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Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...


By Chago
#1640743
This particular trip was initiated as a “gear shake down” event. We are planning a Big Bend primitive camping Rim excursion in October and needed an excuse for gear, physical and mental testing.

Lost Maples is a beautiful state park situated in Vanderpool, Texas. The Sabinal River meanders through a portion of the park. The river size is small but crystal clear. The main park attractions are hiking and the changing of the leaves during the month of November. This shall become a future outing.

Our group of five spent three days and two nights at Lost Maples during the month of April. We hiked the entire park with full packs (average weight 50 lbs.) The major source of weight was water. Although you can easily filter water in the park, our intent was to test our consumption. Everyone carried one gallon/day.

The park is essentially divided into two hiking sections – East and West. The East loop is more strenuous but has wonderful views with plenty of Limestone along the trails. The West Loop is more forgiving and less traveled with plenty of Big Tooth Maple laden shaded trails. Primitive camping is available along both.

Every primitive site is nice and easily accessible. We spent our nights at sections C and D as labeled by the park map. Although we did not experience large crowds, I would expect primitive site C to be the most utilized. This is within ½ mile from the East trail start and resides adjacent to a beautiful pond (swimming/fishing hole) with a large limestone backdrop.

The weather ranged from 75 at night to 90 degrees during the day. The first night provided us with a passing storm which tested the seam seals. I am glad to report no one had a wet event.

Our meals were predominately of the “just add water” type. There were many brands and types of food and sharing allowed us to test the differences. I believe the most forgiving and appetizing arrived from Pack It Gourmet. Each of us carried equipment and supplies as tough we were on a solo hike, thus causing excessive duplication of the cooking set up(s).

Overall it was a wonderful trip with several lessons learned. As with every trip, I am always Thankful for many things. We are truly blessed with beauty in this wonderful state of Texas.

Lessons learned:

*Water consumption – plan on an extra half gallon/day in Big Bend. We did not adequately calculate the water need for cooking.
*Hammocks don’t do well with high winds.
*Carry extra tent stakes and tie downs.
*Proper foot wear is essential – extremely rocky on the East trail.
*Camp shoes/sandals are a must.
*Change your socks daily – always.
*Peanut butter crackers make you extremely thirsty.
*No phone cell service in the park (sprint carrier).
*The SPOT tracking device worked as advertised.
*Having extra bags for trash is a must – Leave no Trace!

After the trip we did treat ourselves to incredible burgers and Aussie pies at the Ace Café located in the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum. Let’s just say there wasn’t much to clean up after our meal.

As always, I will let the pictures provide a better description.
Enjoy!
Attachments
LM 3.jpg
LM2.jpg
LM 1.jpg
By BigOx
#1640775
That is exactly the preparation I did for my Big Bend trip last Feb. I did 2 nights going around the rim and another in the general backcountry in the park.
A few things I found:
- 10 miles on day 1 going up to the rim is probably more than I should have done.
- 1 gallon per day was perfect for me. But I made a point to eat dry meals except for dinners and coffee in the mornings. (my brother did ok with just over 1/2 liter per day, but that seemed crazy to me)
- I got cell phone reception at the top of Emory peak and a few places on the rim right at the edge. Particularly at the NE rim.

Big Bend is a great trip, as is Lost Maples. Glad you had a good time!
By Chago
#1641194
BigOx and Texnomad - I agree with you guys. Great BIBE website.

Fin - Everyone had a different pack. I have listed them below from lightest to heaviest.

GoLite Pinnacle
Gossamer Gear - Gorilla
Osprey Exos 46
Osprey Exos 58
Cabelas Diamond Peak Ridgeline

I carried the Gorilla and was very pleased with it. I was above the recommended pack weight on day one but it did fine. The other packs in the group did have more pockets/storage compartments. Purposeful packing was the key.
#1641978
Thanks for a great report. Love that park. Those are some fairly minimalist backpacks, must have been a stretch with 50 pounds. Any other reflections on gear? What kind of tents are those, they look like tarptents, or similar designs.
User avatar
By Fin-Addict
#1642429
fisher of people wrote:Thanks for a great report. Those are some fairly minimalist backpacks, must have been a stretch with 50 pounds. Any other reflections on gear? What kind of tents are those, they look like tarptents, or similar designs.


