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Thread: Big Bend - Summer and Solo 2015

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    mid-Missouri
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    336
    Glad to see another Mississippian on the forum. I'm originally from Meridian and lived in Jackson until moving to Missouri in 2001. Nice trip report so far and great photos, can't wait for the rest of the story. Oh, nice rig by the way, I'd love to have an 80 or 100 but not sure the funds will ever allow it. Safe travels.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Canton MS
    Posts
    227
    Quote Originally Posted by fortel View Post
    Glad to see another Mississippian on the forum. I'm originally from Meridian and lived in Jackson until moving to Missouri in 2001. Nice trip report so far and great photos, can't wait for the rest of the story. Oh, nice rig by the way, I'd love to have an 80 or 100 but not sure the funds will ever allow it. Safe travels.
    Small world that it is, I ran into this couple at the Starlight Theater and she was from Meridian MS and he was from Brookhaven. They were both driving oil trucks at night out of Pecos TX



    80's and 100's are getting super affordable and you can put hundreds of thousands of miles on them @fortel Get one.
    Last edited by wngrog; 07-29-2015 at 10:17 PM.
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  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    Posts
    29
    Nice Trip Report, thank you for taking the time.

    Nice Land Cruiser

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Canton MS
    Posts
    227
    Day 3 - Morning



    I got up very early from a second great night sleep in my ENO hammock and quickly packed my simple camp items into the Landcruiser.* I had been driving by the Lost Mine trailhead the last 2 days and other cars were always there.* My goal was to cut "first tracks" for the day and get to the top as the sun started covering the Basin.



    The Lost Mine trail is an excellent example of craftsmanship done by the the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression.* They took the trail and cut stone steps and installed cedar steps along the way making the trail hold up well to heavy use, but also they give one a glimpse back into the early systems our country put in place for people that needed work.



    Early morning hiking in The Chisos Basin is very nice in the summer.* This is actually a wet season for the desert with afternoon rains, so there is lots to see and plenty of animal activity.* I took my first step in the trail that morning at 7:00 and it was only 67 degrees.




    At the top, I walked up on a deer sharing the meadow and the sunrise with me.* With just two steps she was out of site down the side of the mountain.* I assumed her calm presence meant there were no bears nearby. The view up here is second to none in the park.* Some say the South Rim trail has this view beat, but I don't know how.* I like this one at this time of day as the sun is just peeking into the Basin






    It was 8:15 so I turned downhill for the 2.5 mile return trip to my Landcruiser.* I generally don't like one-way trails, but I have to say, you do miss a lot of things when you are looking the other way.* Down had a new beauty and the sun was different. *



    As I was leaving, cars began to fill the small parking area to begin their own hikes.**It was now 9:15 in the morning on my last day in the park.* I had just completed a great hike and it was already 85 degrees.* I turned back into the Basin to get some ideas from my new friend who was a Park Ranger in Big Bend.

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  5. #15
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    Dec 2006
    Location
    Canton MS
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    227
    Day 3.......Beyond Big Bend



    All great things must come to an end, but they don't have to end fast. After my spectacular hike up Lost Mine, I ran down the Park Ranger with the Land Cruiser that I had met on Thursday. I literally could have talked to this man for a month. His name is Matt and he was a former Navy Corpsman that started off in the Park Service checking people in at the gate at Rocky Mountain National Park. The people there saw his skill-set and quickly trained him to be a Ranger. From there he moved to Big Bend and has been in the park for 4 years. His knowledge of the park and stories of human smuggling and finding lost hikers were fantastic. As I was leaving, he asked my plans and I told him I was headed home via Marfa Texas. He suggested a path that was a bit out of the way, but had promise of a beautiful drive so I struck out.





    He warned that I was going to OK driving up through Big Bend State Ranch and to Presidio Texas, but he said the road from Presidio to Ruidosa was one of the most heavily patrolled Border Patrol areas in Texas and that I was most certainly going to be stopped and searched.* I had nothing to hide and that just added to the adventure so I peeled out. I have 3 basic food groups when I go to Texas and I don't stray from them unless I am in the state more than a week. Beer, Brisket and Burritos. I had basically lived on Brisket/Egg/Cheese burritos I had bought from Rudy's BBQ in Arlington on the way out. I pulled one out at a time and put them on my motor in their foil wrapper. I was dangerously low on provisions so after I made it out of Big Bend State Ranch, I turned to Yelp and found a great lunch spot.



