Big Bend Chat

Big Bend or Bust! => Your Trip Reports => Topic started by: badknees on November 26, 2008, 08:06:08 PM

Title: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: badknees on November 26, 2008, 08:06:08 PM
Can't put together anything much right now but, LGK and I did what we planned and here are a few teasers
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: The Scorpion on November 26, 2008, 08:34:23 PM
nice...caint wait for more....

James
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: homerboy2u on November 26, 2008, 09:37:32 PM
I am already at it, on my TR. I look forward to a lot of pics from yours as well.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: badknees on November 26, 2008, 11:24:01 PM
I am already at it, on my TR. I look forward to a lot of pics from yours as well.

Mine might be a little boring compared to what I have seen of yours!

You guys put together quite an adventure.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: mule ears on November 27, 2008, 06:10:49 AM
BK, can't wait. Looks like you got to Jack's pass and looked down at Domiquez spring, is that right?
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: badknees on November 27, 2008, 09:10:20 AM
BK, can't wait. Looks like you got to Jack's pass and looked down at Domiquez spring, is that right?

That is correct.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: homerboy2u on November 27, 2008, 09:36:05 AM
I am already at it, on my TR. I look forward to a lot of pics from yours as well.

Mine might be a little boring compared to what I have seen of yours!

You guys put together quite an adventure.

 There is absolutely NOTHING boring on this webpage,except......POLITICA!!  :vomit:
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: badknees on November 27, 2008, 10:37:19 AM
I'm going to start this one now but , Thanksgiving, work, etc are going to make this a slow process.

Prelude

LGKnees and I typically do a trip at Thanksgiving and Spring Break, however this year with the number of school days missed in the aftermath of Ike, it didn't appear possible for Thanksgiving. The district finally decided to adjust the schedule later in the year and our trip was on.

The plan was to drive out on Thursday night (21st), camp in the Basin on Friday - get permit, pack, and hit the trail Saturday morning. It seems like no matter how much you plan and how well organized you try to be, the last day at work never goes smoothly and quietly. This time was no exception, but at 12:15 AM we finally rolled out. The overnight via Hwy 90 was fairly uneventful and we slid into the Basin at about 10:30 AM. We immediately grabbed Campsite # 2 and setup.

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6886.jpg)


The Basin Campground was surprisingly quiet and we made our way to the Ranger Station to get a backcountry permit. When we arrived at the station, the store, station and part of the lodge were without power and we told to wait or go to PJ to obtain said permit.


(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6890.jpg)

After the glide down the hill to PJ we made our way around back to the "Permit Office" and were the only people there. It was setup like a command center with whiteboards and tables, ready for the onslaught of Thanksgiving backpackers. We quickly obtained a zone camping permit for 3 nights. Lower Smoky, Dominguez, and Upper Smoky.

The plan was to park at Mule Ears Overlook, hike in and overnight near Smoky Spring on Day 1. Day 2 was to take us up over Jack's Pass and on through Dominguez Spring to settle for the second night at a suitable spot in Fisk Canyon. Day 3 would take us North, then NE into the Smoky Creek drainage, where we would spend our thrird night, before hiking back to Mule Ears Overlook on Day 4. Sounded like a plan!

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/Full track.jpg)

...to be continued




Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: badknees on November 28, 2008, 02:46:47 PM
Day 1

After an early breakfast and a pleasant drive from the Basin to Mule Ears Overlook, we loaded up some final items in our packs and proceeded down the trail. It was a cool, but not cold morning and the trail was devoid of any other hikers. Our first break was at Mule Ears Spring, and not surprisingly it was full and flowing. We rested awhile and listened to the steady sound of water while contemplating what the rest of the day/s would bring.


(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6900.jpg)


A quick shot of the old rock corral looking back toward the SW

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6904.jpg)


After a brief rest, LG Knees and I headed past the spring and bisected the drainages that would eventually lead us uphill to the escarpment that overlooks the braided washes of Smoky Creek. We again rested here for a while and looked out across the creek in the direction of our destination for Day 1... Smoky Spring.

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6907.jpg)

Once down the escarpment and across the low rolling hills, we reached the braided wash and the big cairns that mark the beginning of the Smoky Creek trail. Knowing that a 105 deg heading would lead us toward Smoky Spring, we took off, up and out of the wash directly toward the spring. In retrospect, it would be far easier to travel downstream and enter the wash that leads to the spring. We did a little bushwhacking and a few short detours, but eventually ended up in the wash just below the spring.

