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!


Joel's Canyon / Mesa de Anguila

  • 48 Replies
  • 8341 Views
*

Offline Lance

  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 867
Joel's Canyon / Mesa de Anguila
« on: May 20, 2017, 05:17:12 PM »
This past January, Homer Wilson, elhombre and a large group of Austin firefighters led by John (BBC member ghysdulkc) headed down to Big Bend for a canyoneering/hike on Mesa de Anguila.  The primary objective was to rappel Joel's Canyon on the southeastern side of La Mariposa. Joel's Canyon is in the same drainage as Tinaja Blanca to the north.  After the rappel, the group would split up with some heading home and the rest of us continuing out to 'Smuggler's Cave Overlook' and 'The Point' overlooking Santa Elena Canyon.

Our hike beyond Joel's Canyon largely depended on our ability to find water in the few tinajas we had marked on the map. We felt the biggest opportunity for water would be Tinaja de la Verga about halfway to 'The Point'. We agreed if no water was there, we would head north intersecting the MDA trail and back to Tinaja Blanca. All in all, it was another fantastic trip in the Park.

Below is a map of our route and one on CalTopo. Also attached our GPS route and here's a link to download a printable PDF map of the Mesa.



Day 1


Our group at the MDA trailhead..


The top of the saddle..




Taking a break in the wash..


We decided to explore a side canyon to the south overlooking the False Sentinel.




el hombre checking out some cool cave features in the canyon..




Panoramic of the False Sentinel and the Rio Grande. La Mariposa back, left-center.




The False Sentinel..


After exploring the canyon, we headed to our camp at Tinaja Blanca. We were treated to a colorful sunset over La Mariposa.

To be continued..
« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 05:20:08 PM by Lance »

*

Offline Lance

  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 867
Re: Joel's Canyon / Mesa de Anguila
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2017, 06:13:37 PM »
Day 2

We got an early start the next day and got our gear organized. Since my group was heading out further on the Mesa, we planned to rappel with our full packs. This turned out to be a major pain in the butt. I learned quickly that rappelling with a backpack on was an uncomfortable and potentially unsafe experience. We made the adjustment on the following rappels by hanging our bags off our harnesses below us. Albeit awkward and cumbersome at times, it was much less painful. 

We did a total of 5 rappels throughout the canyon. All of the rappel starts were fairly obvious since there was lots of webbing left by previous groups. Compared to Cattail Canyon, most of the rappels had awkward starts.  The first rappel was on the left side of the canyon and you had to climb up in this little cave to start. Another hanging rappel you had to drop straight down 25 feet into a hole. The 4th rappel was guided so to avoid jumping in a large pool of water at the bottom, which was a first for me.  The final rappel dropped 100 feet to the desert floor near the Entrance Camp Trail. It took us around 6 hours for 12 of us to complete the canyon without incident. My group told everyone goodbye and then we headed east on a burro trail to hopefully find water and a campsite on the mesa rim overlooking Santa Elena Canyon.


Tinaja Blanca canyon


Tinaja Blanca


The exit of Tinaja Blanca canyon, a 200' rappel.


The start of Joel's Canyon


First rappel in Joel's Canyon. Note the little hole you have to crawl through in lower left of picture.


Yours truly enjoying a day in the Bend..


Top of the 4th rappel (guided)


Guided rappel






Success!


The final rappel.




Joel's Canyon from the Entrance Camp Trail

To be continued..



*

Offline Lance

  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 867
Re: Joel's Canyon / Mesa de Anguila
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2017, 06:47:01 PM »
Day 3 & 4

Thankfully we were able to find some water in a tinaja I had marked near the canyon that flows into Santa Elena Canyon right near the Rock Slide Rapids. We hiked a little further from there up to a high point on the Mesa and found a sweet spot to camp with epic views down inside the Santa Elena not too far away. The next morning we packed up and started the longest portion of our hike. We hoped to find more water at Tinaja de la Verga and then make it out to Smuggler's Cave Overlook and then onto 'The Point'.

Thankfully we manage to find good water at TDLV, but we decided to cut out Smuggler's Cave Overlook since we didn't feel we had enough time. Of course, the views from 'The Point' were fantastic and worth the extra effort. We then headed back and camped near the Sinkhole. That night there were thunderstorms all around us, but we managed to avoid getting doused. The last morning we hiked out only to be greeted by high winds and dust at the trailhead. We treated ourselves to a beer and then headed over to Paint Gap 1 for the night. The next day we drove home.


