Big Bend Conservancy
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Here is a brief opinion about water sources on the OML:- Boot Canyon Tinajas - reliable but often algae choked, biggest tinajas are ~1/2 mile up from Juniper Canyon Junction.- Upper Juniper Springs - 90% reliable but often overlooked, when you get to the treeline in Juniper Canyon and see the metal sign saying Juniper Camp, take the short side trail and stay on the uphill side of any branches until you find the cement ruins, the small spring is located under a large boulder about 200 feet uphill, follow the muddy slope to it, clean the leaves out of the small rock bowl and enjoy.- Dodson Spring 95% reliable, follow the metal pipe ~30' up from the trail crossing to the spring, often muddy and small but you can get water there or just keep going to Fresno.- Fresno 100% reliable, best water is 200 yards downstream from the trail crossing in the slickrock canyon.- Smokey Creek - 80% reliable, small spring located ~15 minutes hike down the Smokey Creek Trail from the Dodson/Smokey junction. This spring is located almost immediately below the "3 Dog" campsite but there is a short cliff in between so go around on the main trail.-Blue Creek Homer Wilson Ranch, has a big bear box that you can cache water in, you should put your name and the date you intend to retrieve the water on your bottles/cache. Volunteers collect trash and unclaimed items out of the bear box and check for unclaimed water. In the past things might sit in there for months but now they seem to check it regularly.If you do make the OML please post a trip report or water information. TWWGRead more: http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/hiking-the-desert/oml-starting-mar-29-t9189.0.html#ixzz0lITe2nAY
Thanks and I'll try to get some picture on soon.
This was a great report that should be a mandatory read for all first timers on the OML. Sounds like the two you met who ran low on water were ill prepared for this hike. Its no wonder the park asks all kinds of questions when getting a permit. I'm still trying to figure out what they needed to be rescued from. It is easy to see how people can get into trouble on this hike. Even when you have done your research it is still possible to miss a turn or walk by a water source (or even forget to fill up when you need to). This recap also reinforces what others have said about the dangers of hiking this trail in late spring and summer.
Although I was smart enough to take a good part of the first day off at the Wilson ranch, I feel my big mistake was not topping off at Fresno Creek. I could have fully rehydrated there and left there with 7-8 liters of water. I would have to say one gallon per person per day was totally insufficient and could have easily used over 2 gallons on day 2 alone.
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