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My First TR. April 2012. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

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Offline mbender

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My First TR. April 2012. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
« on: October 29, 2012, 05:39:08 PM »

Ok. So here's a better-late-then-never trip report from April 2012. I figgered I'd better get it in before the busy season gets here! This was my second trip to BB. I have no doubt that BB trip reports are appreciated far more here than they are on F*book, especially since there are no pics of kittens.  :13:

Day 1. Casa Grande.
So I rolled in to the Park at mid-afternoon on the first day, stopped by PJ to get camping permits for TM1 and the Rim for the following days, then checked into the Basin lodge where I got a bite to eat. My gear was already prepped for the Casa Grande ascent so I headed to the Lost Mine Trail for a late afternoon adventure. I was hoping to go up there for some sunset shots.  :crossedfingers:

On my way via the Lost Mine Trail. The sun is going down, and I have to go all the way up there...

On the LMT by mbf0110, on Flickr

Gaining elevation and looking back at the Slippery Slope, and down at the Road I Rode In On...

Slippery Slope by mbf0110, on Flickr

The Slippery Slope ahead. This crap is unrelenting. It's an All-Four's-Crawl. I had read about this stuff before, but it just seemed to go on and on and on... And at some point during this ascent, the slight tear that I had in the meniscus of my right knee became a full tear...  :eusa_boohoo:

Unrelenting by mbf0110, on Flickr

Whew! Made it to the top, looking back at the Road I Rode In On out the Green Gulch and into the desert. Helluva view! Still have plenty of daylight to spare, but I'm re-thinking waiting for the sun to set, as I really don't want to attempt the return trip in the dark. And my right knee is talkin to me in some foul language...  :ecomcity:

Summit by mbf0110, on Flickr

Awesome. Man, it's a perfect day to be up here as I make my way around the summit...

SE view by mbf0110, on Flickr

Towering by mbf0110, on Flickr

Looking down a slit in the rock face as it goes allll the waaaaay down to the Road I Rode In On...

Dont slip by mbf0110, on Flickr

Working around to the West, and the Basin...

Basin by mbf0110, on Flickr

The setting sun makes the rock face glow...

Radioactive by mbf0110, on Flickr

Ok it's decision time. Should I head back now while I still have daylight? I figure I have just enough time to make it back down to the LMT before it gets dark. Not really a decision, because there's no way in hell I'm going back down that "trail" in the dark of night with a bad knee. I'm gettin off this mountain!

Beginning the descent as the last light of the day reflect off the peaks...

Last Light by mbf0110, on Flickr

Attempting to stop and take a pic while not sliding down the Slippery Slope!...

Last Pic by mbf0110, on Flickr

Enuf picture taking. I packed the camera away and got moving down the mountain. Because of my knee, I have no support from my right leg, so if my left foot slipped, as it often did, my butt hit the rocks and I was sliding down the slope in a mini dust-filled avalanche.
Even with the daylight that still remained, I still got lost twice trying to follow the "path" back down. But I made it back to the LMT just in time, as I needed a flashlight to follow that trail back to the parking lot.

The good: Perfect weather and stunning views!
The bad: Packed twice as much stuff as I needed.
The ugly: This is just my first day few hours in BB, my skin is cut and scraped, and my knee is toast. My best laid plans for this trip have been shredded. But I will make the best of the next four days. Now it's time for food, rest, and ice for the knee... I would really like to make it up to TM1 tomorrow...


Offline steelfrog

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Re: My First TR. April 2012. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2012, 06:39:28 PM »
An adventurous start!


Offline mbender

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Re: My First TR. April 2012. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2012, 04:29:47 PM »
Day 2 to 3am. TM1.

Runner by mbf0110, on Flickr

So I wake up this morning and I can barely walk. My initial plan was to camp in the mountains for the next two nights and at this point I can't even go to get breakfast. Time for a new game plan that includes only one night camping in the mountains and a lot of aspirin. And I'm gonna need to lighten the load... camp only one night, leave late in the day so I don't have to carry so much, and take aspirin. So I lightened my pack by removing mostly food and water, warmed up the knee as much as possible, took some aspirin, and hobbled up the Pinnacles. I didn't shoot any pics on the way up as I just wanted to get there. It was a looong slog! But I made it eventually...

Toll over Basin by mbf0110, on Flickr

So I set up camp and proclaimed: "Camping sucks! You spend all of your time.... CAMPING!!"  >:( You're tired from having to haul all your crap up there, then you have to set up your tent, and cook some food, and....  :eusa_boohoo:  But once I got set up and fed, I got to play around as the sun went down and the moon came up...

