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To the South Rim May '10

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Offline TexasAggieHiker

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To the South Rim May '10
« on: May 31, 2010, 11:32:11 AM »
My brother had never been to the park. His wife and him had some vacation time and wanted me to take them out there. So us and a few friends loaded up and headed west. I figured the South Rim over 2+ days would be a good introduction to the park. I've gotten my wife well acquainted to backpacking, but the other four on the trip had never been backpacking. This was also going to be the first trip with my new LX3 camera. By the time we arrived at the park on Friday, got our permits, and had everyone ready to go, it was 5:00 when we hit the trail. Our site for the night was Pinnacles 3. Everyone was all smiles and ready to go!



The first 30-45 minutes were pretty rough on everyone. After being in the truck for 9 hours, and full packs with 2 gallons of water, we were feeling the weight and heat. But we took our time and made sure no one was getting too hot. But eventually the trail became more gentle and we started getting into some trees. Also mother nature decided to help out. Down at the Basin, a couple of the girls had forgotten raincoats at home. Even though there was almost no chance of rain, I told them to go buy a cheap poncho just in case. The guy working at the store asked them if they knew something he didn't when they bought ponchos. We'll apparently we did. About an hour into the hike, clouds gathered and lots of thunder all around. We could see rain off in the distance.





It sprinkled for a while, but not enough to get us wet. But the thunder and lightning was getting closer and closer. The lightning was starting to make me a little nervous, so I found us a nice sheltered spot to take a break. The worst of the lightning blew past us pretty quick. But up through the trees, I could see rain, and a lot of it! We quickly covered our packs and got our ponchos on right as the skies opened up. Then the HAIL started!! Lots of it. Pea size at first and then marble. The ground turned white. The hail only lasted 5 minutes and the rain 15. But it was coming down hard. Too hard to get out the camera and take any pictures. A new and awesome experience.

Two hours after leaving the Basin, we reached the Pinnacles campsite. Nice secluded sites off the trail, but the three are fairly close to each other. But we had the area to our selves, with nice views of the pinnacles and the window through the trees.









After a nice Mountain House dinner, everyone turned in. Day two was to bring Emory, the South Rim and lots of steps!

(to be continue)
« Last Edit: June 01, 2010, 09:21:20 AM by RichardM »

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Offline mule ears

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Re: To the South Rim May '10
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2010, 12:52:47 PM »
Looks great so far.   :eusa_clap:

You had your hands full with 4 rookie hikers, good job.  Looks like you were on the other side of Mile Of Texas' storm.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline MilesOfTexas

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Re: To the South Rim May '10
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2010, 06:58:08 PM »
Great pics and report thus far!  More please!!!  :icon_smile:
"I have an excellent profession, but I don't enjoy it near as much as I do when I am in the heart of the wilderness, surrounded by marvelous creations, and efforting to capture what I see and feel so I may share it with others."

-Me 09/12/2011

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BigBendHiker

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Re: To the South Rim May '10
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2010, 07:21:54 PM »
Great pictures and story.  Looking forward to the rest of the story.



BBH

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Offline Al

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Re: To the South Rim May '10
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2010, 08:23:06 PM »
Very nice and well executed!

Al

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Offline TexasAggieHiker

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Re: To the South Rim May '10
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2010, 09:26:29 PM »
The next morning we got back on the trail about 9:00.  We passed a bunch of birders on the way up.  The Colima's were singing all around. 



We dropped our packs in the bear boxes and headed towards Emory.  The new trail is really nice.  Goes by an amazing overlook down into Boot Canyon and a view of the Boot.  It crosses the old trail three times.  I never saw a sign to point to the Emory campground site.  You really appreciate how nice the new trail is when you get back on the steeper and rocky old trail for the final push to the summit.  A big THANK YOU to all those that did such a great job on the trail.









After Emory, it was time for lunch and a rest.


Back on the trail, we headed through Boot Canyon and towards the South Rim.  Everything was green and bright.  I was really hoping for a bear or even a lion sighting, but it was mid-day and warm.  The chances were slim to none.  But we did see a cool little squirrel.  I was really interested in the water availability along the canyon.  I didn't go down and check out the pipe, but from the trail we could see a large pool of water.  And between the Juniper Canyon trail and the rim, there was a good amount of water.  Some was even flowing between a few pools.  I doubt the water was a result of the previous days storm.  We had been told at Panther Junction that there was some water in the pools, but we had already planned to carry it all, so we stuck to the original plan.  We could have filtered if we had wanted and saved a lot of weight from the start.