The side canyon that enters Santa Elena near the Rock Slide Rapids


Santa Elena Canyon from the Mesa rim at sunrise.




Homer Wilson soaking up the views..


Headed east up and over the cliff band near Tinaja de la Verga


Looking back westward at the big cliff band in the middle of the Mesa.


Santa Elena Canyon off in the distance..


Tinajas de la Verga








Headed out to 'The Point' on the north rim of Mesa de Anguila


The MDA Rock Pile


The Point






Westward on the MDA trail






The MDA Sinkhole




Pt 3713 (Three Sister Butte)








Pointing to 'The Point'!!

The END

*

Offline mule ears

  • Administrator
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 4324
  • "He had to leave Texas but won't say why" McMurtry
    • 40 years of walking
Re: Joel's Canyon / Mesa de Anguila
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2017, 07:03:09 PM »
Great trip and pictures Lance, thanks for getting this report up!
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

*

Offline badknees

  • Actually, I was there once
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 4394
  • I think I know that place
    • Through the Mirror
Re: Joel's Canyon / Mesa de Anguila
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2017, 08:17:37 PM »
Great stuff Lance! The pics are superb.

I especially like this one

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

Through the Mirror
http://mirrormagic.com

*

Offline House Made of Dawn

  • www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2YJduDyFA4
  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 3028
  • Backpacking since '78, Big Bend since '95.
Re: Joel's Canyon / Mesa de Anguila
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2017, 08:18:52 PM »
Lance - you just made my weekend!!!! I knew this TR was coming and I've been looking for it ever since January. I haven't read it yet, just now saw it was posted. Now I'm going to sit back, grab a brew, and enjoy.  Thanks, man!
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

*

Offline Lance

  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 867
Re: Joel's Canyon / Mesa de Anguila
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2017, 08:26:14 PM »
I especially like this one

Thanks, the pics are a mixture of everyone in the group. That one is actually Homer Wilson's.

*

Offline rocketman

  • Off-Grid Space Cadet
  • Diamondback
  • *
  • 349
Re: Joel's Canyon / Mesa de Anguila
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2017, 08:32:22 PM »
Wow Lance, you sure take adventure to new heights! Thank you!
Making ice cubes FROM THE SUN!!!

*

Offline Talusman

  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 534
Re: Joel's Canyon / Mesa de Anguila
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2017, 08:36:27 PM »
Well done men! Great pictures all! I am sick all over again I didn't make this trip :icon_frown:
"To Think is easy. To Act is difficult. To Act as one Thinks is the most difficult!"

*

Offline House Made of Dawn

  • www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2YJduDyFA4
  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 3028
  • Backpacking since '78, Big Bend since '95.
Re: Joel's Canyon / Mesa de Anguila
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2017, 09:47:30 PM »
Amazing trip. Great photos. This is my favorite.

http://texasmountaineers.org/images/BigBend/20170113_DSC03423.jpg

That was a heckuva large group. Your logistics must have been well thought-out.  How was Tinaja de la Verga?  Hard to navigate? And was it easy to find water in there?
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

*

Offline Quatro

  • Diamondback
  • *
  • 470
Re: Joel's Canyon / Mesa de Anguila
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2017, 09:57:08 PM »
Great stuff Lance! The pics are superb.

I especially like this one


I agree.  Could easily be from the 40s or 50s.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro - HST

*

Offline Jalco

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1070
Re: Joel's Canyon / Mesa de Anguila
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2017, 09:59:43 PM »
Great stuff Lance! The pics are superb.

I especially like this one


+1. Epic shot.

*

Offline Lance

  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 867
Re: Joel's Canyon / Mesa de Anguila
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2017, 10:03:08 AM »
All of the great black and white photos are Homer Wilson's.

How was Tinaja de la Verga?  Hard to navigate? And was it easy to find water in there?
TDLV was a really interesting area. It's the start of a large side canyon that eventually feeds into Santa Elena. It wasn't that hard to navigate and we eventually found water near the first 40' drop about a 1/4 mile in. On the way out we found a really large tinaja that would have been our first choice had we seen it initially. It's a cool area, but I was surprised that we didn't find more water than we did.

*

Offline elhombre

  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1157
Re: Joel's Canyon / Mesa de Anguila
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2017, 12:44:00 PM »
Good Times and nice report!  Can't believe it was only 4 months ago.
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 dprather

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2461
Re: Joel's Canyon / Mesa de Anguila
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2017, 05:40:53 PM »
I think that the vistas from MDA are unsurpassed - thanks for the pics
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

 


©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