Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Look Back at Cairn Box Subscription (Videos)

Interested in Cairn Subscription Box?

If you are interested in a Cairn Box subscription, then take a few minutes to watch the videos below before you make your decision. This is a look back at the past 6 months as Jack unboxes his Cairn boxes so you can see "What's in the box?!" If you like what you see, head on over to Carin to try a subscription or just a single box (this is an affiliate link that will earn a commission). If you are interested in Prepper Gear Box check out our 6-month mash up post.


Cairn June 2016


This month’s goodies include: Morakniv Companion knife, Fire Swedish FireSteel 2.0 Scout Firestarter, Epiphany Outdoor Gear Baddest Bee Fire Fuses, and a Chapul Chaco Bar (cricket powder included).

Cairn July 2016


This month’s goodies include: Power Practical lithium 4400 battery pack, Surface Sunscreen SPF 45 Face Stick, and a Picky Bar.

Cairn August 2016


This month’s goodies include: Toaks TiTongs set, Light My Fire Salt & Pepper Plus, Ground 2 Table spice 3 pack, and another Picky Bar.

Cairn September 2016


This month’s goodies include: BS daily tube (a super scarf), Roam App membership, Nite Ize Better Band, All Good SPF 15 lip balm, and a Phive Bar.

Cairn October 2016


This month’s goodies include: Power Practical Luminoodle Light Rope (one of Jarrett’s personal favorite), EasyKlip (pack attachment clip), Loksak (waterproof electronics bag), and a JimmyBar.

Cairn November 2016


This month’s goodies include: Mission Vaporactive boxer briefs (2 pack), Cabin Fever Bandana (it has games on it, i.e. chess board), and a Salazon Chocolate 2-Pack

Cairn Boxes can be pretty hit or miss, but so far there have been a bunch of cool items. Let us know your thoughts on Cairn or another subscription box you like. If you are interested in more videos, then check the Adventures With BeeGee YouTube Channel.


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Monday, March 6, 2017

Food Review: XMRE Blue Line

Jarrett Morgan | 5 Comments so far

Yay! Breakfast for Dinner

On our recent trip to Big Bend National Park, I lugged a XMRE Blue Line meal with me until the 2nd night of the backpacking trip. I probably should have eaten it the night before because of its huge size. I was silly and did not check what the meal was and ended up with oatmeal, which is what I had eaten for breakfast at least 3 days prior and was eating it again in the morning.


The Background

These are a civilian line of Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) and the Blue Line is made specifically for government, medical, and educational institutions.

Price: $119.99 per case of 12
Calories: 1,000 to 1,200 a meal
Key Attributes: Extended shelf life, individually bagged, no water needed, self-heating, and provides all utensils

A quick note on the website: at first it seems like a well-designed site, but I’ve found a few issues. If you want to know exactly what meal comes in a case, almost all that information is lost to broken links. In addition, they have a neat feature where you can design your own meals, but the window just closes after 5 seconds, so I was never able to fully try it.

Performance

This is what my Blue Line XMRE contained: plain, but slightly sweetened oatmeal, a bag of dried fruit, a pilot cracker, a packet of grape jelly, and a mocha coffee drink. Just so you know everything comes in a metal lined bag/package.


With this XMRE meal, you add water to the oatmeal, and then you have to heat it up with the provided water-activated heater. I sampled it cold and it was not the best, so I would always recommend heating it up if you have the times. The dried fruit is the same as any old dried fruit in look and taste., so nothing special here. However, for flavor’s sake, I would recommend adding it to the oatmeal. The cracker is extremely dry and hard, but it turned out to be good with the jelly. I definitely wouldn’t recommend eating the cracker without any toppings. The mocha drink was a nice change from just water. It had a good flavor when mixed thoroughly, but it is hard to pour to pour water into the pouch and equally hard to drink out of.


Final Thoughts

If you want a civilian MRE clone then this meets the description, but it is on the pricey side so it might be worth shopping around.  Plus, XMREs fill a role for long term food storage and prepping. I would highly discourage anyone from lugging these around while hiking and backpacking.