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6911.jpg)


(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6910.jpg)

Water was flowing/seeping over a small pouroff below the spring and we continued above the spring and found a suitable place to set up camp for the night. Dinner was in order, so we fired up the JetBoil and did the Stroganoff thing....I think that has become my favorite MH meal

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6929.jpg)

We explored the general area around out campsite, drank cups of hot sweet tea, and settled into our bags early and watched the stars. It was great to be able to laugh, and tell jokes, and listen to LGKs without the daily distractions. Life was good!

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6931.jpg)


(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6934.jpg)


(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6950.jpg)



We had travelled 5.2 miles that day and achieved our goal. Little did we know that tomorrow would be significantly different than today. But ignorance was bliss and we slept like babes....

........to be continued





Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: badknees on November 29, 2008, 03:12:29 PM
Day 2

We both had a pleasant night's sleep after counting satellites and shooting stars in a cloudless sky. We knew that today would be a tough hike.... mostly off trail in the wash above Smoky Spring and then off trail up over Jack's Pass and down again to Dominguez.

The beginning of the hike was pretty brushy and overgrown just above Smoky Spring, but after about 1/4 mile, it opened back up to a sandy, gravelly wash with easy walking. After about 2 miles we came headlong into our first (but not toughest) obstacle of the day.......a 15' pouroff stared us in the face. We managed, without too much difficulty, to circumvent it by climbing up and out of the wash on the right side and continued on the trek.

We continued on up the canyon seeing deer on the slopes way above us. They were very skittish, as though they had never seen people before and climbed higher on the slopes as we passed. This canyon is typical of the Quemadas, winding steep walled and remote. Very peaceful and quiet as if we were the only people in the world.

Without too much confusion after 3.4 miles, we reached the junction of the wash that led to Jack's Pass. My first impression was dismay. Although it wasn't exceptionally steep, or terribly far, the path was choked with rocks and brush. We struggled threading our way through cactus, rocks, sotol and lechuguilla and after about an hour managed to make our way to the top of the pass. Total distance from bottom to to was only 0.5 miles with an elevation change of about 380 ft.

I didn't take any pics on the way up (It was hard enough just getting there) but below is looking back down from whence we came. You can just make out a fence post in the lower left of the photo. This was just one along a line going up to the pass. I assume that this was built by the Fisk family.


(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6955.jpg)


This was our approximate path
(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6957.jpg)


Looking back toward Mule Ears and Santa Elena from the pass
(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6959.jpg)

On top of the pass looking toward Elephant Tusk

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6963.jpg)


(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6954.jpg)


We could see Dominguez Spring below us and knew what we had to do, but the path was going to be difficult. The path down was VERY steep, rocky, brushy and gashed by a at least one deep gully.

Taking a well deserved rest and the time to survey our path down, we eventually came up with a plan and started on down.

I must admit that this was a physically challenging and slow trek that needed the utmost care and patience. It took about an hour but we eventually reached the lower slope after descending about 880' over about 1 mile. We then followed an old fenceline until we could drop into the wash that led to the Spring.

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6966.jpg)

By the time we reached the spring we encountered a impenetrable thicket and decided we did not have the energy to go around it that day. We were both whipped after only 5.6 miles. Total elapsed time from Smoky Spring was 7:43. The total elevation change for the day was over 2300 ft. (1400 up, and more than 900 back down). We set up camp and checked out the wounds.


(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6968.jpg)

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6973.jpg)

Our original plan was to move on through Dominguez that day and make camp in Fisk Canyon a mile or so North of Dominguez. Since there was water available near our location and considering what we had just done, we called it a day. Although the views are great from the pass, it is not an easy hike for an old guy with bad knees a little girl with good ones.

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6979.jpg)


(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/JacksProfile.jpg)

We had a good hearty MH meal, pumped some water, rehydrated and turned in early..exhausted.

I had a fitful night sleeping, knowing we would have to get through or around the Spring in the morning and make up the 2 or so miles we came up short on this day.

Jeff Blaylock was also doing a trip at the same time as we were and was planning to do Jack's Pass in the opposite direction of us. We had the possibilty of crossing paths the next day, either in, or North of Fisk Canyon. I wouldn't want to climb Jack's Pass from the Dominguez side and would give him my impressions if we crossed paths. That never did happen and I'm curious if he did that climb and what he thought of it?