The climb to the rim was a nice little challenge.  That final climb through the grassy area was hot, but the reward afterward makes it all worth while.  The group didn't think the view from Emory could be beat.  I just smiled, 'cause I knew what was coming!  They loved it.  We sat around the rim for 30-45 minutes just enjoying the view.  There were a couple of day hikers at the rim when we got there.  They didn't stay long, and other than them, we didn't see anyone else after we left the Emory trail.  One of the day hikers had dropped a handful of redhots.  Made for a great treat for a couple of the girls.  They ate every piece of the ground candy.  LOL 













Back on the trail we were headed to SW3 for the night.  We got to camp around 6, after 9 hours on the trail.  After dinner we sat around on a rock ledge enjoying a few small plastic bottles of adult beverages watching the sun set.  Everyone kept going on about how much they are loving the trip and the park.  They were worried at the beginning of the trip that the whole trip was going to be as hard as the beginning was.  They were already planning their next trips.







After the sun set I turned to crawl into the tent and saw a little green light.


It was a little insect glowing.  Anyone have an idea what it might be?

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Offline badknees

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Re: To the South Rim May '10
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2010, 10:09:38 PM »
Looks like a species of glow worm beetle
Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

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Offline TexasAggieHiker

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Re: To the South Rim May '10
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2010, 07:11:40 PM »
The next morning I woke up a little before 5. I wanted to try taking some star shots with the new camera. The moon had been about three quarters full and set a little after 3, so they gave me about an hour to try and take some shots before it got too light. I took pictures for an hour and then went back to bed and got another hour and half of sleep before everyone started moving around. I've still got to get a lot more practice at shooting and processing. Hopefully it will be a little better conditions for shooting next time.





In this one you see the town of Santa Elena off in distance at first light.


The trip down was pretty uneventful. We stopped at the overlook above the basin and took in the view. We were back at the parking lot before noon. By the time we got down, it was warming up pretty well. We sat on the picnic tables in the shade enjoying snacks and cold drinks.



After a good cool down and rest we decided to drive around and see the sights. We drove down Ross Maxwell and then up Old Maverick with a stop at Castolon. It was a beautiful day, but HOT! We watched the thermostat climb to 108 as we drove around.





















My pathetic attempt at Ansel Adams' shot.


The colors out there are amazing!


From there we headed to The Big Bend Motor Inn for a much needed shower. $2 for a long six minute shower. Then down to Terlingua for the front porch and the Starlight. The Diego Burger was calling my name, but was missing something, so I got them throw on some mushrooms as well. I made a good attempt at the whole thing and made it through most, but not all of it. After dinner we spent an hour or so on the front porch and then went over to La Kiva for a drink. Afterward we went back to the park to throw up the tents for the night and get a few hours of sleep before heading home the next morning.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2010, 08:59:46 PM by RichardM »

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Offline TexasAggieHiker

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Re: To the South Rim May '10
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2010, 07:25:51 PM »
The cactus were blooming pretty will around the park. I was trying to get used to the new camera, so I was trying a bunch of different things with it. I found a really nice and light weight tri-pod at OfficeMax of all places. $15, 50 inches tall, collapsed to about a foot, and only 1 pound. Perfect for strapping to the outside of the pack!!


















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Offline RichardM

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Re: To the South Rim May '10
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2010, 09:01:21 PM »
Love the star shots! Got camera and exposure setting details?

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Offline FatPacker

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Re: To the South Rim May '10
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2010, 10:08:20 PM »
Those are some awesome photos.
Can't wait.
10 days until we are there!
Are we there yet?

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Offline MilesOfTexas

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Re: To the South Rim May '10
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2010, 07:23:53 AM »
Awesome report and photos.  Looks like yall had a lot of fun.  I can't wait until I have enough time to hike to the South Rim for two to three days.
"I have an excellent profession, but I don't enjoy it near as much as I do when I am in the heart of the wilderness, surrounded by marvelous creations, and efforting to capture what I see and feel so I may share it with others."

-Me 09/12/2011

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Offline TexasAggieHiker

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Re: To the South Rim May '10
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2010, 08:53:22 AM »
Thanks for all the compliments everyone.  I appreciate them.

Richard here's the specs for the star shots.  They came out all right.  Not exactly what I wanted, but they're getting there.

ISO: 1600
Exposure: 30.0 sec
Aperture: 2.0


ISO: 800
Exposure: 50.0 sec
Aperture: 2.0


ISO: 800
Exposure: 25.0 sec
Aperture: 2.0

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Offline Lorax

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Re: To the South Rim May '10
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2010, 10:26:42 AM »
Thanks for a great report and photo essay.  The glow worm was awesome.  I've only been out of the park for a few weeks but your photos tell me why I go back to volunteer every winter.

 


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