Weekend Wanderings in West Texas: Photo Essay
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Feb 10, 2015 at 2:51 pm #1325616Stephanie JordanSpectator
@maiaLocale: Rocky Mountains
Companion forum thread to:Feb 10, 2015 at 3:02 pm #2173198Michael LBPL Member
Good work on highlighting a little used portion of the great state of Texas.Feb 10, 2015 at 4:45 pm #2173243royo royoSpectator
Great trip reports. The Chisos mountains in big bend national park and the Davis mountains are also nice non-flat destinations in west Texas. The Davis mountains are more of a day hiking spot as a lot of the land is private ranchland with no public access.Feb 10, 2015 at 8:25 pm #2173315
Thanks I have been exploring Big Bend a bit lately. Its a bit farther for a weekend trip but amazing enough to justify the drive.Feb 11, 2015 at 11:14 am #2173462Simon KentonBPL Member
Beautiful photos Luke, thanks for sharing. My avatar is atop Hunter's Peak looking towards Guadalupe. Great countryFeb 11, 2015 at 12:05 pm #2173484Dean F.BPL Member
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
"Due to drought, springs and creeks are off limits to humans." Seriously? How much water to they suppose that humans drink? I mean, that's trivial.Feb 11, 2015 at 1:20 pm #2173512HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
That's always been the case in far West TX, … they basically do not want the wildlife to be driven off by humans at the watering hole. Livestock can use windmill drive water-tanks.
Hell, the Rio Grande itself was dry from Truth or Consequences, New Mexico to past El Paso TX for about a year until this past summer (getting the nickname … the Rio Sand , glad I didn't buy property, … though it has a nice sunset),
… and it is now rare to float a raft in Big Bend National Park anymore.Feb 11, 2015 at 1:28 pm #2173519Jennifer MitolBPL Member
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
and when you start hiking you can't be sure there's even any water IN those teeny tiny little seepages they call "springs." So you have to schlep you water in anyway – no need to drink what little seeps up through the ground.
I topped off at a spring atop the Chisos basin this past January and the water was NASTY tasting. I certainly got my iron for the week…….Feb 11, 2015 at 1:53 pm #2173529
I think human pollution of the water is the concern not that we'll drink it all up. Agreed the water in most springs is nasty anyway. The only reliable water there is in the Canyon and the trail climbs up above that after a couple miles anyway.Feb 13, 2015 at 11:38 am #2174032Jean SwannBPL Member
@angelfireLocale: Middle Georgia
Thanks for the nice article and the truly beautiful photos! They inspire me to get out and hike!Feb 18, 2015 at 7:38 am #2175328IanBPL Member
Nice photo essay Luke. Looks like a pretty area I'll need to check out if I ever find myself in that neck of the woods.Feb 18, 2015 at 8:08 am #2175336
Just did another trip over Presidents Day. Big Bend was full, no backcountry permits in the Chisos Basin. In the Guadalupe Mountains I asked about Tejas Campsite, Bush Mountain Campsite and Blue Ridge Campsite. All were available! Even when the colors were at their peak last fall I was able to get the campsite I wanted. If Big Bend is too crowded for you this place is a great alternative.Feb 18, 2015 at 10:41 am #2175387Alex HBPL Member
@abhittLocale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Yes, Big Bend is usually busier than the Guads at this time of year, when it is warmer there than the GUMO. Full is a bit of a misstatement. Yes the designated backcountry sites in the Chisos were full on Sat. (many open on Sun. and Mon. of Presidents Day weekend) but there is another 700,000 plus acres of zone camping that was totally open.
In general (holiday weekends being the exception) the least visited month, for backcountry permits in Big Bend is Feb.Mar 15, 2015 at 1:23 pm #2182891B CookSpectator
@lonestarstompLocale: North of Boquillas
Long time looker, first time poster…
We also backpacked the Guads over Presidents weekend. It was my second trip to the park, my first being an overnight to McKittrick Ridge in '98 or so, with a fellow teacher.
The thing I remember most was the "Big Huff" or whatever it's called… that series of switchbacks up and out of the Canyon and then that slog across the Notch up to the top of the Ridge. I lost my older hiking partner-who waited until we were strapping on packs to tell me about his heart condition and the location of his nitro pill- and after setting up at the backcountry site went back on the trail and found him stretched out on his pad right in the middle of the Notch. Thought he was a bear.
President's Day weekend was the first trip for my wife and 8 year old. We did an overnight to the campsite a mile below the Peak(we got the last open spot) and then summited that Sunday morning in high winds and dense fog. A bit 'whatev" as we only briefly saw flashes of the dunes and salt basin to the west. Never saw Capitan or anything else. Ditched plans to camp back at Pine Springs and hauled butt north to take advantage of the free weekend at the Caverns. Made it just in time to jump on the last elevator down. Started the day on top of Texas and finished 700 feet below New Mexico.
I have to be careful with distance as I don't want to wear out my 8 year old or my wife. Little Jess just got a new pack and was getting used to carrying more than her water, poncho, and snacks. They enjoy it now, but only because we are keeping it short. Guadalupe Peak with gear was almost a bit much, especially as it was our first family hike since last summer. Little by little, though…
This view of the Delaware Basin was dominated by gas flares and rig lights once the sun was down.
We'll definitely return.
In case you weren't aware next weekend the Davis Mountains Preserve is open… their first open weekend of the year. It'll be dry and brown, but it's a neat way to spend a few days and you can hit Mount Livermore, fifth highest Texas peak. We planned on going, but just came off the trail this past week.
The July weekend is much nicer since it greens up and there's water in the creeks.
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