Although we knew that we had a long day ahead of us tomorrow, Fisk Canyon should be pretty easy travelling and we were confident we could make our 3rd night campsite without too much difficulty, however........Big Bend is full of surprises.......... ....

...to be continued
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: Ray52 on November 29, 2008, 06:23:35 PM
For beginners and to state the obvious, this is a fantastic trip report.  How cool it must be to share this experience with your daughter.  My son begged me to take him backpacking when he was 9-10 years younger and probably about her age but I was afraid my own "bad knees" wouldn't hold up.  I finally tested them a few years ago and know I just have to deal with the pain.  Now I just need to get him back on board. He graduates in May and I think we'll be able to plan a trip, but for now I'm sure enjoying your experience and looking forward to the next installments.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: jeffblaylock on November 29, 2008, 08:34:48 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!
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: badknees on November 29, 2008, 09:34:58 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?
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: jeffblaylock on November 29, 2008, 09:51:00 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):

(http://www.jeffblaylock.com/pix/jackspass.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: aggiehiker on November 29, 2008, 10:34:13 PM
You are so lucky to have a daughter that wants to hike with you! My daughter started camping and paddling with me at 8 years and lasted through high school, but I never could get her out hiking. That bond you develop is really something special and will help a lot when she hits high school and boys!!
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: Al 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):

(http://www.jeffblaylock.com/pix/jackspass.jpg)

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 
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: jeffblaylock 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.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: badknees 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):

(http://www.jeffblaylock.com/pix/jackspass.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: badknees 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.

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6982.jpg)

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

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6986.jpg)

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
(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6988.jpg)

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

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6997.jpg)


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.

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6994.jpg)


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.

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6995.jpg)

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!

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6998.jpg)

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"

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC6999.jpg)

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC7000.jpg)


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.

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC7005.jpg)


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

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC7007.jpg)

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC7008.jpg)

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC7009.jpg)

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

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/Day3Profile.jpg)


to be continued.......










Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: homerboy2u 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.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: badknees 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.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: bdann on November 30, 2008, 06:27:19 PM
mmmm...beef stroganoff.... :icon_lol:   Great report badknees!
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: Goldilocks 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:

Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: mule ears 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.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: TheWildWestGuy 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
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: jeffblaylock 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?
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: 01ACRViper 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:
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: badknees 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

Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: badknees 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)
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: jeffblaylock 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.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: badknees on December 01, 2008, 11:25:03 PM
Day 4

After a cool, pleasant night, I awoke with a nagging throb in my left knee, and knew that the final leg into Mule Ears and my truck was going to hurt. 800 mg of Ibuprofen washed down with a quart of water, 2 Pop tarts, and were were ready to go. Since it was early and cool and it wasn't far to ME Spring, we dumped all our water except 3 quarts and headed on the lazy downhill walk to the junction of ME trail ad the climb up the escarpment out of Smoky Creek.


Pictures are a little scarce on this leg (because of my leg), but we followed water for about 1 1/2 miles below our campsite and well outside the canyons the before it finally disappeared into the gravel of Smoky Creek.


Some of you who have hiked Smoky may recognize this spot, but probably have not seen it with a waterfall.

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC7012.jpg)


(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC7011.jpg)


(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC7016.jpg)

The trek to the escarpment was quick and not overly painful, and the slog up the escarpment was slow but one step at a time gets you up the hill. We cruised into Mule Ears Spring after a short rest on the escarpment and then made the final assault on the small rise toward the terminus of the trail.

It was with a sense of accomplishment that we both gave a sigh of relief as we shrugged of the packs that had burdened us for the last 4 days. I gave LGKs a big hug and thanked her for being such a great and strong partner as well as being a wonderful daughter.

We had a couple of cold Capri-Sun lemonades from an ice chest in my truck and headed IMMEDIATELY to Study Butte for a shower and change of clothes.

After the shower (worth it at 5 x's the price) we headed to PJ to turn in our permit and up to the lodge for lunch.

I had the BBR Cheesburger and 3 glasses of tea, and LGK had the Cheeseburger off the kid's menu. Her burger was exactly like mine and she ate every bit + french fries and 2 glasses of Sprite....maybe I should feed her more on the trail.