Giveaway

There was no winner for our last giveaway, so Team Adventures with BeeGee is giving away 12 Steps to a Lighter Pack (linked to our book report) and a GoBites Duo set. Use this book to gain a little knowledge and lighten your load and the GoBites kit is a handy fork/spoon combo

GoBites Duo


Let us know if you enjoy MREs or they are just a necessity and how you plan to use your MREs. Also, if you like the blog follow us on Facebook to keep up to date.
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Monday, February 27, 2017

Trip Report: Trip to London

Jarrett Morgan | 2 Comments so far

A Holidays Trip Abroad


Travel Agency: Go-Today
Flight: Delta Airlines
Destination Route: Austin to Atlanta to London
Return Route: London to New York to Austin

It had been years since Jarrett and I had gone on a vacation to a foreign country.  Actually, we had not traveled anywhere since our honeymoon to Peru, four years back.  So, when a Group-On deal to travel to London became available in September, I took the chance to book a trip for Jarrett and me for our anniversary in December.  The following is an overview of our trip:

Day 1: 

As predicted, Jarrett and I were exhausted from traveling overnight, and the last thing we felt like doing was figuring out the train route we should take to our hotel.  Fortunately, I had reserved limo service through Go-Today travel to pick us up and transport us to the airport.  They state that they will wait for you for 2 hours after your scheduled arrival time. We arrived early, but there was a long line to get through customs and immigration.  By the time we were done, only about 1 hour and 15 minutes had passed.  We caught our driver by the exit, and he told us about how he almost left.  I’m sure glad we got to him before he left then.


Since we arrived in the morning, hours before check-in, we waited in the lobby of the hotel for an hour.  After that, the front-staff allowed us into our room, which we definitely appreciated.  The room was a double, but it was small.  I definitely would not recommend putting more than two people in a room at the hotel, but the staff was great, and so was the continental breakfast.   


That night, we went on the Jack the Ripper Tour offered by Premium Tours.  It was a dark and chilly night, with almost no traffic in the London business district due to the holiday season, so it was the perfect setting for the tour.  You get to travel in a 1960s bus to the area, and once there, your guide walks you through the places where Jack the Ripper committed his murders, as well as where important clues were found.  The tour guide was very knowledgeable of London’s history and excelled at explaining to you how modern streets looked like in the 1880s, so I definitely recommend this tour.  However, if you’re going around December, I also recommend you take very warm clothes with you as well.


Day 2: 

Jarrett and I visited the British Museum.  Helpful hint: Don’t bring any bags with you.  It allows you to move faster through security and into the museum.  The entrance was free, but the museum takes donations from the public.  I would also recommend that you plan to spend an entire day there because there is so much to see.  They have areas from all corners of the world.  So if you like history, have time, and are not bothered by large crowds, you’ll definitely enjoy an entire day there.  If you’re like us and do not really enjoy the crowds, then plan ahead of time the areas you would like to visit the most.  Being typical, we dashed straight for the Egypt section, where we saw displays of artifacts from different millennia.  However, the mummies are not located there; they’re instead located in a different section upstairs. 


The London Eye Champagne Experience: Go-Today’s deal came with the London Eye Champagne Experience.  I planned for us to take the last one, at 8:00 p.m. that night.  If you would like to do it, make sure to take printouts of your invoices and tickets.  Thinking the staff at the London Eye would only need to see our electronic information in our phones, we almost missed our ride.  Nevertheless, we showed up early enough and the London Eye VIP staff were so gracious that they helped us print out our tickets and invoices and we made it to our ride in time.  The ride lasts 30 minutes, during which you introduce yourself to the few other riders and enjoy the panoramic views of London.  With the Christmas lights adding to the rest of the city, the nightly views were magical to behold.  It was definitely a marvelous 4-year anniversary adventure.
 

