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December in Big Bend 2008/2009 Report

Joined
Nov 27, 2007
Messages
1,096
Location
West Texas
The Black Gap Wildlife/Wilderness area *is* gnarly as all get out. Perhaps the safest and surest way to explore that area is on a mule. :mrgreen:
Depends on your off road experience, I guess. I'd rate all the dirt roads as "easy" in Big Bend, even Black Gap. It's not like it's mountain single track. There's plenty of room to pick lines since you have plenty of width to work with, and there really are no huge or technical climbs or downhills. On my KTM 950, and my buddy on his KLR, we took Glen Springs road (from the pavement) down to Black Gap, Black Gap to River Road East to the Mariscal Mine, and then rode the River Road continuing east back to Glen Springs Rd and back all the way to the pavement. It took us three hours, and we walked around the mine for one of those hours. We stopped, took pictures, and saw all the sights.

To me, riding Big Bend dirt roads on a "real" plated dirt bike would be sorta boring. For me, the roads are fun to ride, no doubt, but the real appeal is being able to get to the more remote areas of the park away from the crowds, and truly see all of what the park has to offer.

I wouldn't dream of taking a stock 4 wheel drive down Black Gap either, btw.
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
5,171
Location
Terlingua Tx
First Name
Ed
Last Name
Hegarty
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December 28 was a hiking day. I know that was the date only because my camera stores the images by date. On that day I was not watching the calendar, or paying attention to the day of the week. Time had two phases.... daytime and nighttime.

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One of the stops was at an old line camp at the old Homer Wilson Ranch.

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This old place taught me a few lessons on building out there. Taking advantage of local materials, terrain, and sun exposure facings. The day was warm, but even with open windows and doorways the inside of this old place was appreciably cooler than the outside air. No electricity required! I am certain that a trip there on a cool day would render a warmer experience inside that place too. All of that rock and mud plaster works as thermal storage.

Enough words.... pictures show how the day was......

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We called this outcropping 'moon rock' ;-)

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A good day... less than 30 miles ridden, several miles hiked on foot... hours out of doors.

A very good day.
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
5,846
Location
Exit. Stage West.
Depends on your off road experience, I guess. I'd rate all the dirt roads as "easy" in Big Bend, even Black Gap. It's not like it's mountain single track. .
No, it's not. And I used to drive a Forest Service jeep up and down a mountain (boulder and ledge and as close to vertical as I never want to get again) for fire tower duty. I have not ridden/driven anything as hairy as that since. Yes, it's all relative.

Yet, the total risk factors are much greater in the desert. The 'trails' in the Black Gap Wilderness area are not roads. We saw a jeep or two turn around and back track. Randy's been in there many times and knows the trails well (he may even have the lines memorized ;) ). It is significantly more remote than the national park and the terrain more rough and technical. People die in there (and in the nearby remote areas surrounding the park). But not just because of the terrain of the trails.

I would not ride a bike in there. Period. But that's me. I've ridden Old Ore, Glen Springs, Painted Gap and part of River Road in the park. But I won't be riding a bike in Black Gap Wilderness area east of the national park.

I'd much rather ride a sure-footed horse. A mule will do. :mrgreen:

(maybe a wild longhorn? ;) )
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2007
Messages
7
Location
Laredo, TX
No, it's not. And I used to drive a Forest Service jeep up and down a mountain (boulder and ledge and as close to vertical as I never want to get again) for fire tower duty. I have not ridden/driven anything as hairy as that since. Yes, it's all relative.

Yet, the total risk factors are much greater in the desert. The 'trails' in the Black Gap Wilderness area are not roads. We saw a jeep or two turn around and back track. Randy's been in there many times and knows the trails well (he may even have the lines memorized ;) ). It is significantly more remote than the national park and the terrain more rough and technical. People die in there (and in the nearby remote areas surrounding the park). But not just because of the terrain of the trails.

I would not ride a bike in there. Period. But that's me. I've ridden Old Ore, Glen Springs, Painted Gap and part of River Road in the park. But I won't be riding a bike in Black Gap Wilderness area east of the national park.

I'd much rather ride a sure-footed horse. A mule will do. :mrgreen:

(maybe a wild longhorn? ;) )
The black gap wildlife area roads are not bad at all. I have ridden there. I had 4x4 vehicle support. The roads get really bad if there is any rain. I have taken a 2 wheel drive truck to the farthest camp site. I had to be pulled up a big hill by one of the jeeps. I will never take a 2 wheel drive there again. You can ride, drive, 4-wheel between the road and river. Lots of off-road action to be had. I do agree that none of Roads in Big Bend are very hard on a Dirt Bike. I have driven to the top of pack saddle with my jeep it is crazy steep. I also have a few places I can ride the gnarly stuff if I want. Support is everything out there. That is why I have friends that are in to 4x4s. It is way more fun to ride with all your camping gear in your buddies jeep.
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2007
Messages
1,096
Location
West Texas
No, it's not. And I used to drive a Forest Service jeep up and down a mountain (boulder and ledge and as close to vertical as I never want to get again) for fire tower duty. I have not ridden/driven anything as hairy as that since. Yes, it's all relative.

Yet, the total risk factors are much greater in the desert. The 'trails' in the Black Gap Wilderness area are not roads. We saw a jeep or two turn around and back track. Randy's been in there many times and knows the trails well (he may even have the lines memorized ;) ). It is significantly more remote than the national park and the terrain more rough and technical. People die in there (and in the nearby remote areas surrounding the park). But not just because of the terrain of the trails.

I would not ride a bike in there. Period. But that's me. I've ridden Old Ore, Glen Springs, Painted Gap and part of River Road in the park. But I won't be riding a bike in Black Gap Wilderness area east of the national park.

I'd much rather ride a sure-footed horse. A mule will do. :mrgreen:

(maybe a wild longhorn? ;) )

I did not read your post correctly, sorry. I was referring to the Black Gap Road in Big Bend, not the the Wilderness area. I've never been over there, so I have no idea of what animal it would take to ride it.
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
5,171
Location
Terlingua Tx
First Name
Ed
Last Name
Hegarty
Here is one day's riding captured in pictures. I led a group of riders on Old Marathon Road which enters the national park. It had stretches of sand and loose gravel which made for some fun fishtails. I had to keep reminding myself that the panniers were on and force myself to keep feet on pegs. No dabbing.

After that I led down Old Ore Road which was rough, rutted, and rocky. Off to Rio Grande Village for ice cream to round out the day!

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Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
5,171
Location
Terlingua Tx
First Name
Ed
Last Name
Hegarty
Good pictures! :thumb:

Who's the chick in the new Mexico shirt? :loco: ;-)
Thanks Chuck!

That would be my best friend and one of the most important persons in my world. I guess it has been a while since she came to visit at any of the group functions though.
 
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