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Mesa Quick Trip, Nov 14-17

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Offline Homer67

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Mesa Quick Trip, Nov 14-17
« on: December 14, 2015, 10:03:51 PM »
My buddy Sean and I hiked the mesa Nov 14-17th.  We did a loop down to Entrance Camp, over to an overlook above the Rockslide, then up the bluff just S of Canyon Flag then to Tinaja Lujon and out by a trail on the backside of the 3-lobed mesita one first encounters when going in past the saddle about 1.8 miles.  We had originally thought of hiking out around the N side of the mesa, dropping down sort of NW of Tinaja Lujon, but we lost the trail and were working to reach it cross-country and we noticed this other trail instead.  It intersects the trail coming in over the saddle in an arroyo that crosses that trail about 1.5 miles short of the saddle on the way out.  Its a superhwy, really.

Here are some photos, in no particular order:
Untitled by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Untitled by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Untitled by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Untitled by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Untitled by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Untitled by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Untitled by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Untitled by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Untitled by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Untitled by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Untitled by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Untitled by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Untitled by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Here's where we went up and ended up on the shoulder of Canyon Flag:
Mesa Bluff Cheat by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Here's me going up it:
Nov 17, 2015 by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Looking Up the Saddle by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Early on in our Mesa de Anguila Hike by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Cliffs above Entrance Camp, Nov 2015 by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Untitled by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Untitled by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Untitled by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Sean near Tinaja Blanca, Nov 2015 by Superhomer670, on Flickr

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into our mesa cruise.  I can't wait to get back and explore more.

Homer
« Last Edit: December 15, 2015, 11:09:45 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 mule ears

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Re: Mesa Quick Trip, Nov 14-17
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2015, 06:34:47 AM »
Good adventuring Homer67.  Water in the tinajas I assume?
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline Homer Wilson

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Re: Mesa Quick Trip, Nov 14-17
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2015, 10:10:53 AM »
Nice! That's a cool combination arch/balanced rock you found there.

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Offline dprather

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Re: Mesa Quick Trip, Nov 14-17
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2015, 10:14:30 AM »
Thanks!
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: Mesa Quick Trip, Nov 14-17
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2015, 11:07:32 AM »
Yes! There was plenty of water in the tinajas when we were there.  We were fortunate that it rained half of the first day on the mesa, on the 14th. After all the hype about the mesa, it wasn't as tough as I'd expected.  I think the Quemada Loop is tougher, and the saddle isn't that bad of a hike up. We did a good amount of cross-country hiking - my first time using trekking poles, and I sure dig them.  I did have to put them away when one climb got a bit steep.

We got caught up in a choked canyon and had to backtrack, did some awesome climbs and trekked right through it.  It was glorious. It was nice to go on a hike with someone experienced where I could just be part of it - my buddy planned the route and I think we both just wanted a drama-free cruise with no hangups.  That's what we got too. It happened so fast, I didn't start processing it for days once I got back.
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 TheWildWestGuy

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Re: Mesa Quick Trip, Nov 14-17
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2015, 07:13:30 PM »
Thanks for the trip report, it's really hard to get much info on the Mesa so we appreciate it.   If Tinaja Lujan was holding water than it's likely that most of the Tinajas on the Mesa are as well.  For anyone wanting to explore this area in person I recommend asking at the PJ Visitors Center for the page size map of the Mesa Anguila which has info on the water sources on the back side.   Although the hike up to the Mesa from the Lajitas trailhead may not be too hard be aware that route finding off the main trails can be difficult and a number of burro trails (which look just like hiking trails) exist and can lead you astray fairly easily.   Especially in the area East of La Mariposa past the 3-Sisters and the Sinkhole.  There is no real trail in this area out to the "Point" above the mouth of Santa Helena Canyon and a number of intersecting burro trails lead off down-slope to the South in this area.  They look just like hiking trails and you will meander down them and have to backtrack.   It would be really nice if someone (hint hint) could publish a map on Maprica so we could use our cell phones for navigation in this tricky area.   TWWG

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Offline mbender

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Re: Mesa Quick Trip, Nov 14-17
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2015, 02:51:13 PM »
Looks like a heckuva trip. And fun too!

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Offline Homer67

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Re: Mesa Quick Trip, Nov 14-17
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2015, 03:43:04 PM »
It was a fun hike. I'm still in the dark ages on mapping. I do have an old etrex to backtrack with and mark points; I have a LOT of waypoints in the park and old tracks on that device. Our hike was pretty easy with a topo. There are a few handrails out there.