Day 3: 

Jarrett and I had to wake up really early before our Stonehenge and Bath tour, so we headed over to Queensway, where we ran across Granier Bakery Café.  It was 6 in the morning, the lights were on, and the door was open, so we let ourselves in.  The staff was so kind that Jarrett and I didn’t realize that the Café had not officially opened yet.  We had some yummy fresh-made breakfast sandwiches and headed to the spot where we were to wait for our Premium Tours bus. 


This Premium Tour was a much larger party than the Jack the Ripper tour, so expect to be in completely-filled bus.  We had the typical tourists that talked loud and even yelled obscenities.  There was also another family of tourists that seemed to be on a mission to make the ride as uncomfortable for the people around them as possible, with hot smelly food, loud conversations, and leaning their seats so far back that the people behind them could not comfortably sit.  I mention all of this not to complain about Premium Tours, but to set realistic expectations and also perhaps, if Premium Tours were to ever read this, monitor the people in their buses every once in a while.


The tour itself was wonderful though.  Being at Stonehenge is having an almost mystical experience.  Even before you arrive, the tour guide starts explaining to you what the mounds in the area actually are (burial grounds).  The place was not nearly as crowded as the British Museum.  Once you arrive, Premium Tours provides its clients with audio recorded tours, which help you know and understand where you are standing and what you are seeing, while simultaneously allowing you to simply enjoy the experience. 


After Stonehenge, we headed for Bath.  Following some meet-up instructions upon our arrival, Jarrett and I headed out to find lunch.  However, it was December 31st, so many places, including the one recommended by our guide, were closed.  We ended up having lunch at a small café before touring the city’s hotspots on foot with our tour guide, who explained to us the why’s of certain architectural quirks in the area, as well as the history of the city. 


Following the city tour, we entered the Roman baths.  Upon entry, you are given an audio guide, which explains to you the history of various parts of the baths.  While these were excellent to listen to, I recommend you take several moments to simply look and imagine the experience of the Romans that lounged in these baths many years ago.  If it were not for the business of the place, you could almost have that same experience yourself.  It was the perfect way to end our evening. 


Thank you for reading our 100th post! While you're at it, let us know about your previous experiences or your dream trip to the UK. Also, if you like the blog follow us on Facebook to keep up to date.
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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Trip Report: Big Bend Day 5 & 6


Completing the Outer Mountain Loop

This is the trip report for our final Day on the Outer Mountain Loop and the drive home. Make sure to catch up with Big Bend Days 1&2Big Bend Day 3, and Big Bend Day 4.

at big bend national park
Sunrise on Blue Creek Trail

Wake Up

When we went to bed it was warm out, but waking up everything was covered all our gear was so wet and required extra shake outs. We had our standard oatmeal and coffee for breakfast then started our walk a little before 7 am before, which was before sunrise.  

at big bend national park
Orange fungus on Blue Creek Trail

Blue Creek Trail

The trail was just a continuation of the day before, gravel drainage area with cairns spread around to guide you. I’ve read online it’s easy to miss the cairns and get lost in the drainage area, but I’d think that would be pretty hard to do as there is only one way to travel in a canyon.

at big bend national park
A cave a little ways off trail on Blue Creek

After about an hour of hiking, we saw a huge cave in the distance, we took an hour-long side quest to go check it out. The first part required us to fight through brush and almost every plant has thorns of some sort. Then it was a hands and knees scramble up broken rock that involved some short slides down. Finally at the cave, it was a large open space that was split into 2 sides and full of calf deep moon dust. Exciting as it was, there were no ancient artifacts or cave art, so we carefully made our way back down.

at big bend national park
Inside the cave on Blue Creek Trail

As we continued up Blue Creek Trail, the canyon continued to narrow and the drainage area began to shrink.  We also passed multiple campsites that would have been amazing compared to where we stayed the night before. If only we had been a little further along and had better light to search.

at big bend national park
Looking South and back down the way we came on Blue Creek Trail

Eventually, we made it out of the creek and into a forested area (this is the turn I was warned can be easy to miss) and then the dreaded switchbacks started. I’m guessing this section is 2-miles of steep and never ending switchbacks. To make this section even better, the sun crested the mountains and started heating everything up; however, the views were spectacular as we could back down into the canyon.

at big bend national park
Jack walking through a wooded section on the Blue Creek Trail

After tirelessly trudging along for a while, we located the free camping zone sign. Doing a very imprecise map check with the fingers, we estimated ourselves about 2 miles shy of the Laguna Meadows Trail junction.  This caused me a small freak out moment because it put us way behind schedule; thankfully, the junction seemed much closer than my guess.

