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Sleepy trip January 2014

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Offline sleepy

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Sleepy trip January 2014
« on: February 07, 2014, 02:40:07 PM »
I'll post pics of the trip over in the trip forum.

We left Austin early on a Wednesday and made it to PJ by 3 pm.  The expected night times of 35 degrees were now forecasted to be mid 20's with 30 mph winds.  We debated hunkering down in a motel and day hiking, but decided to hit the trail anyway.  We left Mule Ears parking lot at 4, making it to Smoky Creek around 6.  We set up camp above the wash and enjoyed a great sunset and some Mescal.  While it ended being a chilly night, we had minimal wind and a blanket of stars.

I've done the Outer Mountain Loop, the upper part of Smoky Creek, Dominguez trail, Elephant tusk from Black Gap, explored Fresno Creek, but haven't done mid-Smoky.  Our original plan was to hike Smoky to Fisk down to Dominguez Springs and possibly up and over Jack's Pass, depending on how we felt.  New plan was to set a base camp and day hike/explore the canyons east of Mule Ears. 

Thursday, we got a late start, 9:30ish.  We headed cross country to find Smoky Springs.  We found water and decided to continue up canyon, have lunch, deplete our reserves then fill up on our return.  The water we found was algae choked and very shallow, although we were able to fill up easily. 

Up canyon was beautiful, closing in and twisting.  We found abundance of bear scat and a spot that appeared to be a day den.  Sadly, no actual sighting.  We went as far as we could, figuring to get back to base camp by six.  I had a dreamy nap beside a shading rock.  On our way out we crossed the badlands just outside the canyon mouth.  Without the use of a gps, we were able to walk right up onto our base camp, using only landscape to guide us.

We enjoyed camp style tuna casserole with some bourbon and wine (my friend wanted to make sure we had vino, so he lugged it all in).  We enjoyed another beautiful sunset and evening of stars.  The predicted 40 mph winds never materialized and we were thankful.

Friday morning we got an early start, just as the sun hit Mule Ears.  We headed north through Smoky Creek proper and wound into its canyon.  Having never been here, I must say it lived up to its reputation.  We found water not far up canyon.  Beautiful, clear and abundant.  We proceed up canyon for another hour, getting our bearings for future explorations.  Had we the time, we could have stayed for days.  Because we wanted to be at our vehicle by 3, we headed back and broke camp and hiked out.

We set up Friday night camp at the ever convenient Paint Gap 1.  On our way to showers in Study Butte, we stopped at Croton Springs and explored the hills above it.  We found some interesting materials with one of the best views of the Chisos I've seen.  We spent an hour exploring the area, then headed into town.  A two dollar shower is a beautiful and transformative thing.  We headed into Terlingua for dinner, stopped by La Kiva and headed back to camp.  NOTE: we noticed law enforcement on the park road, please be aware of your speed and attitude.

Saturday we broke camp and headed to Boquillas.  I unfortunately never visited pre 911.  We went through the BP kiosk and down to the river.  We caught a boat ride to the other side.  Your options for getting into town are horse, burro or truck.  We opted for truck.  The people of Boquillas apparently want you to have a guide in town.  Basically they show you where the Mexican Government Passport Stamping Trailer is located, and watch you drink and have tacos.  Our guide, Gabriel, showed us around and offered to take us to the canyon and a crystal cave near the mouth.  After we had lunch at Falcon's (there are two Falcon's, apparently Jose's brother or cousin opened a restaurant and used the same name), Gabriel drove us out of town and to the canyon.  We passed the original settlement, which was only some rocks scattered.  Above on a hill was a cave used as a jail at one time.  We made it to an area that had recently burned and found the trail to the crystal cave.  The cave itself is about the size of a small kitchen, barely big enough to stand.  It was beautiful and like being inside a geode.  We found dauber and swallow nests. 

We went back into town for another beer.  By this time there were about 15 tourists on the patio overlooking the Rio Grande.  We talked to Lilia and Bernardo, owners of Falcon's.  Lilia is Jose's daughter.  They were extremely accommodating and gracious people.  We were shown some rooms you can rent for the night $20/person.  We checked out the church, bought some curios, stopped by the Government Trailer for one last stamping and headed back to the river.  On the US side we went back into the kiosk and spoke with a customs agent over the video phone and were on our way.

We decided to push back towards Austin, aiming for Seminole Canyon.  My friend was starting a new job on Monday.  We made it to the park passing many many BP trucks on the road and along the side of the road.  We made camp at  8 pm, fell asleep and woke early to a cold front and rain. Quickly packing up, we pointed the truck north and were home by lunch.
It's never too late to be what you might have been-Geroge Elliot

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Offline Cookie

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Re: Sleepy trip January 2014
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2014, 07:15:18 PM »
Very nice! Gotta love the Quemada's :13:
What is your tuna casserole recipe, always looking for new backpacking meals.

~Cookie

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Offline sleepy

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Re: Sleepy trip January 2014
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2014, 08:43:14 AM »
Very nice! Gotta love the Quemada's :13:
What is your tuna casserole recipe, always looking for new backpacking meals.

~Cookie

Basically dehydrated Mac and cheese with either a foil puch of tuna or salmon add jalapeņos (mt olive makes individual seving sizes)topped with a single serving of potato chips.
It's never too late to be what you might have been-Geroge Elliot

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Offline tjavery

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Re: Sleepy trip January 2014
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2014, 11:15:42 AM »
Nice, sweet, short trip!

 


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