This weekend, 57 scouts and parents from Troop 990 drove to Big Bend National Park for a weekend of backpacking. Everything was wonderful, except for the 8 hour drive to get there. Our destination was Chisos Basin Campground at the base of the Chisos Mountains. People left Austin at varying in times so the arrival times varied from mid afternoon to the middle of the night on Friday. On Saturday morning, we divided into 4 groups based on experience and speed. Due to the size of our group, our campsites were spread over a couple miles of trails. It’s a beautiful place.
I hiked with the group that was camping the farthest out on the rim of the mountains and when they got there, I circled around and met Preston’s group who had hiked our to the rim and doubled back to their campsite which was at the bottom of Emory Peak. The peak is the tallest in the park at 7,825 ft. This is a picture of me after I left the far group. The view behind me is looking south and the land you see extends across the Rio Grande into Mexico.
Preston hiked with a group of his friends and it looks like they had a great time
Most of the people intended to climb Emory Peak on Sunday. I encouraged my group to do an early ascent so we could enjoy the sunrise from the summit. Initially, we had very few takers to get up at 4:55am, but when morning came, all but a few packed up and left in the dark. The pictures below are from 20 ft below the actual summit – the summit is so narrow, it wasn’t possible or safe to have all of us on it at a time.
Beautiful view on the sun breaking the horizon
The mileage and elevation varied by group, but the full circuit of the mountains is about 20 miles and 3,500 ft of climbing.
All my remaining pictures are below and a really cool video done by one of the other dads.
The morning was as predicted, with a sheet of ice covering my truck . The temperature was just below freezing so all the drizzle that came down turned instantly to ice. Miserable picture of me below at the start.
While the temperature was bearable, the sheet of ice covering the rocks was not a lot of fun to run on and I bit it several times in the beginning. I ran the first 10 miles right on last years pace, but the weather warmed a few degrees and the trail turned into complete slop. If I wasn’t sliding on the trail, my foot was stuck to it so my stride became a very short baby step. It wasn’t fun and my pace was cut by about 25%. The rain never really came down in sheets, but it drizzled on and off all day. You can see the ice melting from the cactus prongs as the temperature rose.
The further I went, the more frustrated I got. When I hit the halfway point at the start of the 2nd loop, I decided to have a beer, drive home, and sit in the spa… so I only went 31 miles instead of 62 – there is always next year 🙂
It’s been a while since I posted so I’ll catch up on some of the things that have happened at the end of this post…
Mud seems to follow me at every race – tomorrow is the annual Bandera 100k and just like the Monster, the course will most likely be a wreck. Not only is it supposed to rain this afternoon and all day tomorrow, it’s expected to be below freezing so I will also experience freezing rain and ice… The weather report is not pretty:
The only positive thing is that I won’t have to worry about dehydration. Last year, this event took me almost 14 and a half hours, this year, I expect the conditions will slow me down so I should finish right around the time the moon rises. I talked to Preston and decided that it’s probably best he doesn’t run this year since I will be out on the course long after he finishes and he will be miserable waiting in the cold weather for me. In past years, he was able to ride his bike around and hangout outside while waiting – definitely wouldn’t happen this year.
I was on this course in October for the 50 mile Cactus Rose. I finished about 2 hours faster than the only other time I did the event, but the conditions were completely the opposite – a little too much heat and completely dry. I didn’t bother making a video for the race, but here is a picture of me at the 5am start.
This spring and summer we had some major work done on the house. All but one window and every external door was replaced. We also had the front walkway tiled and the 1970’s rock replaced. Lastly, the railing along the steps was replaced with the same type as I did the year previous. A couple pictures are below.
Things are moving along at work and a few of my peers and myself were asked to be in a TX Monthly ad for our alma mater, Texas State University. The picture below is a clip of it. Stay tuned, I’ll post some pics or a video from the race – not sure if I will have the will to finish, but I will start.