The amazing view from the highest point on Blue Creek Trail. It was a steep climb!
The amazing view from the highest point on Blue Creek Trail. It was a steep climb!

Chisos Mountains

Pushing on, we made it to the Laguna Meadows Trail junction and headed towards the Rims, where all the amazing views can be found. One the way there, the sun was out in full force and it was pretty warm out when not in the shade. The climbs along the Rims were a little milder, but it didn’t matter because we were so tired and our feet were tender from being wet all morning.

at big bend national park
Views from the South Rim

The views were all around amazing as we moved from South Rim to the Southeast Rim to Northeast Rim.  we stopped under a shade tree for lunch at about the southeast rim. I’ve been told if you just have enough to stop at one section of the Rim to make sure it's South Rim. After walking all of them, they each have their amazing characteristics and would say it’s worth it to spend time at each.

Looking down at the terrain below the Rims. I have a feeling that is a section we walked through on the Dodson Trail
Looking down at the terrain below the Rims. I have a feeling that is a section we walked through on the Dodson Trail

We stop to eat lunch under the shade of a tree as close to the edge of the Southeast Rim as we could find. This short lunch break makes me want to spend a night camping on the Rim to enjoy a sunrise and sunset. We then headed around to the Northeast Rim but spent a little less time viewing the surrounding area than before because it was getting late in the day.

at big bend national park
Stopping for a lunch break with an amazing view on the Southeast Rim

The Northeast Rim led us to Boot Canyon Trail where we paralleled Boot Canyon. Along the canyon, there were pools of varying sizes. We stopped one of the larger pools to take a break and because Jack swears he saw fish. Unfortunately, there were no fish, but the pool was teeming with life as insects scurried across the surface and dove deep within the water.

at big bend national park
View from the Northeast Rim 

 Carrying on with the hike, we found a stretch of the trail that was beyond unexpected. It was clearly autumn in this area as the trees were displaying leaves of orange, red, and yellow. Finally, we made it to the junction of Colima Trail which also seemed like a whole new place.  The Colima was short and steep, but the trees here more like an alpine area than the oaks and pines we had grown accustomed to.

at big bend national park
Large pool of water in Boot Canyon

With our Rim loop completed, we found ourselves on, the Laguna Meadows Trail again. Laguna was a pretty mild trail back down into the basin, but by this time my feet were tender from being wet all day. In a weird turn of events, Jack was in his groove and flying down the mountain and I was making him wait up for me. The trail is just a repeat of switchbacks as you descend and the views felt less impressive than everything we experienced earlier in the day. I just wanted to be done with Laguna Meadows Trail.

at big bend national park
A little change of scenery as the leaves turn red, orange, and yellow 

Making it back into the Chisos Basin, our feet and bodies were feeling pretty rough at this point and we just wanted to finish. Finally, we arrived at the trailhead and had, but had another .5 miles down to the campgrounds. We made it back to basecamp and Bmo was nowhere to be found, so we started to make ourselves comfortable while snacking on Cheez-Its. After a short wait, Bmo showed up and made us some amazing burgers and smores, while we all shared tales of our adventures. It wasn’t much longer and we were more than ready for bed, which is when Bmo went off to hang out with some of our campground neighbors.

at big bend bend national park in the chisos basin
Jack and I finally back at basecamp a little before the sun went down

The Drive Home

With a 5 AM wake, we packed up and skipped breakfast because we knew we could find something in a small town later. With everything packed in the car we were off and hoping we might see some wildlife or a bear on our drive out of the mountains. Wish come true, we found a coyote in the middle of the road eating trash. He was clearly not concerned by us and won the game of chicken forcing me to maneuver around him and his treasure.

at big bend national park
A coyote scavenging through trash as we made our way out of the park

Another oddity, as we left the park there was a huge amount of trash exploded all over and on the side of the road. It turns out a family was hauling a bunch of stuff and were hit from behind, which is what caused the mess. Thankfully, everyone was injury free. After this, the trip was uneventful and we were sad to be leaving such a majestic place but thrilled to finally be back home.

