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SA Bill's Fall '08 Trip report

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Offline SA Bill

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 1999
SA Bill's Fall '08 Trip report
« on: October 04, 2008, 10:23:18 PM »
Here’s my trip report for September 27th through October 2nd. The main goal for this trip was to spend one night on the S Rim, something I hadn’t done in 20 years.

First some random observations and then a brief recap of the S Rim expedition.

•   Millions of butterflies on the way out and back.
•   Everything was sooooo green and grown over from the rains.
•   Mosquitoes were abundant in several places.
•   I managed to hike Maple Canyon for the first time.
•   Lots of tarantulas seen on the roads while driving in the park.
•   Lots of grasshoppers, from small to huge, seen everywhere.
•   Lots of mantises and walking sticks seen in the Basin.
•   Very hazy skies first few days and then very clear the last few nights.
•   I forgot to bring the trekking poles so I didn’t get to try them on the trail.
•   The mature junipers were loaded with pollen causing a lot of sneezing for everyone.
•   Not many campers out in BB last week.
•   Banana Boat Sport SPF 30 sun block is good stuff!
•   Weather was just about perfect except for the haze at first.
•   I drove 70mph going out and coming back.
   o   Out: I10 – house to PJ = 427 miles and took 7.5 hours
   o   Back: 90 – PJ to house = 392 miles and took 7 hours
•   I10 would be quicker if I drove the speed limit or slightly above.
•   Had two great nights of observing with the telescope after I came down from S Rim.
•   The entry permit was free because of some promotion to encourage national park use.
•   The only wildlife encounter was a good sized doe that walked by 6’ from me up by the  
             compost toilet near Laguna Meadows.
•   Next spring I may try a one night stay down in the low country somewhere…maybe 5-6
             miles out and then back. Any thoughts?


S Rim Recap

About 20 years ago I stayed one night on the S Rim. It was a memorable hike and over the years I’ve meant to do it again. I had major abdominal surgery in March of this year and walking was part of my rehabilitation routine. I started getting in pretty good shape and decided to see if I could pull off a S Rim hike as part of my fall BB trip. I’m glad to report that I made it! It was tough but I managed to make it to SW3 and spend the night.

I had been in pretty good shape through the summer from lots of walking. For the 2-3 weeks leading up to the trip I was on the road for business and had family things going on so my training regimen went out the window. This was not a good thing! Hiking 5 miles while gaining 2000’ in altitude and carrying a 42 pound pack (I had been desperately seeking to be at 40 pounds!) nearly did me in!! I was totally beat by the time I made it to SW3. I couldn’t have made it to SW4 so I was glad I got the permit for SW3. It had taken right at 5.5 hours to hike up. My shoulders were aching. I felt like I was “out of gas”. I laid right down and took a 30 minute nap and felt better after that. An Aleve helped too!

I set up camp and ate dinner while looking forward to the sunset from up top. Thanks to directions from tjavery, I was able to find the really nice spot to watch and photograph the sunset. The atmosphere was very hazy which added some drama to the pics but also blurred things considerably. Still, it was a nice evening and sunset.

I settled into the tent for the night and slept fitfully. During the night, the wind kicked up as a weak front blew through. Made it a little chilly and I was glad I decided to take the tent instead of the tarp as originally planned. Even with the tent, the wind made it a little chilly all night even though it only got down to 50°.

The next morning I waited until the sun was up before getting started with breakfast and pictures. I took my time with packing and pictures and was on the way back down by 10:15am. The pack was noticeably lighter from the food I’d eaten and the water I’d drunk. Speaking of water, I took 5L and it turned out to be about right. I had .5L left in the bladder when I reached camp in the Basin. It only took 3 hours to get down. I like going down much more than I like going up!! I weighed the pack when I got back to the Basin and it was 10 pounds lighter. Still, by the end of the hike down, my shoulders and neck were bothering me a little. Much better once I dropped the pack and did some stretching.