Craggy by mbf0110, on Flickr

Casa Grande from TM1...

CG by mbf0110, on Flickr

Emory from TM1...

Emory by mbf0110, on Flickr

And the Basin from TM1...

Basin by mbf0110, on Flickr

A more perfect night at TM1 I could not ask for. Ok, so maybe camping isn't so bad after all. Cool temps, clear sky, calm air, full moon. This is heavenly...  :eusa_angel:

Emory by mbf0110, on Flickr

Spooky Tree by mbf0110, on Flickr

Campsite by mbf0110, on Flickr


TM1 by mbf0110, on Flickr

My castle...

Pumpkin by mbf0110, on Flickr

So I played around shooting the sky until 1am or so and then decided to get some sleep so that I can awaken before sunrise.

Stupid air mattress. Tossed and turned, couldn't sleep at all... and I needs my sleep... camping sux again...  :'(
So I got up to catch first light...

Silhouette by mbf0110, on Flickr

Rise n shine by mbf0110, on Flickr

As the sun continued to rise and illuminate the Basin, words simply cannot describe how beautiful this morning is...

AM Window by mbf0110, on Flickr

Living by mbf0110, on Flickr

The blue birds were all over the place up here, looking for food...

Wheres my breakfast by mbf0110, on Flickr

You have not lived until you've experienced a morning like this. It's a cool morning, the sun is shining, it is calm and very quiet. The only sound I hear is the air that flutters through the wings of the blue birds as they fly around the camp site. Occasionally, I can hear the voices of early-risers who are making their way up the Pinnacles. This singular morning makes this whole trip worthwhile. This morning I will never forget...

Perfection by mbf0110, on Flickr

Camping is fun again. But I'm definitely gonna need new sleeping arrangements. It's starting to warm up now so I at breakfast and packed up camp and headed back down the Pinnacles to the Basin Lodge to get an afternoon nap since I didn't get any sleep last night. My knee actually feels a little better this morning. Later tonight, I'll see if I can find some moonlight in the Window...

D7C_9570 by mbf0110, on Flickr

The good: The great. Indescribably beautiful night and morning.
The bad: Camping sux. But it's fun. But then again, maybe not.
The ugly: Ugh. Neeeeeed sleeeeep!


Offline mbender

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Re: My First TR. April 2012. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2012, 04:35:47 PM »
Day 3pm. The Window.

I got down from TM1, ate some food, iced the knee, and took a nap. I then put away the tent, mattress, and sleeping bag... no sense loading down the backpack with that stuff since I can't get any sleep on it anyway. I headed out on the Windows trail just before sunset as the last daylight hikers were coming in. They were looking at me funny for going out to the Window when I should have been coming back...

Open Window by mbf0110, on Flickr

I arrived at the Window just as the sun disappeared, but there was still plenty of light so I set up to shoot the Window...

Window Sill by mbf0110, on Flickr

The stars begin to come out as the sunlight fades before the moonlight arrives...

Out the Window by mbf0110, on Flickr

The moonlight begins to illuminate the desert and the pinnacle outside the Window...

Cracked Window by mbf0110, on Flickr

The moonlight is slowly creeping down the wall of the Window... sloooowly... I'm just sitting here, waiting for the moonlight to illuminate both walls of the Window, eating snacks, hoping a mountain lion doesn't eat me...

Window Pane by mbf0110, on Flickr

Both canyon walls illuminated. Took about two hours of waiting... I can leave now...

Light in the Window by mbf0110, on Flickr

Looking back, the moon lights the trail back out of the canyon. I packed up and headed back to the lodge. Didn't get back until around 1 a.m...

Alien Planet by mbf0110, on Flickr

Day 4. Terlingua.

Didn't get to sleep last night until about 3am. So I slept in and then checked out of the Lodge and moved to one of my favorite places to stay in Terlingua: La Posada Milagro. This is my room for the next three nights...

Comfy by mbf0110, on Flickr

Castle by mbf0110, on Flickr

The Chisos from La Posada Milagro...

Room With A View by mbf0110, on Flickr

That evening I go over to the Starlight Theatre for some food. I've never been there before so I figured I'd try it out. The Starlight Theatre has good food, good people, and an awesome aerial silk performance by Sandi Turvan...

Hangin by a Thread by mbf0110, on Flickr

All Tied Up by mbf0110, on Flickr

Winovino from Austin was the band for the evening. Though not my type of music, they were awesome and I hope to see them again someday...