The Giveaway

To celebrate the final portion of our Big Bend trip report, Team Adventures with BeeGee is giving away 12 Steps to a Lighter Pack (linked to our book report). Use this book to gain a little knowledge and lighten your load.



a Rafflecopter giveaway
Leave a comment below about your first time or your ideal trip to Big Bend National Park for a chance to win our February giveaway. Also, if you like the blog follow us on Facebook to keep up to date.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Trip Report: Big Bend Day 4

Hiking on the Dodson Trail

This is day 4 of our recent trip to Big Bend National Park make sure you catch up and read the reports from the previous days: Big Bend Days 1&2 and Big Bend Day 3.

Wake Up

To be the desert, we sure experienced a decent amount of rain and moisture every morning. This resulted in a lengthy process of shaking our tents and rain flies out in order to prevent wetness in our packs (keep our sleeping bags dry). Then we started boiling water for breakfast and finished packing up our gear. 

Jack posing at the beginning of our Dodson Trail day. I made him carry the water for a little while.
Jack posing at the beginning of our Dodson Trail day. I made him carry the water for a little while. 

We were approximately .5 miles in on the Dodson Trail with another 11 miles to walk and 2,000 feet of elevation change before making it to Blue Creek Trail. With our oatmeal and coffee finished, we were back on the trail around 6 am.

Hiking the Dodson Trail in Big Bend National Park
Sunrise on the Dodson Trail


The Dodson Trail

Back to walking, the Dodson quickly enters drainage areas where we hiked on gravely dry creeks. In this section, the trail isn’t so much a trail as it just follows dry creeks with short sections of trail, marked by cairns, connecting adjacent drainage areas. 

at big bend national park
The rough and rocky Dodson Trail

It wasn’t long before we missed a cairn for a turn, which caused us to walk a decent amount up a dry creek bed. The clerk at the visitor center had warned us how easy it was to miss a cairn and the difficulty in backtracking because the landscape looks significantly different heading in the other directions. Needless to say, we had a small freak out moment when we realized our mistake. Thankfully, we had no issues finding our missed turn and we must have learned our lesson because we had no issues finding the guiding cairns the rest of the day.


The Dodson is fully exposed to the sun of the Chihuahuan Desert and one of the only times I was actually hot. Even Jack was hot and he normally gets chilled pretty easily. Because of the heat, there was little wildlife about except for insects. We walked through multiple swarms of butterflies, pelted by giant Lubber grasshoppers, and chased by more than a few wasps.

on the dodson trail at big bend national park
A giant Lubber Grasshopper

A mile before Fresno Creek, we dropped down into a drainage area and I spotted something very red in hidden in the brush. It almost seemed like someone was attempting to hide, but soon realized it was a sleeping bag in a red stuff stuck in the brush. I am still a little curious about how that sleeping bag made it to the middle of nowhere.

dodson trail in big bend national park
The hiding red sleeping bag. I'm just glad it wasn't a person

As we made into the next drainage area, we met 2 guys and talked to them for a little while. They used to be a group of 4, but 2 turned around and walked back to Homer Wilson because of heat cramps. I hope they had a vehicle parked there because it seems like they were over halfway through the Dodson.

Watching Jack finish up the last bit of a big climb
Watching Jack finish up the last bit of a big climb

We made it Fresno creek and it was shocking to see so much water flowing through the arid environment. The creek was about a foot across and a few inches deep. We ended up taking a short break and filling up on water again as a safety precaution. No one wants to run out of water to drink in such a hot climate.