    The road he sent me to was called Pinto Canyon Road.* It is a country road that cuts through the heart of Pinto Canyon Ranch and comes into Marfa Texas from the south.* It is a big detour from heading home the way I came, and an even bigger detour than heading straight north out of the park via Alpine but I trusted him that it was worth it.



    When I saw the road I started having flashbacks to Old Maverick Road in Big Bend. Old Maverick is a washed out mess of washboard that makes you miserable at any speed. There was a bit of washboard on south Pinto Canyon Rd so I turned up the speed a bit to find the sweet spot. I rounded a corner and the road narrowed dangerously fast and into a wash with free range cows in the road.



    Finally the mountain ranges on each side of the road started to squeeze in and I passed into Pinto Canyon Ranch.



    The Pinto Canyon road is amazing.* It is mostly gravel for the 50 miles from the Rio Grande to Marfa and it is a stunningly beautiful drive through a private ranch.*As the sign said, I stuck to the roads but I did get out and take a few pictures. Truly a beautiful area of Texas.







    The road finally climbs out of this beautiful ranch and turns into a perfectly paved road through the Marfa Highlands.* This is a wonderfully smooth paved road at a higher elevation surrounded by cattle ranches.*

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  6. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Canton MS
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    227
    Day 3.......Marfa and the Davis Mountains

    The road goes on forever.........



    ........well, not exactly forever, but it kinda seems like it. I thought I was in the clear on the Border Patrol when I topped a hill just outside Marfa and there he was. He called in my MS Veteran tag and approached with caution but quickly sent me on my way to the town of Marfa......

    11225401_10153019311123091_7917624944833755416_n.jpg

    I was really looking forward to seeing Marfa. It is a hip little town in SW Texas that has gotten fame for its funky boutiques, movies and of course the Marfa Lights. I pulled in and realized that after being alone in the desert for 3 days, this was not the scene I wanted to reacquaint myself with humanity. Don't get me wrong, Marfa is way cool but it was a little too hipster for me at this stage of my trip. I took a few pictures and kept moving north. It was 4:30







    My destination was Davis Mountain State Park. This place got back in the high elevation that would allow one more night under the Texas stars before I had to make the 17 hour haul back to Mississippi. When I got to the edge of the Davis Mountains, I noticed my paper Atlas had a scenic drive that went clockwise around the Davis Mountains. Even though it took me even FARTHER away from Canton Mississippi, I decided to turn west and explore the road.



    Once again, it felt like I had rented out Texas all to myself. There was not a soul around on this spectacular drive. Highway 166 was a total hit. I am so glad I took the time to drive it. It is yet another hidden treasure in Texas.



    These mountains house one of the largest observatories in the US, McDonald Observatory. I considered going in to check out the visitors center, but I was just not up to it. I was ready to get to the state park and unwind.



    Of course, as luck would have it, just as I got to the park, the skies opened up and it rained like it had never rained before. It was raining so hard when I got to the state park I just kept driving.



    In fact, I drove on that night until I just could not drive anymore all the way to the little town of Menard Texas. My day's detour added about 350 miles to my trip, but it was 1000% worth it.



    With the trip more or less over at this point I was tired and ready to see my wife. I spent the night in a tiny hotel that you could back up to the door with a big AMERICAN OWNED sign out front. The room was clean and my first shower in 4 days was superb. I was up early the next day and watched the sunrise for the fifth day in a row.



    I took backroads around Dallas and snuck in to the Jackson Airport 15 minutes before my wife's plane landed from her weekend away. I had survived the last 4.5 days on the Texas B's...........Brisket, Beer and Burritos. 2500 miles to the mile I was home with Red and with a memory of a lifetime. Go see Big Bend. Do it. It is one of the most amazing places on the planet.
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  7. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Canton MS
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    227
    Here is a short video I shot. Be sure to select HD when you view it on YouTube

    https://youtu.be/Gf86ijyMVvM
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  8. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    171
    Well done! Very nice drone work there!

    BB is a fantastic place to explore on 4x4 or Motorcycle!! Nice write up!

    Next time...stop in at Lockhart for some of the best BBQ in the whole state! (I'm sure others will chime in of their favorite spots too)
    Paul R
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  9. #19
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    Dec 2006
    Location
    Canton MS
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    On a very long list of things I miss about living in Texas is that the BBQ here is terrible as is the Mexican food and chicken fried steak. We have great food in MS but none of the aforementioned.
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  10. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    TEXAS
    Posts
    19
    Black's in Lockhart for sure. Great report, hope to go there either this fall or in the spring

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