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Trip Nov 21-26th

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Offline Al

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Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2008, 11:10:45 PM »
We thought we saw y'all's bootprints as we made our way the opposite direction. We frequently saw two distinctly different-sized prints tracking together. Glad you guys had a great trip!

How was your ascent up to Jack's Pass?

It's a tough climb. We went up to the right (so the opposite side y'all came down):



With about 100 vertical feet to go, Ay Chihuahua! and I split up, each taking a route we were more comfortable with. He went up the gully and then cut across, while I dropped sharply down into it, climbed out of it, and then huffed it straight up the gut. We considered the route y'all took but concluded (from our vantage point at the old dam) that the rock outcrops would produce tough scrambling. We crossed the wash just below the spring and never recrossed it until the very end. Thus we mostly avoided the heavy brush.

Jeff, it's incredible how you're able to plot your paths on a photo.  Very well done!  From an armchair it suggests one can plot a better path from the bottom than the top because you can see where you have to go instead of discovering what you couldn't see. But then again judgment is involved.

Al 

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2008, 12:04:13 AM »
Jeff, it's incredible how you're able to plot your paths on a photo.  Very well done!  From an armchair it suggests one can plot a better path from the bottom than the top because you can see where you have to go instead of discovering what you couldn't see. But then again judgment is involved.

Al 

You're right. We could see it better. I suspect we would have tracked the same way the Kneeses did had we started from the pass, since the last pitch I followed up would not have been my choice for the way down. Both routes have their pluses and minuses. But that's one of the things to keep in mind when there's no trail designed for easy access: the way up and the way down may be very different paths.

As for plotting against the picture, I'm doing it from memory. I may adjust it once I look more closely at the GPS track. I know we made for the greenish outcrop (above and to the right of "Jeff's ascent"), where we rested a bit before making our assault on the pass. From there, we cut straight up until we reached that diagonal gash, where we chose different paths to the top.
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline badknees

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Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2008, 07:49:34 AM »
We thought we saw y'all's bootprints as we made our way the opposite direction. We frequently saw two distinctly different-sized prints tracking together. Glad you guys had a great trip!

How was your ascent up to Jack's Pass?

It's a tough climb. We went up to the right (so the opposite side y'all came down):



With about 100 vertical feet to go, Ay Chihuahua! and I split up, each taking a route we were more comfortable with. He went up the gully and then cut across, while I dropped sharply down into it, climbed out of it, and then huffed it straight up the gut. We considered the route y'all took but concluded (from our vantage point at the old dam) that the rock outcrops would produce tough scrambling. We crossed the wash just below the spring and never recrossed it until the very end. Thus we mostly avoided the heavy brush.

Jeff, it's incredible how you're able to plot your paths on a photo.  Very well done!  From an armchair it suggests one can plot a better path from the bottom than the top because you can see where you have to go instead of discovering what you couldn't see. But then again judgment is involved.

Al 

Al/Jeff/Chi,

I agree. The view from the top of the pass looking down was limited. From our vantage point on top of the pass, it was not possible to see what was beyond the gully on the left or the outcrop. We adjusted as our view opened up on the way down.

Either way would be tough.
Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

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Offline badknees

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Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2008, 12:40:30 PM »
Day 3

After a fitful nights sleep we awoke to a glorious morning. Cool but not cold with the sun breaking over the Quemadas to the SE.



Because we knew that to stick to our plan, and try to make up some lost mileage, we only briefly climbed the bluff and glanced at the old rock house at Dominguez. We then dropped back into the wash and rounded the southern tip of the ridge that defines the western wall of Fisk Canyon



Within mere yards of entering the canyon, we encountered a clear flowing stream traversing the gravel floor of the wash.

Looking south just inside Fisk Canyon


We didn't know it at the time, but this stream would be with us almost continuously for the next 2 miles or so.




The canyon is extremely well watered with persimmon, grapevines, Mexican buckeye, and Mexican walnut. During our passage we also were cursed with an ubiquitous grass burr that attached itself to every piece of exposed clothing. This plague of burrs lasted until we reached the end of the canyon and beyond as we spent the evening picking them off of EVERYTHING.




The unamed peaked marked 5386' on the Emory Peak topo watched over us from the NW and was with us during our transit through the canyon.



The walk was relatively easy through out the canyon with only minor pouroffs and small rock piles which were all washed by a small tumbling stream. As we approached the northern end of the canyon and made our turn slowly to the WNW, the character of the canyon changed from a lush watered oasis to a more typical sotol/grassland environment.

As we climbed slowly higher into the narrowing wash, we came upon our first obstacle of the about 3.7 miles into the day. In front of us was a 10 ft pouroff that forced us to climb up and out of the wash on the right hand side. It was pretty steep and slowed us down a little but we went around it without incident.

The wash continued to climb and within another 150 yds or so we encountered another pouroff to be bypassed. This one was more difficult and involved a climb high out of the wash for a couple hundred yards before being able to drop back down in the wash and continue.

About 3/4 mile of ever narrowing and climbing wash we finally reached a point to climb out and go cross country over a small saddle that separates the Fisk/Dominguez drainage from the Smoky Creek drainage. Although this was a short transit, it was typical cross country in Big Bend ....thorny.

Eventually we began to descend gently and spied a junction of 2 small washes that opened into a bigger wash that would lead to the main Smoky Creek drainage. We entered this wash and believed that we had easy sailing the rest of the way to Smoky Creek.

As I said, Big Bend always surprises, and about 9/10 mile down the wash we had another stinkin' pouroff to climb around. Well.... I'm about wore out by this time, but we circle the pouroff and hope it is the last one of the day.


It was the last pouroff and with about 1/4 mile we arrived at the junction of the "official" Smoky Creek trail. Someone had built a little dam in the creek and backed up a nice pool of clear, cold water. What a welcome sight!