We headed back to the Basin for our last night and spent the afternoon getting rid of trash and cleaning things for our departure the next morning. That evening we spent an hour together watching 2 episodes of the "Gilmore Girls" on a portable DVD player before sleeping in a real bed (inflatable) with real pillows in our big tent at the Basin. Felt like a 5 star hotel, but after being in the Quemadas, it seemed a bit crowded and noisy.

The next morning we packed up early and were given a great Big Bend sunrise send-off before we headed back to Houston.

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/_DSC7023.jpg)

What a beautiful way to head home.

We arrived back in Houston via Hwy 90/ I-10 the night before Thanksgiving, tired from the drive and physical effort of our hike, but my mind was clear and my soul refreshed.

So is the life of an addicted Bender.


For those who are interested in such things... Gas was cheaper ($2.14) at PJ, than it was in Marathon ($2.22) and I picked up a tank in Del Rio for $1.43 (Chevron)


Below is the elevation profile for the entire loop. If anyone needs any tracks let me know.

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/BigBendFall2008/images/EntireProfile.jpg)

Thanks for reading, I hope I didn't ramble too much!

Moderator note: I have no idea why I'm still seeing all of the blank space below....I'm betting it has to do with the resized images...
Great report and pics, BTW!
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: Al on December 01, 2008, 11:37:10 PM
BK, you are among the very few when it comes to, not only a great trip report but, great trips!

Thanks!
Al
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: badknees on December 01, 2008, 11:50:01 PM
BK, you are among the very few when it comes to, not only a great trip report but, great trips!

Thanks!
Al

Thanks...You're next
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: Al on December 01, 2008, 11:58:38 PM
BK, I'm not in your league but next trip is scheduled in January and I'll at least post a few pictures with succinct narrative, which will no doubt pale in comparison . . .

Al
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: homerboy2u on December 02, 2008, 12:55:22 AM
Quote from: Badknees wrote:
Thanks for reading, I hope I didn't ramble too much!

 Ramble?....ha!, thank you Se?or Badknees for inspiring both of my oldest daughters to do a hike in the near future. A more than fantastic trip report, as expected of you.

 A bow in recognition and my hat off in respect...:eusa_clap: :eusa_clap:

Muchas Gracias.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: mule ears on December 02, 2008, 07:43:45 AM
Great trip report and I am glad you two made it the whole way.  LGK is indeed a lucky girl. While I was out camping before I could walk, I didn't carry a pack for an overnight until I was 13. Keep her at it and she will be much better for it through her whole life!  :eusa_clap: Thanks.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: jeffblaylock on December 02, 2008, 07:45:17 AM
I think it's safe to say you kept your rambling to the trail (and off-trail).  :icon_smile:

Love that last sunrise pic -- what a great send-off. It was every bit as beautiful from Dominguez Spring, where Ay Chihuahua! and I viewed it.

And isn't it wonderful to eat a meal off of a plate, instead of out of a bag?

Great trip! Too bad we crossed your path like ships passing in the night, but your two sets of footprints were our cairns at times.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: Robert on December 02, 2008, 10:33:20 AM
What a great trip report. I'm so glad that you had the chance to make this hike and had a good time. This was almost exactly the same hike that I did several years ago. We had done a scouting trip previously and hiked the Smokey Creek to Fisk Canyon route so were prepared for the pouroffs.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: russco on December 02, 2008, 05:05:58 PM
Great trip report! Can't wait until my girls and I gain enough experience to get out like that!! Thanks and Cheers!
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: Lorax on December 02, 2008, 05:37:35 PM
A great trip report.  LGK is a lucky girl and a good sport too.  You both have a great relationship.  The time I get to hike with my sons is the best.  Keep trekking and enjoying each others company.

Ted
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: TexasGirl on December 02, 2008, 09:59:02 PM
Thanks for posting this great trip report Badknee's it makes me want to go right now!  ... TWWG

Me too...but a bit more of a pipe dream than for some of my compadres. 

This has been so cool to read BK/LGK's report and Jeff's one after another.  How neat to know that you were 'so close and yet so far' from each other, and especially for Jeff and AyChi to find BK's & LGK's footprints. 
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: badknees on December 03, 2008, 12:01:49 PM
Thanks for posting this great trip report Badknee's it makes me want to go right now!  ... TWWG

Me too...but a bit more of a pipe dream than for some of my compadres. 

