My first Snows in the Big Bend

My first Snows in the Big Bend

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 29.32830°N / 103.2059°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Dec 27, 2006
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Winter

The Plan

My dad and I try to go somewhere hiking close to home during vacation. We played around with some places, and we finally decided on Big Bend. I wanted to climb some mountain and sort of dragged my old man into it. Although, he is usually pretty cool about it. I wanted to at least climb Emory, Casa Grande and Lost Mine. I felt that these three would not pose much trouble, but hey im 15. We were to leave on December 27, and come back January 1. Sounds good, four days in the park is going to be cool.

Heading Out

The Chisos from afar
The final road to the park
Where we got our flat]Woke up at about 5:30 A.M. on the 27th. I got some swet hiking gear for Chrstmas. A fleece and Hard Shell jacket. Didn't think we would see any rain though. We drove to Marathn and had a hamburger. Then we headed south. Our luck, our rear right tire peeled off going down the highway. Fixed it with no problem. Finally, after about another 20 or so minutes, my first view of the chisos came into view. I think they look cool. We check in a are told tha twe will have to vamp outside the park in Terlingua to the West. Took off that way. Came back to the lodge for dinner and met up with Barry Raven(attm). This guy is really nice and knows his stuff. He gave us some information on what we wanted to climb. Oh yea, we wanted to climb Elephant Tusk, but it didnt take long for us to fiure out that that was a bogus plan. We don't have the experience. Also, he recommended Amon Carter peak for us instead of Lost Mine. Thanks Barry. Back to Terlingua.

Day One: Emory Peak

SummitMost excellent and fighting the wind.
Through the WindowChecking out the window through the trees.
Woke up in Terlingua, ate breakfast tacos and headed to the park. When we got in, we decided to drive around the campsites to see if we could snag one. We got lucky, and found one empty. We took it, and set up some chairs to stake our claim. From there, we walked to the trailhead. Not too bad of a hike. I think 9 miles round trip with a little under 3,00 elevation gain. Right of the bat, we spoted some deer. That was cool. We hiked for a solid 45 minutes and took our first break. The views through the window were amazing. We strated back up the trail. Sometimes I feel sorry for my dad because he always lags behind me. Its kind of annoying, but its hard to get mad at him. We finally reached to summit block, if you will. I was pumped. Thsi would be my 2nd real scrambling opportunitty. I got up easy. I thought class 3 would be harder. My dad however, went about halfway up and called it quits. I shared the top with 3 other college kids who were throwing rocks off the side. The cool part was the the wind shot them back up and over the mountain. My wind-stopper fleece worked great. I was pretty warm up there. Someone took my smmit pic. I look really stupid. Got down and ate lunch. Man, that was cool. Drove back to Terlingua and shoved our tents with all our gear in them in the car, and drove back to the campsite. Hopefully the weather holds up. NOT

Day Two: Bring on the Snow

Fog rolling InHere it comes
Santa Elena Canyon
Anicent Volcanic activity Jagged rock
The onimous giantBring it on
Ok, so being from South Texas. I have never experience that much snow. I skied once when i was 4 or something. Other than that a few snowball fights at Yellowstone and Yosemite. So, I wake up in the middle of the night and hear a pitter patter sound on my tent. Oh great its raining. I wake up, and my dad walks over to my tent to see if im awake. He tells my theres snow on the ground. Im thinking yeah right. I get my clothes on and go outside. I see all the snow, and step out. "crunch". No way man, this is too cool. We decied its too cold to make breakfast and eet at the lodge. Hey were Texans, not Eskimos. The whole time it is snowing. We decide that theres not much to do in the baisin, so we head out in search of a new spare tire. We are about halfway out of the Baisin road and we look back and see a thick fog charging through the window and up towards us. All my dad says is "someone left the window open". nice pops. No luck with the flat tire so we headed to Santa Elena canyon. It was pretty cool. Literally only a stones throw away from Mexico. Hung around there for a while. O nthe way back we wandered around the old vlcanic stuff. That was excellent. When we got back to the baisin, everything was pretty much covered in snow. However, all of the baisin was already dry. Took a small walk up the Lost Mine trail, so get a feel for what we would do for Casa Grande. We were both doubtful at this point. We went back to camp, and hoped for clear weather for our Casa Grande ascent.

Day 3: Snowy slopes on Casa Grande

Casa Grande from the Ridge
A snow covered Rock SlideI never thought I would see this covered in 4 inches of snow.
Top of Casa GrandeUp top
Hiking back downSnow and desert on the way down very interesting
Woke up to mostly clear skies. Nice. MAde breakfast, and headed upto the trailhead. Man it was cold!. At least for me. Got to test out my fleece and shell on this hike. Man I was burning up withing 40 minutes into the hike. Anyway, my dad and I trudged up the trail making the first foot steps of the day. That was sweet. We had a hard time finding trail marker 7. We finally said screw ot, and we found a path to the ridge. Once we got up there, the views opened up.The snow would become 3-4 inches thick. The trail was visible and we headed out. I was ahead of my dad, and he kept doubting my trail follwing skills. Finally it got pretty steep. At least for us. I was %100 sure that it was the trail, but my dad kept doubting me. I mean, how could it not be the trail. Soon, i found some animal tracks. Some were deer tracks, while another set looked like paws in the snow. Think about it. I kept thinking some mountain lion was stalking a deer. We got to this one steep section that went unde a tree. The snow/loose rock combo was hard to overcome here. I went up ahead of my dad to do some recon for the trail. I gave my dad a "go". He barely scurried beneath the tree. I had lost my hiking stick here when my dad threw it up to me. It hit my foot and slid into the trees below us. Whatever, it sucked anyway. Made it to another plateau. Man, we still have a ways to go. We made our way to the rock slide. It was covered in snow. Went up and stopped at a rock that had icicles hanging from the bottom edge. Got through the trees and summited 2 of the 4 summits. I was in a crappy mood, because my feet were frezzing. I could barely feel my feet. My shoes were not water-proof. I just wanted to get down. I took away from the whole experience, but I treid to make the best of it. Well, we headed down, and got back to the real trail in no time. I busted my ass about 6 times going down. At least the veiws were nice. Got back down to camp at around 3 or 4. Dried out the socks and watched 13 javelina walk past the campsite. The stars were very bright that night.

Day 4: Last Day

Amon Carter on the Window trail
Got up and ate breakfast. We were in no hurry because we really had nothing else to climb. I remember ATTM telling us how to get to the top of Amon Carter. You have to take the window trail, and vere to the left up a scree feild. We decided to hike to the window anyway, but not try for the peak. The hike was really short. Got to the window in no time. It was different than what I expected. No picture, I don't want to show you guys all of Big Bend beore you get there. We drove out and took the road to Cottonwood on the border. It got pretty hot. Can't imagine this place in the summer. We went to some other canyon on the East side of the park. There were Mexicans trying to sell stuff across the border. I felt bad. I made my appreciate what I have. Anyway, this part of the park was hot and depressing so I just wanted to split. For you guys that read this. I personally don't think that this corner of the park is worth a flip. No cool volcanic stuff. Its all rock and cactus. We spent the night in Fort Stockton. Not really my idea of a New Years, but the whole Big Bend expericence was probably worth it. Hey we got some LOUD firecrackers which I now terrorize my neighborhood with.


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