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Big Bend Chisos Basin in the wind
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shannon stoney
Big Bend Chisos Basin in the wind on 11/29/2006 18:43:23 MST Print View

My partner and I backpacked up to the Juniper Flats campsite on the Pinnacles Trail in Big Bend last weekend. We took one Golite pack and an LL Bean daypack, and in those two packs were our RayWay tarp and net tent, our RayWay quilt, our inflatable pillows, our canister stove and a canister, one pot, two cups, some food, and assorted extra clothes, and two of those blue foam pads, cut to torso length. A pretty light load. The climb was 400 feet over a mile and a half. Parts of it were sort of steep, but the park has built steps so it's not too bad. It took us maybe an hour to get to a lovely campsite with lots of desert grasses and juniper trees.

We saw two small deer strolling through our campsite. These deer are a special species found only in the mountains of Big Bend and a few mountain areas in Mexico. A brochure said that they were stranded in the mountains when the climate got drier and hotter, ten thousand years ago, at the end of the ice ages.

The night started out calm and clear, but after a few hours of darkness it became quite windy. We had to readjust the tarp to fit the conditions. We pinned down the windward side of the tarp. Still, quite a lot of wind came thruogh the ends of the tarp. We possibly could have prevented this somewhat by pinning down the beaks closer to the ground, but it was dark, and instead we just put our heads under the quilt. I slept pretty well this way, even though the wind was causing hte tarp to make quite a bit of noise.

My partner had polio as a child and the four hundred foot elevation change was a bit difficult for him, especially going down. He fell a couple of times. I would not recommend this hike for a handicapped person. But it would be a perfect short backpack for a family with kids. However, I would request one of the more sheltered sites on the lee side of the mountain, rather than Juniper Flats 1, which is rather exposed.

matthew murphy
(bern0416) - F

Locale: Texas
Big Bend on 12/14/2006 12:26:29 MST Print View

Sounds like you and your partner had a wonderful trip Elizabeth. I was there the same weekend with my brother and a couple of friends. We did the Outer Mountain Loop.
The weather was perfect for us. No wind to speak of fr below the rim. Just slept in my Big Agnes HorseThief and Black Diamond winter bivy. And yes, that was overkill to say the least. Nice to hear about your trip.

Curtis Presson
(Obdewla_X) - F
Big Bend on 12/19/2006 19:19:12 MST Print View

Big Bend is an awesome place... I did a solo trip there last year right after Christmas and did the Outer Mtn. Loop too. It is a great trail.Pinnacles Trail ViewSouth Rim View From Dodson Trail

Lorraine Pace
(SowthEfrikan) - F
Big Bend is THE Texas hike on 12/21/2006 17:48:50 MST Print View

Dragged my husband up to the South Rim over the Thanksgiving weekend.

We stayed at primitive backcountry site SE4 on the Rim, arriving in the late afternoon and sat and watched the sun set, and were up early to watch the sun rise. This was easy as the site is maybe 50 yards from the actual rim, where there are boulders that nature thoughtfully placed for seating. Fantastic views.

We went up Laguna Meadows and came back down through Pinnacles. I'd love to go back, but would go through Pinnacles instead next time as the long rise through Laguna never ended. However, there were several spectacular scenic view out accross the badlands into Mexico, with St. Elena Canyon - a very popular kayak/canoeing destination - clearly visible in the distance.

It was windy. We had pitched our Squall 2 Tarptent which sheds wind elegantly and I woke a couple of times listening to the wind howl through the trees. The Tarptent did not need restaking, nor was it noisy. The temps at night were low 40s so we were comfortable in summer bags.

The sites do have bear bins as there are black bears - a mother with cubs was living at the Cattail Falls below the Window just prior to our visit.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Big Bend Chisos Basin in the wind on 12/22/2006 08:03:11 MST Print View

These are some great descriptions and photos of Big Bend. I first became "aware" of Big Bend two years ago and it has been on my must-visit list since.