This has been so cool to read BK/LGK's report and Jeff's one after another.  How neat to know that you were 'so close and yet so far' from each other, and especially for Jeff and AyChi to find BK's & LGK's footprints. 

We had mixed feelings about running into Jeff and Chi. On one hand we wanted to meet them and on the other we we really enjoying the solitude.

We missed crossing paths by about an hour, but in the Quemadas the bootprints were the only sign. I'm glad it gave Jeff and Chi a "trail of breadcrumbs"
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: tjavery on December 03, 2008, 12:20:15 PM
Great report and photos. I enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: Ay Chihuahua! on December 03, 2008, 12:38:24 PM
badknees,

I really enjoyed reading your report.  While I don't know you or your daughter, I thought about the two of you quite a bit as I followed your backwards footprints.  You are truly blessed to have a daughter and even more so that she enjoys going on these trips with you.  Too bad we just barely missed one another, but like you said, the solitude was something to embrace.

BTW, did LGK happen to loose a glove on Jack's Pass?  I found a white ladies fleece glove on our way up the East side.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: badknees on December 03, 2008, 02:44:24 PM
Chi,

Thanks.

I've enjoyed your photos as well and we talked about you guys during our trek too. We kept thinking you might show up around the next turn in the wash. We also were trying to figure out how hard it was going to be for you guys to climb up Jack's Pass. We wanted to warn you about all the grass burrs in Fisk canyon, and give you water reports so you could travel light.

LGKs didn't lose a white glove, she had brown ones with her. Must have been some other crazy climbing Jack's pass!

With best regards,

BK and LGKs
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: chisos_muse on December 03, 2008, 03:11:48 PM
Very nice, BK. I have a feeling that sunrise pic is going to be on the next calendar....  :eusa_clap:

Great report and photos and your adventures remind me of me & my Dad when I was LGK's age. Good stuff.  :icon_cool:
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: jeffblaylock on December 03, 2008, 03:13:49 PM
We wanted to warn you about all the grass burrs in Fisk canyon ...

 :evil:

The single worst part of the week. And by "single" I mean THOUSANDS. Didn't help that I took a face-plant into a whole bushel of them -- another high moment not captured on camera, thankfully.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: RichardM on December 03, 2008, 03:20:10 PM
We wanted to warn you about all the grass burrs in Fisk canyon ...

 :evil:

The single worst part of the week. And by "single" I means THOUSANDS. Didn't help that I took a face-plant into a whole bushel of them -- another high moment not captured on camera, thankfully.
Dang, Ay Chi, doncha know ya gotta keep that camera ready at all times! Practice your quick draw before your next trip.
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: catz on December 03, 2008, 03:27:43 PM
What a beautiful trip.  Thanks so much for sharing it with us.   :eusa_dance:
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: badknees on December 03, 2008, 03:33:50 PM
Very nice, BK. I have a feeling that sunrise pic is going to be on the next calendar....  :eusa_clap:

Great report and photos and your adventures remind me of me & my Dad when I was LGK's age. Good stuff.  :icon_cool:

Thanks Ms. Muse
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: Ay Chihuahua! on December 03, 2008, 05:21:21 PM
We wanted to warn you about all the grass burrs in Fisk canyon ...

 :evil:

The single worst part of the week. And by "single" I means THOUSANDS. Didn't help that I took a face-plant into a whole bushel of them -- another high moment not captured on camera, thankfully.
Dang, Ay Chi, doncha know ya gotta keep that camera ready at all times! Practice your quick draw before your next trip.
Yeah, I hear ya, but I simply couldn't do it to the old man.  Besides, I had those damn burrs stuck all over me as well and was too busy trying to get them off when the face planting occurred.  Actually, the cover shot would have been JB stuck in the quick sand.  That was a sight to behold...he-he...but I dropped the ball there too.   :eusa_doh:
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: TheWildWestGuy on December 14, 2008, 08:56:37 PM
I have found the best way to get the burrs off is to use a common hair comb to get underneath them and comb them out.   This only works when they are fresh and haven't been ground-in or balled-up.   Gaitors help a lot to keep them out of your boot laces and socks. TWWG
Title: Re: Trip Nov 21-26th
Post by: dprather on September 23, 2017, 02:26:26 PM
Thanks for the exceptional report and the details.