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Mule ears/Dominguez/Smoky creek loop

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Offline Kbhickey

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Mule ears/Dominguez/Smoky creek loop
« on: February 11, 2016, 11:17:48 AM »
Went with a group of guys (9 total) 2/5-2/7 on this 24 mile loop.

http://caltopo.com/m/FT2B

Stayed the night in basin campgrounds the night before and got permits (it was freezing, in the mid/low 20's) and then headed out on the 5th. Got to trailhead and on our way around 10:30. Mule ears springs running well.

Then over to smokey springs that was running, few small pools, but we did not fill up here 


Through the canyon and up and over Jacks Pass. Cool thing here was seeing 4 Barbary sheep up on the southern peek looking down at us.





It was getting late in the day so we tried to scramble down quickly which is not so easy as we came to find it's pretty steep down. : ). We ended up making camp just short of the ruins and having to set up in the dark. Dominguez springs were running great. We filled up the next morning and headed through Fisk canyon north. Found a small running spring in there as well.

After getting out of the canyon we headed westward over to smoky creek trail.  Just followed the washes over to that point. We camped just north of the lower spring in the wash. The spring was nothing to write home about but did have 1 small pool that slowly filled. We were able to get 5 gallons worth. Later the next morning we found another pool just down the wash farther down that was actually better



And out the next day. The weather was colder than it had been for me on previous visits. 20's-60's vs 40's-80's. But we all kept warm.  All in all a good trip, especially since some in my group had never been backpacking before.



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Offline RichardM

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Re: Mule ears/Dominguez/Smoky creek loop
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2016, 12:23:38 PM »
http://caltopo.com/m/FT2B

All in all a good trip, especially since some in my group had never been backpacking before.
Nice job on the topo with waypoints. Heckuva way to break in backpacking newbies!

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Offline Andreas

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Re: Mule ears/Dominguez/Smoky creek loop
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2016, 12:51:26 PM »
Very nice! Thx for posting.
"Any time you're throwin dirt you're losin ground."

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Mule ears/Dominguez/Smoky creek loop
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2016, 01:13:35 PM »
Great report and the first detailed water reports from the middle section of Smoky Creek this winter!  Thanks for the map and the photos.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline elhombre

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Re: Mule ears/Dominguez/Smoky creek loop
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2016, 01:56:55 PM »
You guys really put the boot to the rocks on that trip.  Making Domiquez spring from Mule Ears is a LONG day!  Thanks for the map and water report.

On the second day, after you met back up with the Smokey Creek trail, y'all detoured up to a spring (Witch spring).  It sounds like it is getting to be very dry around there.  A few years back we found water right near where y'all turned around.  As we made the left turn to follow the wash east, there was a 3 foot drop we climbed up.  Directly above that drop, on the left was a rock with water under it.  Do you think you saw this spot or did y'all not look any further and stopped at the left turn?  It tasted pretty muddy back then, so you didn't miss anything.

Also, some one said Mule Ears spring has been running slow lately.  If your picture of it is the biggest pool there, then it appears to be slow as reported.
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Offline Lance

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Re: Mule ears/Dominguez/Smoky creek loop
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2016, 03:48:51 PM »
Nice trip report!  Jack's Pass is starting to become a popular route, just like Randell's Overlook.
El Hombre and I saw a pack of 20 or so Aoudad when we ran the ridge from Jack's Pass over to Pt 5386.
They always seem to be high up..

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Offline Kbhickey

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Re: Mule ears/Dominguez/Smoky creek loop
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2016, 03:55:34 PM »
We didn't make that left and follow up the wash. We gave up and moved on, didn't want to get too far off our route.  That pic of mule ears spring is of the upper pool, the lower pool was still pretty decent to get water from as well.  I thought mule ears looked the same as I've seen the past two times I've been (Feb '15, Feb'14).


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Offline Talusman

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Re: Mule ears/Dominguez/Smoky creek loop
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2016, 09:25:55 AM »
Great Report, pictures, map and waypoints. Very impressive run. What did your first time back packing friend think of his trip? I can only bet he got bit by the outdoor bug.
"To Think is easy. To Act is difficult. To Act as one Thinks is the most difficult!"

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Offline TheWildWestGuy

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Re: Mule ears/Dominguez/Smoky creek loop
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2016, 09:15:34 PM »
Thanks for posting your trip report, this type of information is like Gold for us as it is very hard to get reliable info on this area and it's cool to see the photos of your trip.  That's quite a off trail adventure for newbies to go on with you.  Hopefully they will get the bug and come back to the Park in the future.   You guys were really moving fast it's a long way from Mule Ears Overlook to Dominquez Springs and almost all of it is off trail and full of prickly cactus and loose rock.   Thanks again for the report.   TWWG

 


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