It was nice to see water in the desert. It was good to Fresno Creek flowing
It was nice to see water in the desert. It was good to Fresno Creek flowing

Past the Fresno, the next valley forced us to do a monster climb up to continue westward toward Homer Wilson. After the climb, we found the only bit of shade under a large rock where we stopped for lunch. The rest of the day was spent walking up huge inclines and then back down all in direct sunlight.

Looking forward to a monstrous climb
Looking forward to a monstrous climb

Finally, we made it into the dry creek bed that snaked us into Homer Wilson Ranch. Once there, we decide to take a break in the shade at the old ranch house. There were quite a few people in the area. We talked to a father and son about bat poop in one of the buildings and another guy about hiking the Outer Mountain Loop on our way out of the area.

Looking out and over Dodson Trail from a high point
Looking out and over Dodson Trail from a high point

Being exhausted, we kicked around the idea of finding a campsite and stopping for the day. We found a spot about .5 mile into Blue Creek Trail we found a nice spot. This nice spot was also occupied by a tarantula, which we shooed away. With our bags hidden away we, walked back to Homer Wilson to pick up our cached water and back where we divvied it up. Looking back, this might not have been the best plan, but it made complete sense at the time.

The tarantula we convinced to guard our packs while we retrieved our cached water
The tarantula we convinced to guard our packs while we retrieved our cached water

Deciding it was still way too early in the day to make camp, we started hiking again. The trail was at a slight incline and was like walking in a dry gravelly riverbed. AN hour later we stopped and ate dinner. It wasn’t too much further when we realized our dilemma: it is unsafe to camp in a desert floodplain, but being at the bottom of a canyon, there weren’t many ideal locations. We ended up walking past dark trying to find a suitable camping site that provided a little raised ground for safety. We eventually found a small circular area with no rocks and set up our tents so close they were touching.

Setting up our late night camp on Blue Creek Trail
Setting up our late night camp on Blue Creek Trail

Make sure you stay tuned as we post the remainder of our Big Bend trip. While you are at it, go ahead and let us know your experience with Big Bend National Park. Also, if you like the blog follow us on Facebook to keep up to date.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Trip Report: Big Bend Day 3

Hike Through the Chisos Mountains

Make sure you follow the adventure by checking our backcountry driving from days 1 & 2 during our trip to Big Bend National Park and check out Day 4.

Wake Up

One of my first task when waking up was checking on Bmo after he was forced to sleep in his truck with only a blanket due to a leaking tent. He was alive and mostly warm, so we all jumped in my car for a few minutes with the heat on. Once we were all fully warmed up, it was time to boil water for oatmeal and Malt-O-Meal. Finally, Jack and I packed up our gear then made our way to the Chisos Visitor Center to pick up our backcountry permit.

at Big Bend National Park
The trailhead at Chisos Basin

We went in ready to go with plan B from the day before because of the increased bear activity; however, the clerk said we were good to go on the Outer Mountain Loop (OML) if we were just passing through without camping in the Chisos Mountains. The clerk was nice and knowledgeable while providing us personal experience of her thru hike of the OML. A few times she drifted off on tangents when all I wanted to do was hit the trail. Once all our paperwork was completed, Bmo followed us down to the trailhead and we all covered the plan one last time before we headed out.

The Chisos Mountains

On the advice of the visitor center clerk, we left by Pinnacles towards Emory Peak. It was a chilly morning with limited visibility and tons of fog. The trail started very mild, wide like double track, and not to steep. This was short lived and the trail quickly became steep, with an insane amount of switchbacks, and generally rough, rocky terrain. I believe this was Jack’s first time walking in the mountains and he quickly learned to hate rock stairs and we had to take frequent breaks.

at big bend national park
Jack and I posing for one last picture before heading out

It wasn’t long before we both had to take a quick stop to take off our base layers (Army silk weights) and the constant climb kept me very warm. It was unfortunate that the amazing views were obscured by the clouds, but there were plenty of other plants and animals with vibrant colors to admire. Around 3.5 miles later, we arrived at the base of Emory Peak and thankfully there were a few bear boxes to stash your gear before the mile-long trail.

