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Fresno Creek to Auras Creek, Through the Solitario

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Offline Talusman

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Re: Fresno Creek to Auras Creek, Through the Solitario
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2019, 07:43:12 AM »
Bad Ass! That is the largest herd of Aoudad I have ever seen in both BB, BBRSP or GUMO!
"To Think is easy. To Act is difficult. To Act as one Thinks is the most difficult!"

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Offline congahead

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Re: Fresno Creek to Auras Creek, Through the Solitario
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2019, 07:52:44 AM »
Man, this is good. Thanks for taking the time to share both the words and the photos.

Reading TRs from you, HMod, ME and others makes me realize I really need to up my game.
"The animals here will generally try to avoid you, but the plants will hurt you every chance they get."

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Offline Ranger Tim

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Re: Fresno Creek to Auras Creek, Through the Solitario
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2019, 08:45:34 AM »
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.
"The greatest happiness possible to man ... is to become civilized, to know the pageant of the past, to love the beautiful,... and then, retaining animal instincts and appetites, to live in the wilderness"
- J. Frank Dobie

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Fresno Creek to Auras Creek, Through the Solitario
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2019, 09:06:09 AM »
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
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Fresno Creek to Auras Creek, Through the Solitario
« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2019, 09:10:57 AM »
You are definitely the Auodad Master!  I am really liking  the look of the lower shut up.  Can't wait for more.   :great:
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline DesertRatShorty

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Re: Fresno Creek to Auras Creek, Through the Solitario
« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2019, 11:34:49 AM »
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.

I guess my timing could not have been better. The stars somehow seemed to align for this trip. Literally, I had tandem morning stars with Venus and Jupiter in conjunction.
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

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Offline DesertRatShorty

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Re: Fresno Creek to Auras Creek, Through the Solitario
« Reply #21 on: February 06, 2019, 11:38:38 AM »
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

The first two days came off pretty flawlessly, but any semblance of grace and flair was definitely gone by day 5!

And yes, the scenery in the start park can definitely hold its own.
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

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Offline DesertRatShorty

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Re: Fresno Creek to Auras Creek, Through the Solitario
« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2019, 11:40:06 AM »
You are definitely the Auodad Master!  I am really liking  the look of the lower shut up.  Can't wait for more.   :great:

Must be my animal magnetism.
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

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Fresno Creek to Auras Creek, Through the Solitario
« Reply #23 on: February 06, 2019, 12:22:59 PM »
You are definitely the Auodad Master!  I am really liking  the look of the lower shut up.  Can't wait for more.   :great:

Must be my animal magnetism.

🤪


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"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline DesertRatShorty

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Re: Fresno Creek to Auras Creek, Through the Solitario
« Reply #24 on: February 06, 2019, 09:55:30 PM »
Day 3

Heading north from Burnt Camp, the Outer Loop Trail rises to its highest point, with great views of the Righthand Shutup and Bofecillos Mountains to the west (were I would be in three days)



as well as Solitario Peak.



The trail junctions in the park were all well signed.



The first stretch of the RHSU is an easy walk down an open wash.



But the walls quickly rise and the canyon begins to descend rapidly. Plenty of scrambling but a little easier than the Lower Shutup.











There were several full tinajas throughout the canyon, including one at the base of this narrow gate.



Further down is a large 20' pouroff where I lowered my pack on a rope, and was able to scramble down the groove on the right.



Toward the bottom the scrambling finally ends but the contorted rocks do not.



After exiting the shutup I walked a short ways north on the road and then headed up the wash leading to Seep Spring.



In retrospect I did not get all the way to the spring before I left the wash, so I can't say whether it was running. My first little navigational glitch. Anyway, I climbed up a hill and worked my way toward the west rim of Fresno Canyon, which rises 600 feet above Fresno Creek.  The going was slow as I weaved through the thorny plants and cross-cutting gullies hidden between the contour lines, but overall it was not too tough. Once at the rim, I found a nice little prominence with a great view up and down the canyon, and took an hour long break. This was a level, barren spot that would have made a killer campsite had the timing had worked out.

There were great views of Los Portales



Fresno Peak and the Flatirons,



and further down the canyon.



