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Trip is dependent on the park re-opening as per the current projections. Please carefully read the announcement completely before signing up for the trip. We have done this hike a number of times before. The Rancherias Loop, in Big Bend Ranch State Park, is a 21-mile loop hike. It is only about 6-7 miles a day but still a very difficult, high desert hike. Everyone will be required to sign a liability release form. Please read the form at the following link (please bring a signed copy with you): https://www.meetup.com/San-Antonio-Backpackers-Meetup/messages/boards/thread/51090625 THIS IS NOT A BEGINNER HIKE. One of the online descriptions of this hike has the following comments: "Hikers must be well conditioned and well versed in navigation with map, compass, and GPS. This is a trail for experienced desert hikers" Because of the pandemic we will not do our usual carpooling to BBRSP. You can, if you decide, arrange to drive with one other person. If you do please ensure that you both wear a mask during the trip. Everyone will need to bring masks to be used during our stops and when we stop hiking for the day. After securing our back country permit at the Barton Warnock Visitor Center outside Lajitas we will spend the first night at a front country site. Although these sites have latrines, there is no water. I would advise you to bring an extra gallon of water. We can fill our water bladders at the visitor center but we will need water for that evening’s meal as well as breakfast in the morning before starting our loop hike. You will need to bring the equivalent of two Camelback water bladders, about[masked] ounces of water. We will spend the second night near the Reza Homestead. The rangers tell me that this year has been especially dry. It is very likely that there will be zero water at the Rancherias Spring. It is critical that you have two full bladders of water, 200 oz. or more, when we leave the Reza Homestead as this is likely to be our only water source. I will check everyone’s pack to ensure they have two bladders/Camelbacks. We will spend three nights on the trail. We will get home late on 9 November (a Monday). This is some challenging desert hiking but with the advantage of having at least one dependable water source. Unfortunately, this is not a hike for a first timer. You can check out the pictures from previous hikes. Costs involved include travel to and back from the park; entry for BBRSP, backcountry camping fees (three nights) plus one night in the front country and restaurant stops. More information to follow. Unfortunately we have had folks on previous trips that ran into trouble; I want to ensure that everyone that signs up can safely make the hike. For safety reasons, this hike is only open to experienced backpackers. If I feel you cannot safely make this trip I will take you off the confirmed list. Because of the navigation issues the group will have to hike within visual range of each other; you must be able to stay up with the group. Priority for the available spots will be given to those with better attendance history. Please feel free to message/e-mail me if you have any questions. Please do let me know your transportation plans.
Please do not sign up for this trip if you have not at least done a qualifying hike with a full pack. If you sign-up and have not done so you will go on the wait list. Please feel free to contact me if you feel you have sufficient, recent multi-day backpacking experience that would otherwise qualify you for this hike. You will need to provide contact information but please do not post your phone number or e-mail in the comments section. You can message me with your information. We are limited to six people on the back country permit. The park is not fully open so our options are somewhat limited. This is a relatively easy trip although you will be hiking up some pretty step trails in the Chisos Mountains with full packs and lots of water. There is no reliable water in the Chisos Mountains. Please be prepared for cold weather. It can be below freezing in the Chisos and the high desert especially at night. 1. Thursday, drive to BBNP, and hike to our site Laguna Meadows #4. 2. Friday, finish the Chisos Loop hike with an optional side trip to Emory Peak. This is a scramble, not a walk-up. We will potentially then day hike to one of the following: the Windows Trail or the stealth trail to the back of Casa Grande. Please do consider bringing a small day pack for our day hikes or you can use your backpack. We will spend the night at K-Bar #2. There is no water or latrine at this site. We will fill-up on water at the Chisos before driving out. 3. Saturday we will do an out and back on the Chimneys Trail and stay the night at Grapevine Hill #2. There is no water or latrine at this site. It should make for some great star watching if we have a clear night. 4. Sunday will hit the Fossil Bone Exhibit on our way out of the park on our drive home. Due to the pandemic we will not carpool. If you would like to drive with someone please do consider doing it with only one other person and please ensure you both wear masks. Please do bring masks as we will use them in camp and whenever appropriate. We will share the costs of the back country permit as well as the front country site. For six people the cost per person for the front and back country sites is a total of $5 per person. Everyone is responsible for paying their own entry fees. Everyone must sign a liability waiver for this trip.