Party Time by mbf0110, on Flickr

Screeeeamer by mbf0110, on Flickr

Washing by mbf0110, on Flickr

Multitasker by mbf0110, on Flickr

Sad to End by mbf0110, on Flickr

They ended their show by plaing off the stage, through the front doors, and onto the front porch for a full-moon-light performance...

March by mbf0110, on Flickr

Howl at the Moon by mbf0110, on Flickr

Halo by mbf0110, on Flickr

So I didn't put on my hiking boots today.  :icon_cry: Bit I'll try and make up for it tomorrow on the South Rim.  :icon_biggrin:


Offline catz

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Re: My First TR. April 2012. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2012, 05:01:18 PM »
Those are some great pictures!  :13:  I especially liked all of the night shots; some, I think, are calendar-worthy material (Casa Grande from TM 1 and the Window in the moonlight are my two favorites).

Sorry about the knee and the sleeping problems.  But thanks so much for the report.

Wake me when it's time to go.


Offline SA Bill

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Re: My First TR. April 2012. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2012, 06:18:29 PM »
Nicely done...trip and report!  :great:
Very nice work with the camera!  :eusa_clap:
  Thanks for sharing!
Bill - In San Antonio

Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.


Offline mbender

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Re: My First TR. April 2012. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2012, 06:55:34 PM »
Thanks! Yeah this was my first time shooting under the full moon. I think most people prefer to shoot at night when there is no moon. But you can illuminate the landscape under a full moon and it is not nearly as harsh as the sun, plus the camera really brings out the deep blue night sky!  :celebrate:

And catz, the knee is fixed, and I have a hammock!


Offline mbender

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Re: My First TR. April 2012. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2012, 11:33:21 PM »
Day 4. Laguna Meadows.

I was gonna get up early this morning to catch the sunrise at Santa Elena canyon, but it was overcast so I got to sleep in.  :icon_smile:

Yes, I took a pic of raindrops on the sidewalk at the LM trailhead just as I was beginning to head out to the South Rim for an all-niter. I figured since rain is so rare out here, it deserved a pic! Little did I know... Today is a make-up day for not being able stay two nights in the mountains a couple days before. Since I can't sleep on the air mattress, I left it and the tent behind and planned to stay up all night on South Rim under the full moon. At least that was the plan...

Raindrops by mbf0110, on Flickr

A thundercloud is facing, glaring at Emory...

Two Titans by mbf0110, on Flickr

I suppose that this is a rare day in the Chisos. The rain brings out all the scents of the mountains, and makes for a pleasant and cool journey...

Life by mbf0110, on Flickr

It has been raining lightly all the way up the trail so far, as the glowing tree gets a glossy finish from the rain...

Sheen by mbf0110, on Flickr

Gaining elevation, and it's still raining. I'm not concerned at all. It makes for a very pleasant and unique hike through the mountains...

CG from LM by mbf0110, on Flickr

I've pretty much made it past the steepest part of the trail and getting near the Laguna West camp sites. And it's still raining, but the rain is getting heavier and shows no sign of letting up...

VB and PB by mbf0110, on Flickr

I made it to the trailhead to the LW campsites and stopped to analyze the situation. I'm up a elevation and it's getting pretty darn cold. It's late in the day and I'm fairly soaked from the rain, and I'm thinkin I won't be able to dry out. Then the shit hit the fan. Rain. Thunder. Lightning...

Tear drops by mbf0110, on Flickr

... and HAIL!! I hunkered down for about 20 minutes waiting for this storm to pass, trying not to get blown up by lightning, cause it was right on top of me...  :willynilly:

Ice drops by mbf0110, on Flickr

At this point I probably have about two hours of daylight remaining, but I'm still determined to head on to the Rim. Then the cold wind started blowing... I mean like at 50 mph! That was the last straw. I turned around and headed back to the Basin, and made it back just as it was getting dark.

I made it back to Terlingua and took some shots of the clouds and the moon over the Chisos...

Dry Over Here by mbf0110, on Flickr

The good: Light rain all the way up the LM trail brought out the scents of the mountains,
The bad: Light rain turned into a nasty storm,
The ugly: I was really looking forward to this. Another day I suppose.


Offline mbender

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Re: My First TR. April 2012. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2012, 11:39:03 PM »
Day 5. AM. Last day. Santa Elena.

Since I hail to bail out of the South Rim all-niter, I needed to make up for it. So I got up Really Early the next morning to get some sunrise/moonset shots of Santa Elena Canyon. On the way, the Chisos before sunrise...

Gmorning Chisos by mbf0110, on Flickr

Got to the Canyon just in time for the moon to dip behind the canyon walls...