Around 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. :banghead:

On the bright side, I should mention that the park map scored another point around here. When planning my route, I hadn't noticed the Mexicano Falls trail, but when I realized it was there, I took it and it probably saved me some time. I continued along the trail until the sun dipped below the mountains to the west, about a half mile from Arroyo Mexicano, and found a small flat space to camp amid a field of hard rock moguls.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2019, 11:45:47 PM by DesertRatShorty »
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

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Fresno Creek to Auras Creek, Through the Solitario
« Reply #25 on: February 06, 2019, 10:44:21 PM »
Day 3

Around 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. :banghead:


Oh, man.....water anxiety! Nothing other than exposed bone and uncontrolled bleeding is a bigger buzzkill. I hope things turn around for you.  Meanwhile, killer photos of killer landscape, DRS!!!!!!
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Fresno Creek to Auras Creek, Through the Solitario
« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2019, 05:52:00 AM »
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.
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: Fresno Creek to Auras Creek, Through the Solitario
« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2019, 07:48:59 AM »
I'm continuing to enjoy your report and pictures. I've seen a few "bits and pieces" of the turf you're covering, but only what a day hike will get you. Thanks for taking the time to document the park so well.

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Offline badknees

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Re: Fresno Creek to Auras Creek, Through the Solitario
« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2019, 11:02:49 AM »
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.

As generally applicable to all filters, prefiltering and letting cloudy water settle extends life. Like you ME, I clean and bleach mine (Katadyn HikerPro) after each trip. It is quite a bit heavier (11 oz compared to 2) than the BeFree, but deals with cloudy water a lot better. The BeFree is recommended only for clear water.


I always carry tablets too.
Not all those who wander are lost.
– J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
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Offline DesertRatShorty

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Re: Fresno Creek to Auras Creek, Through the Solitario
« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2019, 12:17:23 AM »
Day 4

Sunrise on the mogul field where I camped.



Continuing down the trail I quickly came to Arroyo Mexicano, just below a major pouroff. I climbed up the pouroff to verify there was water in the tinaja, and got a glimpse of Old Man Mexicano watching over the canyon.



I stashed my pack and set off for a 1+ mile walk down Arroyo Mexicano to see if I could get to the falls. There was one pouroff that required some care but otherwise it was an easy walk.



There was clear water flowing for a short ways just above the falls. I was able to peer over the first drop



but I couldn't see the bottom of the falls.

Returning up the wash, almost back to my pack, the victory tree marks where the Mexicano Falls trail continues south to an overlook of the falls and beyond.



I collected my pack and scrambled up the big pouroff.



This was probably the sketchiest move I made all week. I had my pack on my shoulders as I precariously tiptoed across the north side (left side in the photo). I knew it was a poor decision when loved ones started streaming through my mind halfway across. A better choice would have been to climb packless on the left and pull the pack up on the right.

Around the next corner there was a great spring with two big pools and a nice flow between them.



Around the corner after that, the walls of the canyon become massive and multicolored, this was probably the number 2 or 3 highlight of the trip. The sun and shadows weren't cooperating with my camera but this should give you the gist.



The next couple of miles were not much harder on the eyes.





Finally I came to Ojo Mexicano where there was a small clear flow in the middle of the wash. The water was not where the spring is marked on the map, but if you are coming up Arroyo Mexicano you can't miss it. Reloading on water, this time I prefiltered and every time I emptied my BeFree I left a little for swishing and cleaning the filter. The flow improved to where I could filter a liter in 10 minutes, which was far from ideal but at least gave me hope I could finish my trip.

After a long break I continued west. There is a confluence of several washes here but all you do is stick with the largest branch all the way to the road. Along this stretch, the park's map came in handy yet again in an odd way. The terrain here is pretty featureless, and looking at my caltopo maps with 40' contour intervals, I couldn't really tell where I was. But looking at the park's map, with its 80' intervals, only the most prominent landmarks were shown, and it was obvious were I was. Sometimes less is more I guess.



Once at the road I headed north for a quarter mile to catch another east-west wash, but before I got there I passed an Outward Bound group. This was the only group of (legal) park visitors I would encounter the entire trip. I told the group leader, an Aussie, where I was headed and he told me I could find water at Alamito Dam, Oso Spring, and Fowlkes Stone Dam. I found him to be convincing so I decided I could skip Ranchieras Spring tomorrow and maybe save some time. And I would definitely be able to save weight with confirmed water at Oso.

I continued west in the wash which I had scoped from Google Earth. It had looked passable and for the most part it was. There were maybe three times where the wash became choked but in each case there was an easy bypass on the left. Eventually the terrain flattened out and I continued west past a large, dry earthen tank, to a saddle marking the Fresno watershed boundary. This slight rise gave me my last look back on the Solitario.



I continued down the other side of the saddle to another wash that I had scoped out on satellite imagery, and it was even clearer. After 3 days of walking uphill in gravel washes, it was a small relief to be going downhill. Now my feet only slipped back an inch with every step instead of two. After walking south a ways, here is the view back north:



The wash rounded to the west and the canyon finally opened up and yielded a campsite as the sun set on Panther Mountain.


« Last Edit: February 08, 2019, 08:11:49 AM by DesertRatShorty »
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

 


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