Some Equipment Thoughts

The little Eureka Solitaire tent is a decent tent for the $60.00 I spent on it. It’s not much more than a bivy, really. There’s not even enough room to sit up in it. At 3 pounds, it might have been overkill to take it along but all in all, I was glad to have had it.

The Asolo boots did well, even though the lack of much training time the weeks before the trip lead to a sore toe and a slight rub on one heel. Nothing serious considering the punishment I put my feet through going up and then back down.

I’m not so keen on the Marmot Eiger pack. I never could seem to get it “dialed in” for my torso and shoulders. I should have taken Shane’s advice and gotten an Osprey Aether and had it custom fitted. I had gotten a good deal on the Marmot and really couldn’t afford to spend more money on another pack so I went with what I had. The Eiger also weighs 5 pounds so that is no too good. Maybe it’s a better pack for technical use but it was probably a lot more than I needed for an overnight hike to the S Rim.

Banana Boat Sport sun block is great stuff, at least for me. I absolutely abhor greasy sun screens! Usually I just wear light weight long sleeve shirts to combat the sun when I’m in BB. With it being a little cool this trip, I had run out of long sleeve shirts so I went looking for some sun screen at the Basin store. They had small tubes of the Banana Boat in SPF 30 and it said it was non-greasy so I bought some to try. It goes on very clean and seems to disappear quickly as you rub it in. Nothing greasy at all once you get it rubbed on. Worked very well as far as keeping the sun from burning my bare arms. No smell either!

 
Some Thoughts On Driving 70MPH Both Ways

I haven’t figured the mileage yet but I know driving no faster than 70mph made a difference. I was able to go further on each tank before having to stop for gas. It was also more relaxing to just cruise and not have to worry about speed traps. That and the fact that it saved me some money made it worth trying. I’m not sure I’ll drive 70mph next time unless the gas prices stay pretty high. I’m always itching to just get there once I’m on the road so driving 80 or 85mph is okay for me.


All in all, a good trip which was much needed after what I went through physically over the last year. It was good to get out there and recharge the spiritual battery even though the S Rim drained me a bit physically.

Thanks to everyone for the advice I got in response to all of the questions I had about making the S Rim hike again after 20 years. Your responses helped immensely and greatly contributed to the success I had in making it up and back. This group is the best!!
   Bill
Bill - In San Antonio

Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.

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Offline Burn Ban

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Re: SA Bill's Fall '08 Trip report
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2008, 11:38:28 PM »
congratulations.
 :eusa_clap:

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Offline homerboy2u

  • The Chipewa Cris tribe,Canada:
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Re: SA Bill's Fall '08 Trip report
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2008, 12:47:35 AM »
An excellent trip report and great equipment experience notes. To me the Eureka Solitaire tent matter the most,since i am planing on reading more thoughts about it ,before i commit.

 Now i will go to your other thread and check out your pics. I really hope you caught a lot pics for us ....specially with monarchs. I don't think anybody on this board has captured great monarch pictures ,like you.

 On a last note, there was so much purple reading from you that i think i feel like coming in right from the sun in to the house and i start seeing everything purpleish and then greenish, until i start to focus again. :icon_lol: :willynilly:

 Veyr Good Professor... :eusa_clap:
« Last Edit: October 05, 2008, 09:30:56 AM by homerboy2u2 »
Stay thirsty, my friends.

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Offline mule ears

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    • 40 years of walking
Re: SA Bill's Fall '08 Trip report
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2008, 06:51:13 AM »
Way to go Bill, we knew you could do it, just didn't realize how much it might take out of you. Thanks for the report and the pictures. For next years lower desert trip the walk out past Mule Ears springs and on over to Smoky Spring. Nice easy hike, great views especially the overlook over Smoky Creek floodplain and of course the Mule Ears.  Plenty of exploring to do and water at Mule Ears and usually at Smoky spring too.
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 dkerr24

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  • The worst day hiking > the best day in a cubicle.
Re: SA Bill's Fall '08 Trip report
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2008, 08:46:43 AM »
Great trip report, SA!  Glad to hear you made it to the S Rim (and back safely). :)

Regarding mph, I usually drive even slower... I drove out to GUMO back in May and did 65 mph or less the entire way.  It really didn't make enough difference to amount to a hill of beans in the driving time, but made a big difference in my gas mileage.   I normally get around 34-35mpg in my Toyota Matrix when driving 70-75mph.  Driving 65 mph netted me 40-41mpg!  Could be gearing as I drive a 5 speed manual.  RPM's are around 2500rpm at 65mph.

