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Your timing on the Solitario Loop was great considering that a large crew from the Big Bend Trails Alliance had worked it only the week previous. It is still pretty rough, and the Outer trail is definitely the more difficult of the two but it rewards the hiker with some pretty magnificent views. Combined, the Solitario Loop is about 10 miles and works out as a pretty demanding but tenable day hike OR as a nice over-nighter. It is accessible from Righthand Shutup/ Burnt Camp TH or the Lower Shutup TH, though the later does require 4WD to access it.
Shorty (not, , but I knew that), this is a phenomenal trip. I knew you’d execute whatever itinerary you eventually chose with grace and flair. I have to wonder if, in the end, the shutdown might not have been a blessing for you. Looks like you wound up exploring some jaw-dropping scenery that might actually top what you would’ve experienced in the national park. Kudos on the Lower ShutUp passage; you certainly earned that one! I’m anxiously awaiting the next installment. p.s., outstanding photos, as always!Sent from my iPhone using Big Bend Chat
You are definitely the Auodad Master! I am really liking the look of the lower shut up. Can't wait for more.
Quote from: mule ears on February 06, 2019, 09:10:57 AMYou are definitely the Auodad Master! I am really liking the look of the lower shut up. Can't wait for more. Must be my animal magnetism.
Day 3Around mid afternoon I continued west until I connected with the Puerta Chilicote trail and followed it to Ojo Chilicote (aka Smith House Spring), which is visible from a mile away with its tall cottonwoods.I stopped to purify some water using my BeFree filter, when frustration set in. This was my second trip with the BeFree, the first being in the Rockies with clear flowing streams. My first two water stops this trip (Sleeper Cabin, Lower Shutup pouroff) had also been quite clear. This spring was another story, and almost immediately my filter slowed to an agonizing trickle. It took me seemingly forever to filter three liters (in reality it was probably 30-40 minutes), and the rate of flow continued to slow down. I was seriously wondering if I'd be able to finish my trip, and was kicking myself for not bringing my Aqua Mira drops as backup. I left them behind at the last minute thinking "nah, I'll be fine." Later that evening, I realized I had failed to prefilter the water. Mental mistake number 2.
Continued great report and pictures!While I am a fan of the BeFree filter I have always carried back up tablets. Last trip after filtering from Dike Tinaja mine slowed quite a but I was able to clean it enough to use it the rest of the trip a little. I have had pretty good results in the field when it slows by shake cleaning it in some clean hot water (while heating water for dinner). At home I will give it a 15 minute dilute vinegar soak and then a bleach rinse and then keep it stored with a dilute bleach solution. This always returns it to good flow. Some folks think the biofilms from bacteria and such are the real culprit and dissolved solids less so.
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