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Carl "Z-man" Zimmerman
Begins: Apr 30, 2017
Date: Tue, Jan 10th, 2017
Start: Homer Wilson Ranch TH (Dodson Trail)
End: Chisos Basin TH (Pinnacles Trail)
Entry Visits: 642
Journal Visits: 33,367
Guestbook Views: 210
Guestbook Entrys: 14
Big Bend 3/4 Outer Mountain Hike w/ Venture Crew
I traveled with my Boy Scout Venture to Big Bend after Christmas for a backpacking trip. We had a few newbees with us (only did some small TX park hikes). The rest of our crew were fairly experienced. While driving there, one of the youth in my vehicle got sick - blowing out both ends. Fortunately, we were able to make stops for those times. But, it made us worry about him passing on some germs to others in our group.
When we got to Big Bend HQ, we learned that there were essentially zero backcountry permits available for our planned Chisos/South Rim hike. We had to piece together a longish hike along the Dodson Trl, up Junper Canyon Trl (2800' up), and down Pinnacles Trl to the TH. We had to shuttlle two vehicles to the starting TH (Homer Wilson Ranch), then shuttle both vehicles back to the overflow parking lot in Chisos Basin, and then take the last vehicle back to Homer Wilson TH. The two drivers then began hiking after the main group (w/ me) with a designated rally point at a trl jct further down the trail. We knew this was going to be a trying hike. We had to carry water for the entire trek (9L per person; water is HEAVY!). We weren't sure that there was any water at the one water source along the way - Fresno Creek (turns out, it was flowing nicely; we had some of our weaker hikers dumb some excess water & we filtered more water @ Fresno Creek).
The sick kid recovered enough to start & finish the hike w/ us. One adult (a Scout Commisioner) tagged along on the hike. It became readily apparent early on that he wasn't in shape & didn't know what he was doing on the trail (hiking in blue jeans). 10 minutes in, he was asking for a break (& it was easy). Shortly thereafter, I convinced him to bail. He hiked back with another young adult (strong hiker) to the TH. They met the drivers hiking back. One of the drivers agreed to stay him him during the hike. The plan was that they would meet us at our night #2 campsite (Juniper Flats) and camp with the entire crew.
A few hours later, everyone was together & hiking across the Dodson. As mentioned prior, we had a long break @ Fresno Creek purifying water, drinking, & eating some snacks. We kept on going toward Juniper Canyon Trail Jct. Toward the end of our day, we sent two strong hikers ahead to try & find a suitable campsite for all of our tents (5 tents total). They found a marginal one that we crashed at. According to the running GPS data that one of the hikers had, we covered around 11 miles.
The next day, we walked about 1.4M to the Juniper Canyon Trl Jct. This section was really easy. Once there, we took the new trail that was easy at first. Eventually, we began a long & strenuous climb (2,800' or so). Slowly but surely, we made the climb. As we neared the top of the climb, my stomach was beginning to do some back-flips. Uh-oh. Yep, I caught the kid's bug. I didn't throw up. But, it was a bit unpleasant on the trail for the rest of the time. Two other adults in our crew also got upset stomachs. Once we got to the top of the trail, there were several composting toilets nearby that were visited. Three of our stronger hikers did a quick up & back to Emory Peak (tallest point in Big Bend). The rest of the crew started our descent down Pinnacles Trl to our camp. It looked like it was going to rain & get colder (it had been much warmer the day before). We got to our campsite. The other two adults were there. We set up our tents before it started sprinkling. We cooked, ate, & hit the sack. All told, we did about 13 miles. The Emory Peak hikers added an additional 3 miles to their total.
The next morning, we had a short, 1-mile hike to the TH. We walked over to the Lodge restaurant for Breakfast. I ate light due to my stomach. Afterwards, we cleaned up a bit (spong bath or baby-wipes), put on clean clothes, & began our long drive back to Austin.
It was a good training hike for my upcoming PCT trek. I questioned my planned '20 miles to Lake Moreno' plan on day 1. I may decide to break that up. We'll see.
Almost There... Just Around The Corner!
I'm tired, I'm hungry, I'm thirsty... Are we there yet?
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