Moon Silhouette by mbf0110, on Flickr

I hiked up into the canyon as the sun rises. This place makes some really spooky noises at this hour of the morning...

Pre-sun by mbf0110, on Flickr

Water Snake by mbf0110, on Flickr

1st light by mbf0110, on Flickr

The Wall by mbf0110, on Flickr

Sunup by mbf0110, on Flickr

I Wanna Go Up There by mbf0110, on Flickr

Morning colors...

Big Bend Morning by mbf0110, on Flickr

On the way back, Cerro Castellan silhouetted by the rising sun...

Castellan by mbf0110, on Flickr

I'm heading home tomorrow so I can't attempt another South Rim all-nighter. I'll do something in the desert tonight. Mule Ears it is...

Day 5. PM. Last day. Mule Ears.

After the morning in Santa Elena, I geared up to do a late-day hike to Mule Ears to see if I could catch the rising light of the full moon illuminating the peaks. On the road...

Follow the Road by mbf0110, on Flickr

Window Peaking by mbf0110, on Flickr

At the trailhead, preparing for the journey. It's a bit warm today in the desert, but the sun is setting...

Ears by mbf0110, on Flickr

Blooms by mbf0110, on Flickr

Slowly working my way around the peaks...

Gettin there by mbf0110, on Flickr

Crap. I gotta go all the way down to Smoky Creek to get around pt3470 to get to the base of Mule Ears! You sure there isn't a shorter way? Anybody?  :eusa_think:

Valley by mbf0110, on Flickr

Almost there...

Back Side by mbf0110, on Flickr

Cactus budding...

Cactus Nub by mbf0110, on Flickr

Finally. The sun is setting and I get set up to shoot when the moon rises. It's getting dark. No moon. I check the moonrise time on my GPS. Not for another 2+ hours. Shit. Why didn't I check this _before_ I set out? Dummy...  :banghead:

Dusk Ears by mbf0110, on Flickr

So instead of waiting in pitch black for over two hours until the moon rises, I got a few shots and headed back to the parking area. Holy freaking cow folks it is friggin DARK out there at night when there's no moon! Good thing I had my headlamp and two other flashlights with me. And the GPS. Sometimes the trail goes into and follows the wash for a ways and the only way I could figure out where to pick up the trail again was the track on my GPS...

I made it back to the parking lot just in time for the moonrise...

Moon Ears by mbf0110, on Flickr

So this little adventure was a bust. Since the night was still young, I headed for always available back-up location to get something out of the rising moon... Santa Elena...

Fuzzy Moon by mbf0110, on FlickrD7C_0265.jpg

Moonlighting by mbf0110, on Flickr

Shoot the Moon by mbf0110, on Flickr

The good: Pitch black. I learned a lesson,
The bad: Pitch Black. I learned a lesson,
The ugly: 0 for 2 on my final two adventures :(

And so ends my second trip to Big Bend. I wish I'd kept a log of each adventure for future reference... Time, temperature, distance traveled, time on trail, water/food consumption. I found myself always taking more stuff than I needed, and if I had a reference from previous adventures I could more accurately predict what I need.
All in all, a great trip. But I want a redo on the Rim and Mule Ears. Next time.

The End by mbf0110, on Flickr


Offline Al

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Re: My First TR. April 2012. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2012, 11:42:56 PM »
Holey poop!  You done did a calender all by yo'self!  Thank you very much.



Offline Lance

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My First TR. April 2012. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2012, 12:10:14 AM »
Yes, absolutely fantastic!


Offline ambersdad

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Re: My First TR. April 2012. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2012, 06:13:04 AM »
Thanks for posting.  Some great shots here!   :great:
Having decent gear is nice, but wildlife photography is knowing your subject and getting lucky, and I love getting lucky.


Offline Raoul Duke

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Re: My First TR. April 2012. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2012, 07:03:39 AM »
Very nice!  Thanks for the excellent report and pics.
"Getting bored with your neurosis?  Drop you analyst--drop him/her like a cold potato--and make tracks for the nearest river." -Edward Abbey


Online mule ears

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Re: My First TR. April 2012. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2012, 07:14:22 AM »
Beautiful job!  Hope the knee is OK.  Thanks.   :high5:
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Offline RichardM

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Re: My First TR. April 2012. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2012, 08:56:18 AM »
If you had finished this report about an hour earlier I would have definitely nominated a few pictures for our upcoming calendar before last night's deadline. As it was, I went to bed just a few minutes before you posted the last set. Oh well, I'll know where to look when it's time to nominate pictures for the 2014 calendar!



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