We rested a while, soaked our bandanas, and cooled our sweaty heads before moving on downstream to our eventual resting place for the night.

Behind us we left the wash entrance that connected to the Fisk drainage and moved on toward the Smoky "crossover"






The "crossover" is marked by a wooden sign in a sharp bend in the wash and leads up over a saddle to the man Smoky drainage. Although it is not long, it is quite steep and by the time we reached the other side we were about depleted. We knew we had the one "big pouroff" to go around and then about 1/2 mile to go before we could rest.

We finally made our intended campsite after passing by water almost continuously for the final 1/4 mile.




Dinner, rest, hot sweet tea, picking grass burrs and a beautiful sunset finished up a long hard day.







We had travelled 9.7 miles during this day and I felt it. My left knee was starting to react to the abuse of the last 3 days and tomorrow would be a painful 6.5 miles back to Mule Ears

Day 3 profile




to be continued.......










« Last Edit: January 28, 2010, 06:53:33 PM by badknees »
Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
http://mirrormagic.com

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Offline homerboy2u

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Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2008, 04:35:25 PM »
Quote from: Badknees wrote:
My left knee was starting to react to the abuse of the last 3 days and tomorrow would be a painful 6.5 miles back to Mule Ears

 It looks as thought the nickname started to earn his reputation,what is the price of pain vs. a terrific trip with your daughter?.........keep it coming BK.
Stay thirsty, my friends.

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Offline badknees

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Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2008, 06:17:50 PM »
Quote from: Badknees wrote:
My left knee was starting to react to the abuse of the last 3 days and tomorrow would be a painful 6.5 miles back to Mule Ears

 It looks as thought the nickname started to earn his reputation,what is the price of pain vs. a terrific trip with your daughter?.........keep it coming BK.

Yes, I still feel it, but it was still worth it. Hooray for Ibuprofen.
Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
http://mirrormagic.com

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Offline bdann

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Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2008, 06:27:19 PM »
mmmm...beef stroganoff.... :icon_lol:   Great report badknees!
WATER, It does a body good.

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Offline Goldilocks

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Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2008, 06:29:26 PM »
BK,

This is a great trip report!  I am enjoying reading about your adventures with your daughter and I am sure you have made some lifetime memories with her. 

Great pictures as well!   :eusa_clap:


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Offline mule ears

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Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
« Reply #23 on: November 30, 2008, 06:51:50 PM »
Yes, I still feel it, but it was still worth it. Hooray for Ibuprofen.

You can say that again, I just returned from my annual Thanksgiving trip with bit of dodgy knee. I will be in Big Bend in two weeks from today and the knee has to be perfect, Ibuprofen is indeed great stuff.

Can't wait to read the rest of the trip.
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Offline TheWildWestGuy

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Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2008, 08:26:56 PM »
Thanks for posting this great trip report Badknee's it makes me want to go right now!  I have been pondering doing this route - I like the idea of a big loop with no vehicle shuttle and a mix of trail and cross country.  It's also nice that it has plenty of water so you don't have to carry so much.   Your daughter is very lucky to have a dad like you, I think most of us wish our parents had taken us out on these type of adventures.   Your a rare breed - especially for Houston... TWWG

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2008, 08:38:20 PM »
Quote
It was the last pouroff and with about 1/4 mile we arrived at the junction of the "official" Smoky Creek trail. Someone had built a little dam in the creek and backed up a nice pool of clear, cold water. What a welcome sight!

We reached that spot at 3 p.m. on the 24th. Probably didn't miss y'all by much. We were slowed by a 45-minute bushwhack from another branch of Smoky Creek. Had we known about the cutoff trail you guys ended up taking, maybe we would have run into you there?
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline 01ACRViper

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Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
« Reply #26 on: December 01, 2008, 10:02:01 PM »
great report, i'm itching to get out there so badly! now there is no doubt we'll be doing a SQ hike this year. looking forward to the next installment  :eusa_clap:

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Offline badknees

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Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
« Reply #27 on: December 01, 2008, 10:20:58 PM »
Thanks for posting this great trip report Badknee's it makes me want to go right now!  I have been pondering doing this route - I like the idea of a big loop with no vehicle shuttle and a mix of trail and cross country.  It's also nice that it has plenty of water so you don't have to carry so much.   Your daughter is very lucky to have a dad like you, I think most of us wish our parents had taken us out on these type of adventures.   Your a rare breed - especially for Houston... TWWG

Thanks for the kind words.

There was an amazing amount of water, especially Fisk Canyon

Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
http://mirrormagic.com

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Offline badknees

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Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
« Reply #28 on: December 01, 2008, 10:32:55 PM »
Quote
It was the last pouroff and with about 1/4 mile we arrived at the junction of the "official" Smoky Creek trail. Someone had built a little dam in the creek and backed up a nice pool of clear, cold water. What a welcome sight!

We reached that spot at 3 p.m. on the 24th. Probably didn't miss y'all by much. We were slowed by a 45-minute bushwhack from another branch of Smoky Creek. Had we known about the cutoff trail you guys ended up taking, maybe we would have run into you there?

Jeff,

I checked my tracklog and we arrived at the little dammed up pool of water a few minutes before 2:00 PM.

I assume you went up the wash that we came down?(Directly adjacent to the little dam)
Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
http://mirrormagic.com

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
« Reply #29 on: December 01, 2008, 10:39:06 PM »
Jeff,

I checked my tracklog and we arrived at the little dammed up pool of water a few minutes before 2:00 PM.

I assume you went up the wash that we came down?(Directly adjacent to the little dam)

Yes, we traced your path in the opposite direction. Looks like we missed you by about an hour  :icon_frown: but it meant we saw no one for four days.
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

 


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