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New Year's Day on the Border


Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 31.5 miles

Remote backpacking trip in Big Bend National Park over New Years 2008-2009. Spent New Year's Eve on secluded Chilicotal Mountain to the south east of the Chisos Basin.
  • Start Point
  • Taking a breather
  • Sunset 2008
  • Sunrise 2009
  • Sunrise on the Chisos Basin
  • The Chisos
  • On the Edge
  • The Flag
  • Deciding how to get down
  • Bastard Bushes
  • Glenn Springs
  • Looking west
  • West Texas Sunset
  • View of Mexico from second Camp
  • The border
  • Mariscal Mine
  • Another West Texas Sunset
  • Water in Fresno Creek
  • Camp early morning day 4
  • Sunrise on Elephant Tusk and the South Rim
  • Morning west of Talley Mountain
  • Looking Back
  • Glenn Springs Cemetary
  • filling up
  • Dried mud of the Rio Grande
  • Road to Mexico
  • Hot Springs

For New Years 2009 my friend and I decided to do something different and challenging.  We Chose the Big Bend Back Counrty.  Despite going during a peak season we had little trouble in obtaining a Backcountry permit becasue this area of the park is little used except for the occasinal 4X4ers trying out the Black Gap or the western parts of river road.  Most of our hike was on rocky, dirt roads looping around Talley Mountain.  Our first night was on the summit of Chilicotal Mountain to  bring in Mexico.
    From the creek bed where we backed my truck into, we headed south in the creek until we saw a good place to hit the mountain.  THERE ARE NO TRAILS UP CHILICOTAL!!!!  So you just take your map and try to find a way up and down.  The Topo maps we had though decades old are quite accurate.  The climb up Chilicotal was very rough; lots of broken rock and less than stable boulders that we had to move through and over.  Add to that what we called "bastard bushes" a plant that would stick right through a pair of jeans and our legs.  The distance was not much on a map, but on the ground it was steep and slow moving.  We reached the summit just about sunset on 2008.  The summit is relativly flat and cover with plants that are more than comfortable.  There are patches of rock where you can fit two or three people to sleep if you look around.  Next morning we watched dawn on 2009 and then headed down.  Going Down was brutal, and took us nearly 7 hours of picking through boulders and "bastard bushes."  Once we were down we filled canteens at Glenn Springs and headed off to the area we had planned on sleeping that night.  We hiked most of this leg at night. 
    Day three was just as long and even more trying than day two.  We headed out till it got pretty hot then we found a peice of shade to sleep the hotter part of the day.  A couple who volenteer at the park offered us a ride to MAriscal Mine and we took them up on it.  Mariscal mine was a pretty cool thing to see way out there in the desert, worth the few hounder yard detour from the trail.  From here we pulled out or Compass and cut across the desert to Fresno Creek.  We then took Fresno Creek north to where it intersects the Black Gap Road.  When we reviewed our trip with a Park Ranger we were told that there was water in Fresno Creek and we could refill our canteens there.  No where in our vicinity on Fresno Creek was ther water...nor do I think there had been since a flash flood in 2007.  We pitched camp at the intersection that night.
     Next Morning we headed out before the sun so as to avoid the heat and hopefully allowing us to continue to the springs on the little water we had.  The other roads we had traveled are not frequently used maybe you'll see two vehicles in a day, but Black Gap is closed to anyone not traveling in a lifted equipted 4X4.  We reached Glenn Springs by late morning.  From ther we waited around till I could catch a ride back to the truck and then we loaded up our gear and headed back down to river road.  We then took River road to Rio Grande Village and the hot springs for a great way to relax after a rough couple of days.
    We spent our last night there up Pine Canyon sleeping in the back of the truck.  And then Headed home to San Antonio

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