit us at 4:05pm, so we got under the tin roof in the corral, but it quickly ended by 4:15pm. Collected 1-liter of sweet tasting water in 2-1/2 to 3 minutes from Boot Pipe. Reached Pinnacles Pass at 5 pm. Later, down the trail we had a brief glimpse of a black bear. This was somewhere between Juniper Flat and the water tank, probably just below the bench near JF1 and JF2. Finally, at 7pm, we cooled off back at the truck in the Basin. In all we hiked 12.5 miles over a 9-1/2 hour period. Hungry, we headed over to dinner right away at the Lodge. Cleaned up back at camp and then hit the cots by 9-10pm.


Thursday - Aired up a flat tire for a nearby camper at 8am. Basically lazed around the rest of the morning recovering. At 11:20am, we set out from the trailhead to hike the Windows Pouroff Trail and the upper part of the Oak Spring Trail. Park personnel at TH seemed a bit jumpy about heat incidents from the previous day, but I didn't catch the details. About a mile or so down the trail, I heard noises and then spotted a black bear and cub about 50' off the trail in the trees to the south. Rested at the Pouroff for a while and then headed up Oak Spring Trail. Ended up deciding to turn back from Oak Creek Trail at end of the very farthest reach around the base of Vernon Bailey, where the first switchback begins, due to heat, foot, and energy issues, which ended up being a good call. Long hike back out, but turned out okay with help of intermittent cloud cover. Reached the trailhead at 3:10pm. Hiked 5.7 miles over a four hour period. Left for the Store to get ice, then drove to Study Butte for showers and dinner at the Rio Bravo. Returned to Site 17 by 8:30pm and were off to bed by 10pm or so.


Friday - Pulled into the Port of Entry for Boquillas del Carmen at 10:42am. Crossed over in rowboat ($10). Opted to walk into town, which was very hot, hugging the shade along the way. Permits ($4) at the trailer. Cerveza at the Park Bar ($2). Lunch at the newer Boquillas Restaurant of cabrito tacos for me and chicken enchiladas for my wife ($20). Walked about town. Elderly lady with a story ($5). Two bottles of Topo Chico at Falcon's ($5). The help of Esteban Onate and a ride in his truck to see his box of rock samples and then back to the waterfront ($20) (I know, I probably over tipped). By the way, my wife is fluent in Spanish and did most the talking. The locals would quickly ask her what part of Mexico she was from because of the Saltillo accent she inherited from her mother. Checked in with ICE in El Paso at 2:07pm.  Returned to camp and had a couple hours of hammock time, nap, and clean up. Once again, fled the heat and drove around before dinner, which ended up being the Lodge. Returned to camp by 8:10pm after a drive to the cell phone lot to check on things at home. Hit the sack between 9-10pm. Later, watched the full moon and Mars rise from behind Casa Grande.


Saturday - Struck camp and drove to Houston with stops at PJ for coffee, Fort Stockton for lunch at Bienvenides and gas from Love's, Boerne for gas, and a rest area near Seguin perhaps.


Pictures to follow, but here is one for now...




To be continued...

« Last Edit: August 15, 2018, 09:49:38 PM by Flash »

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Offline Jalco

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Re: Flash July 22-28, 2018 Trip
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2018, 10:58:32 PM »
Nice shot

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Offline Imre

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Re: Flash July 22-28, 2018 Trip
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2018, 12:06:25 AM »
Thank you for sharing!  :great: While searching for the elusive rock hut, did you see whether the trail camera and/or animal trap are still there?
For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong.
- H.L. Mencken

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Flash July 22-28, 2018 Trip
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2018, 06:06:09 AM »
Sounds like a perfectly leisurely time.  I am surprised the campground was getting so hot that you had to drive around to cool off but it is exposed in the afternoon to the west sun.  Looking forward to more pictures.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2018, 07:53:38 AM by mule ears »
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline alan in shreveport

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Re: Flash July 22-28, 2018 Trip
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2018, 07:03:46 AM »
Flash
  Mix in a few more beers and it sounds like my kind of trip ! 
  Was there much bird activity at Gage Gardens ?  Just curious because that place is such an oasis and was very active during migration. Talking with Lance awhile back about the Rock Hut (I'd seen it on his GE program and unsuccessfully searched for it) and he was unsure (doubtful ?) that it was still standing .How did your wife like seeing the bears ? Sounds like you were pretty lucky on that front- seeing several.
   I know some people on BBC like going in July and August but I've been there in July , and your report confirms, its too hot for me. May worked for me and it was borderline - it was 104 in the desert on that trip - but totally nice in the mountains.