Good question - was actually my next

I'm looking at getting some gear soon and this feedback would help

BTW, anybody else reading these posts have any personal experiences with the Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe?
User avatar
By Gutter Girl
#1642766
Nice post Chago. Can't wait to see and hear about your BB trip in the fall.

My first trip to a TX state park was at Lost Maples and although I've been here several times I've only camped there once, site 15 I think. On my first trip in Nov '04 at night when I had gone to bed, I could hear a little critter climb down the hillside, wander over to my tent and right opposite my head, twirl around 2-3 times and then settle in for the night. Kinda weird! Unfortunately the color was a bust.

However on my 3rd trip in Nov '08, color was fantastic.

Image

Image

Image

In '08 I was hedging my bets about the quality of color and when to make a reservation so I was too late to get a site at the park. I ended up staying at S Llano River SP - not that I minded!. Weather was great and lots of hikers. Anyone thinking of going for the color should be sure to check the park's website. In early October, a man starts taking pictures and giving updates about where the color is occurring. It is usually updated mid-week until most of the leaves have dropped.

There was at least one spot on that east trail where I had to sit down, sort of turn over on my stomach and then drop down to the trail - my legs were just too short! And both trails will certainly test your cardiovascular system. I think the first big uphill on the west trail could be used for a stress test!
By Chago
#1642853
Fisher and Fin - Two of the tents were from Tarptent, two others from Magellan and one from Terra Nova.

Everyone seemed pleased with theirs but the Magellan guys were unhappy with the lack of ventilation. John carried both a Hennesey Hammock and a Terra Nova tent. I can't remember the model but it was similar in design to the tarptents.

I used the Tarptent Moment. It was easy to setup and well ventilated. I especially like the large side entry and weight (~28 ounces). The other tent in the group was a Rainbow.

All the packs were pushed past their limits. I would like to continue utilizing the Gorilla pack but downsizing is a must. I am sure some weight can shed from such items such as the first aid kit (smaller), extra batteries (not necessary?), food (came home with extra) and less butane/propane (spares). I was extra cautious and packed on the aggressive side.

BackpackingLight.com is a great website with solid information and of course a "swap" forum.

Gutter Girl - Very nice photos. There is definitely a return trip in my future. I would like to hear about your South Llano River Event. We are heading there in a couple of weeks - family trip.

Thanks to everyone.
User avatar
By Cadiyak Sam
#1643495
Gutter Girl wrote:Nice post Chago. Can't wait to see and hear about your BB trip in the fall.

My first trip to a TX state park was at Lost Maples and although I've been here several times I've only camped there once, site 15 I think. On my first trip in Nov '04 at night when I had gone to bed, I could hear a little critter climb down the hillside, wander over to my tent and right opposite my head, twirl around 2-3 times and then settle in for the night. Kinda weird! Unfortunately the color was a bust.

However on my 3rd trip in Nov '08, color was fantastic.

Image

Image

Image

In '08 I was hedging my bets about the quality of color and when to make a reservation so I was too late to get a site at the park. I ended up staying at S Llano River SP - not that I minded!. Weather was great and lots of hikers. Anyone thinking of going for the color should be sure to check the park's website. In early October, a man starts taking pictures and giving updates about where the color is occurring. It is usually updated mid-week until most of the leaves have dropped.

There was at least one spot on that east trail where I had to sit down, sort of turn over on my stomach and then drop down to the trail - my legs were just too short! And both trails will certainly test your cardiovascular system. I think the first big uphill on the west trail could be used for a stress test!

Wow! Are those pics touched up? The color of those leaves is unreal, so vibrant! I need to go out there some day.
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