It is true there are many burro trails. When we found one going our particular direction we used it. Our hike kept a lot of landmarks in view. I am sure there are 1000's of little gems on the way to The Point, but it looks pretty, uh, remote on the map once past the Sisters. Next time I'd love to hike in and continue straight on past Tinaja Blanca on the S shoulder of Canyon Flag and find the Sinkhole then on to the Point.

I did take a pic of my topo - I laminated my quadrangle and drew our route on it with a wet-erase pen:
« Last Edit: January 05, 2018, 02:40:23 PM by RichardM »
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 mbender

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Re: Mesa Quick Trip, Nov 14-17
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2015, 04:31:18 PM »
Thanks for that. I meant to ask if you had a route map to share. Any GSP waypoints, like for the "Sweet Spot"?

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Offline Hayduke

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Re: Mesa Quick Trip, Nov 14-17
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2015, 04:44:08 PM »
Nice! That's a cool combination arch/balanced rock you found there.

I remember seeing that same arch about 20 years ago and thinking it looked so fragile it wouldn't be around for long.  (I may still be right in geologic time.)

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Offline Hayduke

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Re: Mesa Quick Trip, Nov 14-17
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2015, 04:56:42 PM »
Nice to read about what's probably my favorite area in the park and see a few pictures, too. About 10 to 20 years ago I spent a lot of time exploring the MdA and even led some groups out there. I still get out there once in a while.

I started off thinking that all the informal trails were burro trails but over time I came across remains of what I believe are old candelilla camps and also a trail segment here or there that a burro would not have been able to pull off. So I think that many (I'm not saying all) of those MdA trails are left over from an older time and the feral burros "maintain" them.   In my wanderings out there I was very happy to run across them.

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Offline Lance

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Re: Mesa Quick Trip, Nov 14-17
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2015, 05:23:45 PM »
Cool trip report.  I need to explore more of MDA.  Rock slide rapids is on the list and it looks like a awesome overlook.
Congrats on the new addition to your family too!

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Offline Homer67

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Re: Mesa Quick Trip, Nov 14-17
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2015, 10:55:00 AM »
Thank you, Lance!

The closest I can get to a coordinate for the Sweet Spot is to mark it on Mapper:
http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=29.20169,-103.71642&z=15&t=T&marker0=29.20010%2C-103.71642%2Cunnamed

The trail is really well defined and cairned all the way down to Entrance Camp. The Sweet Spot I marked on my topo is where another trail heads over the saddle between the Mariposa and the mountain just south of it. We were told at PJ that there may be a faint trail to Entrance Camp, but it obviously gets some use.  We saw many broken horse shoes and horse hockey from well-fed horses and some not so well-fed.  We saw 3 vaqueros while we were down at Entrance Camp; they were very-well heeled and were very impressive.  At one point I wondered if a movie wasn't being shot.  One had a turquoise shirt, one a navy blue shirt and the woman was in red. They rode up the steep trail that leads from a wash out of the area around Entrance Camp. They returned about 20 minutes later leading 3 horses down the trail and eventually down the river to the west away from us. I think the trail in this area is well defined by its use. Here's a pic of my buddy as we approached Entrance Camp and note the trail:
Untitled by Superhomer670, on Flickr

Making our way to the Rock Slide Overlook was easy as well.  We backed out of Entrance Camp and found a trail going in the exact direction my buddy had picked out beforehand.  Obviously horses had trod this route recently.  Along the arroyo, after the "X" there were no signs of horses but a well-defined trail to a ravine where we filtered water from a tinaja from one end and photo'd the Rock Slide on the other end.

Man! It was so fun!

Here's a pic of my little girl Faith, soon to get started on her backpacking journey:
Untitled by Superhomer670, on Flickr
« Last Edit: December 17, 2015, 11:06:36 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 Don H

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Re: Mesa Quick Trip, Nov 14-17
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2015, 03:25:14 PM »
Homer, she's a cutie!  Loved your trip report and pics - it's a really cool part of the park.
"Rugged isolation in a Jeep with the top down, doors off, sweaty, dusty, listening to your flavor of tunes, immersed in the most beautiful and beguiling desert mountains in all of the Southwest, the Sierra Quemada. Nothing short of spiritual cleansing. " D. Locke

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Offline Homer67

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Re: Mesa Quick Trip, Nov 14-17
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2015, 01:04:42 PM »
Here's a quick video I took down at Entrance Camp.  We'd come in early for the day and were just relaxing, watching the water stream by.

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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