Monday, November 22, 2010

Big Bend-The High Chisos

The wilderness...obviously it's wild. But it can be beautiful, exciting, adventurous, and altogether scary, dark, and lonely.

The wilderness of sin...obviously it's wild. But it also can come in the form of beauty, excitement, adventure that will result in being afraid, in the dark, and alone.

I enjoy the wilderness...I especially enjoy knowing I am in the middle of nowhere...there is a sense of freedom and excitement you can't get anywhere else. I'm in a sense of heightened awareness that I cannot replicate anywhere else...Everything is clear. I see better. I smell better. I hear better. My body responds and kicks into fight drive...you know, that fight or flight syndrome stuff...

Big Bend National Park is the wilderness...it's not like other parks or mountains. There is nothing out there...the land around the Park is barren for hundreds of miles in all directions. It's not easy to get to and you are often reminded...either on the park's website, trip reports, or right as you drive in of all the animal activity in this place.
Of all the places I have ever been to...this is the place I do not want to get in any trouble.

Big Bend offers you the Wild. It is beautiful, exciting, and adventurous...it is also scary, gets really dark...but, at no time did I ever feel lonely. I was with a good group of guys.

Who: Brad Hardin (Brother in Law), Andrew Lind, Kevin Mullis and son Cole Mullis (13 years old), and me.
When: 11/20/10-11/22/10
Destination: South Rim
Mileage: 17.8 miles
Elevation Gain: A whole lot when you add Emory Peak
Chisos TH: 5,500'
Emory Peak: 7,825' (Highest point in the Chisos)
South Rim: 7,375'
( A view of the "Window" looking down at desert floor right above Chisos TH)

Day 1:

TH-Started at the Chisos Basin TH at 10 a.m. and headed towards our first campsite via Pinnacles Trail. We arrived at Pinnacles 2 (PI2) in about 2 hours or so. High Chisos is dry, so you have to carry your own water. We were planning on being in the mountains for 3 days so our packs weighed near 50 pounds…if not 50+ pounds. Let's just say those first few hours were the most difficult. The pinnacles trail up to Emory Peak Trail is on the Northern side of the mountain…so we hiked in Junipers, Oaks, and different trees I don't know anything about. However, there were some trees that had fall colors…really pretty.
When we got to camp, we set up our tents and got set up for the day. Our plan was to hike to Emory Peak from this point. It was another mile up to Emory Peak from our campsite. So from the Chisos TH to Emory Peak TH it is 3.5 miles and almost 1500 ft of elevation gain.
(Drew doing a little goofin when we got to camp1)
( A view up to Emory Peak Trail Junction)
Emory Peak TH branches of the Pinnacles TH and starts going up to the highest point in Big Bend. It is another 1.6 miles to the peak and an extra 800 ft or so to the top. Check out some of the views up to Emory...

The last 30-40 ft is an awesome scramble to one of the best views in the park.
Brad, Drew, and I made it to the top. There is some exposure, but it is well worth it.
After taking a few pics, we hiked about 2.6 miles back down to PI2 campsite. We hung out and enjoyed dinner...Brad realized he forgot his spoon...so he used what he could find.
Day 2:

Left PI2 at 9am and started heading back up towards Emory Peak TH so we can make our way to the South Rim. I believe the toughest part of all the High Chisos trails is the section between Pinnacles campsites and Emory Peak TH. You gain quite a bit of the elevation between these points.

We hiked 3.8 miles from our first campsite via the Pinnacles Trail and Boot Canyon Trail. After the Emory Peak TH…there is not much elevation gain to the South Rim. There are some sights to see though...including the boot...which is a rock formation that looks, well...like a boot.
The South Rim is stunning. Absolutely beautiful. However, make your way West around the Rim and you will be treated to the best views in the park on the Southwest Rim. There are some serious cliffs on this portion of the trail. We spent a few hours on the rim eating lunch, laying down, taking pictures, and enjoying this marvelous place. After all the time spent up there, we started to make our way towards camp 2.
After 6.3 miles of hiking our way around the Rim from PI2, we finally arrived at Laguna Meadows #3 (LM3) campsite.

Day 3:

We started early from LM3 and headed down towards the High Chisos TH via the Laguna Meadows Trail. This trail from LM3 goes down the whole way. We hiked 3.3 miles down to the TH in a little over an hour and completed our backpacking through the High Chisos.

...back to my wilderness thoughts, oh yeah...

Your spiritual walk is a lot like the wilderness...obviously it's wild. But it can be beautiful, exciting, adventurous, and altogether scary, dark, and lonely. What seperates you from God is sin...and when you are seperated from him, you are in the wilderness of sin. As we all know sin entices you through beauty, excitement, and adventure...and if you engage...well, we know where that leads. We all live in the wilderness called life... and we are often enticed.

The good news...God gives us life through Jesus...so we are no longer seperated...and we can live in this wild life...and experience the beauty, excitement, and adventure that God offers!!!!!

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