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Offline presidio

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Re: Flash July 22-28, 2018 Trip
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2018, 08:53:29 AM »
Friday - Permits ($4) at the trailer.

Permits? $4?
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<  presidio  >
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline Flash

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Re: Flash July 22-28, 2018 Trip
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2018, 10:11:48 AM »
Friday - Permits ($4) at the trailer.

Permits? $4?

In the opposite end of the trailer where you register with border/immigration agent, there is another desk where you pay $2/person for a paper bracelet that serves as your pass for the Protected Area.

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Offline iCe

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Re: Flash July 22-28, 2018 Trip
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2018, 11:50:14 AM »
What is the "protected area"?

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Offline Flash

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Re: Flash July 22-28, 2018 Trip
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2018, 06:49:04 PM »

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Offline Flash

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Re: Flash July 22-28, 2018 Trip
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2018, 08:10:15 PM »
Thank you for sharing!  :great: While searching for the elusive rock hut, did you see whether the trail camera and/or animal trap are still there?


Hi Imre,

You mean this thing? Still securely locked to the tree.



By all signs during our Cottonwood Creek hike, the July 15th rains might have caused a big enough gully washer to knock down several young cottonwood and other kinds of trees.



- Flash

« Last Edit: August 03, 2018, 09:00:58 PM by Flash »

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Offline Flash

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Re: Flash July 22-28, 2018 Trip
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2018, 08:26:11 PM »
Sounds like a perfectly leisurely time.  I am surprised the campground was getting so hot that you had to drive around to cool off but it is exposed in the afternoon to the west sun.  Looking forward to more pictures.

Hey ME,

Site 17 being higher up seemed to catch the breezes pretty well. Even during the heat wave of Sunday-Tuesday that affected much of Texas, it was tolerable if not pleasant in the shade under the remada until about 11am - 1pm. The harshest sun was at roughly 4-7pm. We could count on the the shade falling on the campground at 8pm. Then it was nice to return and hang out, not getting dark till past about 9:30pm. 

- Flash

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Offline Imre

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Re: Flash July 22-28, 2018 Trip
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2018, 08:37:21 PM »
Exactly. Last time I saw that trail camera the tree was still upright. And there was a large metal animal trap -- large enough for a javelina for sure and perhaps a mountain lion in a side drainage nearby. I think Alan posted a picture in one of his trip reports.
For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong.
- H.L. Mencken

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Offline Flash

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Re: Flash July 22-28, 2018 Trip
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2018, 09:05:49 PM »
Flash
  Mix in a few more beers and it sounds like my kind of trip ! 
  Was there much bird activity at Gage Gardens ?  Just curious because that place is such an oasis and was very active during migration. Talking with Lance awhile back about the Rock Hut (I'd seen it on his GE program and unsuccessfully searched for it) and he was unsure (doubtful ?) that it was still standing .How did your wife like seeing the bears ? Sounds like you were pretty lucky on that front- seeing several.
   I know some people on BBC like going in July and August but I've been there in July , and your report confirms, its too hot for me. May worked for me and it was borderline - it was 104 in the desert on that trip - but totally nice in the mountains.

Hey Alan,

Aye! Beers were in the mix indeed: St. Arnold's Elissa from Houston and La Frontera IPA from the Basin Store were definitely enjoyed.

The Gage Gardens were very pleasant in the late evening and there were a lot of birds about and also back at the motel. 

It was exciting to see the bears. My wife has seen them before on a couple of other trips. We had the two sightings this trip where we spotted three total, but from other folks we learned there were in fact four on all, mom/cub pairs in both cases.

Second half of the week had more normal summer temperatures and was more pleasant. That first half was challenging for part of each day, but we managed to find things to do to deal with it. It was a real cooker down by the River when we went to Boquillas. AC in the truck sure helps.

- Flash


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Offline Flash

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Re: Flash July 22-28, 2018 Trip
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2018, 09:49:22 PM »

Sunday July 22nd - Marathon


Marathom Motel in the evening



Lots of flowers in bloom



Ocotillo leafed out



Blooming Purple Sage



Mesa to the southwest



Slow train coming



Purple petals pile



Relaxing on the porch



Porch view



More to come...


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Offline Hookim

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Re: Flash July 22-28, 2018 Trip
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2018, 12:28:08 AM »
What is the mysterious cell phone lot of which you speak? I learn so much from this forum!

Sent from my SM-N950U using Big Bend Chat mobile app


 


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