Big Bend Conservancy
Vgeh, again, I have to say I am so impressed with your skill and hardiness. You are one tough, tough hiker. I don't think I could do what you do. I've already commented in an earlier thread on what an amazing accomplishment your GUMO peaks hike was, and I'm almost as impressed with your BIBE hike. The thing that really stands out is that you never take the easy way, you always take the path you find most interesting, no matter how hard it may be. Well done!One thing I noticed in your linked report: the graphical pie chart shows 0.0oz for clothing. I know you're an ultralighter, but did you really hike naked?
His zero weight was for clothing worn so it is not included in his base weight but it lists what he wore. Super minimal pack and weight but if you are going to knock of 20 mile days that is what is required. vgeh, you certainly hit the weather just right, not too hot or cold. Your barely 5 liters of water was cutting it close but if not too hot and not cooking then one can get by.I would love to hear the ranger/permit story. I am sure that he couldn't believe that you could do that kind of mileage. My guess is his last name was Smith. Most folks can't or don't but many certainly do. Good job and thanks for the report. As Skurka would say you are an Ultimate Hiker and not an Ultimate Camper. You would also follow his motto of CFP (constant forward progress). Thanks for coming back and giving us a report, well done!
I don't blame and understand the rangers caution because unfortunately there are a lot of people who come to Big Bend and are totally clueless and unprepared for what it is like and they do have to do quite a few rescues.
Vgeh, I too am an introvert and always prefer solo hiking. And though I could never match your strength and endurance, I completely understand your choices. I'm impressed with the way you handled your permitting process. My grandmother always told me, "you get more flies with honey than with vinegar". That might get lost in translation, but basically it means "a pleasant attitude will get you farther than a foul one". I'm sure you'll read a lot of folks commenting here about what jerks the rangers were. But I think you've put your experience with the rangers into the proper context. However, I will say that the rangers cannot, according to edict, mandate that you fill out a solo hiker form. It's entirely optional on your part. Nor can they, to the best of my knowledge, deny you a backcountry permit as long as you agree to abide by all the applicable regulations. That said, I believe you handled yourself quite well and certainly accomplished all you said you could. The Chief Ranger's confidence in you was well justified. Each time a hiker like you - accomplished, prepared, organized, and fit - completes their ambitious permitted hike, it provides more evidence of what's possible in the backcountry of Big Bend. Thanks for stretching the fenceline for the rest of us. p.s. - please do send a note to Chief Ranger Lisa. It can't hurt and will probably help. .
Great story vgeh! Like HMoD said you handled it well and for the most part I don't blame and understand the rangers caution because unfortunately there are a lot of people who come to Big Bend and are totally clueless and unprepared for what it is like and they do have to do quite a few rescues. The interesting thing to me is that I have 1) never been around back to the permit room and 2) have never had a ranger question any of my trip plans but maybe it is because I am older and now have graying hair. Like you I do have exact information about zones and routes and water sources so that helps. I would have told them what water sources you planned on because the idea of carrying enough water for a long trip is foolish and impossible and they should see through that but often don't because that is the answer they want to hear.I am also mostly on the hiker side but do enjoy camp time but at the end of a long day. I also usually hike with at least one person so you have to coordinate styles and morning and evening practices. Like most solo hikers, when alone, I tend to get up and get going earlier and then just walk and walk until near dark and then stop, always results in higher mileage days. As you know the secret to high mileage days is not speed but just grinding out the hours, 10 hours or hiking at 2 mph is...20 miles.My main take away from Skurka's CFP is that he hates back tracking on any route or day, classic thru hiker mentality, I know AT thru hikers who don't walk out to view spots because it is not getting them on down the main trail. No rose smelling for them, just CFP.Thanks again for the report and stories, best of luck on you future walks.
Enjoyed both trip reports. You are a monster hiker. Wish I was in that kind of shape!I don't have a terrible opinion of rangers as I do understand they have to deal with people that have no idea what they are doing. I have had some less than stellar interactions with them before. More like a lot of them (mostly at GUMO) don't really seem interested in talking. Which is okay I guess. I feel foolish for it now but I also lied about how much water I carried with me on the OML so that they wouldn't ask questions. Overall, my recent ranger experience at BB was fairly positive. Not the most friendly person I've ever talked to but not bad at all.
When I told her I need permit for such and such zones, I could see the change in her facial expressions. I was little worried now and wasn't sure If I would get the permit or not. The rangers started to share all the scary stories and some of them were, "No one ever hiked from Mule Ears to Mariscal zone in a day in my 7 years experience here", "BB is very remote", "People often die in desert underestimating BB", "No one will come looking for you if something happens", "You are asking for a death wish" and etc.. She called someone and asked for help. This person is the Chief Ranger(Lisa) and she asked about my itinerary. When I told just the zones, the Chief Ranger(CR) asked for more details. About how I am going to Mariscal from Mule Ears and such. The CR specifically asked how I plan to get back to Dominguez from Mule ears and to Mule Ears from Dodson and how I am going to manage water.
The CR told the ranger that she is okay with issuing my permit!
I would say my permit experience was not a bad one.
there are a lot of people who come to Big Bend and are totally clueless and unprepared for what it is like and they do have to do quite a few rescues.
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