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chisos_muse

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Re: SA Bill's Fall '08 Trip report
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2008, 11:53:14 AM »
YAY Bill!  :eusa_clap:

Good for you getting out there and rejuvenating the soul! Great report and photos!  :icon_biggrin:

Oh, and uh, just to let you know, I'll be the one passing you in the Jeep doing 90 on I-10 on the way to Big Bend!  :eusa_dance:

There's just something about going there that makes my foot heavy.....  :icon_cool:

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Offline Roy

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Re: SA Bill's Fall '08 Trip report
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2008, 02:40:37 PM »
Way to go Bill!

Today the South Rim;  tomorrow the OML (maybe?)

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BigBendHiker

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Re: SA Bill's Fall '08 Trip report
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2008, 03:22:24 PM »
Hey SA Bill!
Thanks for the trip report and pictures.  We will be headin' out there in December this year. 

BBH

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Offline Goldilocks

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Re: SA Bill's Fall '08 Trip report
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2008, 05:11:07 PM »
I am so proud of you, Bill!!  Great job!


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Offline walkingman06

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Re: SA Bill's Fall '08 Trip report
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2008, 06:15:28 PM »
Good for you, Bill.  I appreciate your report and your willingness to share it with us.  I'm looking forward to my trip out in early December.

Take care.
Moving in silent desperation
Keeping an eye on the holy land
A hypothetical destination
Say, who is this walking man?
James Taylor
Posted from Tulsa, OK

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kmck

  • Guest
Re: SA Bill's Fall '08 Trip report
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2008, 08:39:04 PM »
Good trip report Bill - glad you had a nice time and no rain.  You're right - Aleve is good stuff. :icon_biggrin:  Liked the South Rim pictures. 

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Offline EdB

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Re: SA Bill's Fall '08 Trip report
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2008, 11:46:08 AM »
Wow, glad you made it Bill.  :eusa_clap:

Re: SA Bill's Fall '08 Trip report
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2008, 12:20:36 PM »
Bill, excellent!

Did you use any treated water?

All those butterflies would be such a treat to see.

It sounds like this is a great time to go check out Big Bend (as if there are actually any bad times).

Glad you had a blast.
"No, that did not happen to me.  You have me confused with someone else."

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Offline SA Bill

  • Mountain Lion
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Re: SA Bill's Fall '08 Trip report
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2008, 10:26:41 PM »
Thanks everyone!
It was good trip. The S Rim part was hard (harder than I had hoped!) but memorable. Not sure if I'll be doing a lot of backpacking in the near future.  :eusa_think: I'll probably stick to day hikes. Plenty to experience that way still.

BC1C: I didn't have any sources of water going up LM so I carried all the water I needed...5L. In hind sight, I might have been better off going up Pinnacles with less water and treating enough from Boot Spring for day two. If I ever get the itch to do a S Rim overnight trip again, that's probably what I'll do.
   Bill
Bill - In San Antonio

Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.

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Offline riverrat

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Re: SA Bill's Fall '08 Trip report
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2008, 11:56:53 AM »
Glad you got to do the rim again.  As much as I envy overnight backpackers and the vistas they witness, day hikes are all we do. It's a great way to experience the park. I remind myself that what is seen from the mountain tops is what I get to touch. I sometimes feel as if we're the only ones that stick to day hikes, though. 
Living so close to paradise, it is unbelievable.

 


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