at Big Bend National Park
The last climb before reaching Emory Peak

As we were dropping our gear in one of the boxes, a guy jokingly asked where our cool stuff was stored in our bags. While clearly a joke, it still made us a little uncomfortable while we were away from all our gear. The spur to Emory Peak started out easy at first, especially considering what we had just walked, and progressively became steeper and rocky. The last portion of the trail was an almost vertical scramble up exposed rock. I climbed both rocky outcroppings, Emory Peak has the radio antennas, while Jack talked to different people just below the peak. The clouds limited our view, so there wasn’t a huge need to hang around and admire the views with so many more miles ahead of us.

at big bend national park
The hazy view from the top of Emory Peak

We headed back down to our gear and had a lunch of salami & cheese (lunch time favorite recipe), plus a candy bar before starting off on our hike again. We were heading towards The South Rim and the first real creature we had seen appeared. A mule deer buck (I think) was standing on the trail and holding his ground. Jack and I admired the deer and took a few pictures from a distance and decided the buck wasn’t moving, so we started making noises, which caused him to run off.

at big bend national park
Mule Deer (I think) around Boot Springs

We continued on and took a short detour to Boot Spring. There was a decent amount or water and the spring was flowing. If I was a bear, this is definitely where I’d hang out. After we explored the area and heading back to the trail we met a volunteer. He was at the spring checking the water level and eventually asked us for our backcountry permit, which I was completely surprised by, but thankfully I had tucked away all our documents in my back pocket.

at big bend national park
Boot Springs was flowing

Less than a half mile down the trail and we were at the fork for Juniper Canyon Trail and South Rim Trail. We decided to head down Juniper Trail instead of going back up to the rims because it was already getting late in the day. The first portion of Juniper Canyon Trail led to a huge climb up and then gravely switchbacks down into the canyon.

at big bend national park
The view from a high point on Juniper Canyon Trail

The views were amazing as we could look up and see the mountains and down into the canyon below. This was the first section of trail we’d been on that wasn’t well maintained as grass and bushes frequently grew over the myriad of switchbacks.

at big bend national park
Looking across Juniper Canyon

We must have taken way to long on the first 2 miles of Juniper Canyon because the sun was low in the sky. Finally, we made it out into a flat open area paralleling the canyon, but no trailhead was in sight and it appeared we still had a long walk ahead of us. As the day slowly became twilight, it became harder to focus on the beauty of our surroundings and focus solely on our forced march.

at big bend national park
The view from down in Juniper Canyon

Jack and I begin creating a contingency plan of possible campsites if it became too dark and a water plan to cross load until we could reach our cache point. Miraculously, we found the trailhead and our cached water right as the sun vanished behind a group of mountains in the distance. We took advantage of the wonderful flat ground of the parking lot to cook a hot meal and resupply our water.  

at big bend national park
The setting soon as we neared the end of Juniper Canyon Trail

Packed up and walking again, we took our first steps on the Dodson Trail. The moon was out and bright, probably because it was just days before the Super Moon. As bright as it was, finding a possible location for our campsite was difficult, but around a half mile (that’s how far he rules say!) or so we find a small area where both could squeeze our tents into. We didn't make it as far as we wanted, but it felt amazing to be laying down.

at big bend national park
We took a quick stop at the Dodson Trailhead for dinner

The Bmo Saga

If you want to know how the Bmo sleeping bag saga ended, luckily there is a laundromat Rio Grande Village. He was able to dry his bag during the day for multiple hours while he explored some shorter hikes in Big Bend. He eventually made it back to our Chisos Basin basecamp around 9 pm where he learned his bag was still pretty wet. Thank goodness the laundromat is open late, so he drove back and used a dryer until 1 am. This finally did the trick and he was able to sleep comfortably in a dry bag after that.

at big bend national park
Bmo at Mariscal Mines

Make sure you stay tuned as we post the remainder of our Big Bend trip. While you are at it, go ahead and let us know your experience with Big Bend National Park. Also, if you like the blog follow us on Facebook to keep up to date.

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