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Old 11-11-2004   #1
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 53
Big Bend

Hey, I am jonesing for some warm weather and water (even if it is flat water). Does anyone out there have any beta on the Rio Grande through Big Bend National Park? I am considering a December or January float. Will there be enough water? Is it hard to get a permit? Anything else worth sharing?

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Old 11-11-2004   #2
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 140
good link

Here is a good link. If you scroll down abit the water levels are shown on a daily report page. They also sell guide books through the online bookstore there as well. Great pics here too. I think the permits are just self issue type. Sounds like some of the access roads/points are 4wd too.

I have the same idea as you, as well. My work shuts down for the holidays for a week so I'm thinking of heading down there then. Let me know if you might be interested in meeting up (I live in Denver)as the two people I had lined up from work chickened out for fear of a winter weather snap down there. I can't blame them but it's worth taking the chance to me.

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Old 11-16-2004   #3
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 27
Big Bend is perfect in December and January. There will probably be enough water for a decent paddle, but it potentially could be very, very low. The river actually dried up recently; you could walk to Mexico without getting your feet wet. The free permits are issued on a first come, first served basis. You will not have any problem obtaining one.

There are three canyons in the park that can be paddled. There is also the Lower Canyons section, which lies outside of the park, but is still administered by the Park Service. The run through the Lower Canyons will be more remote than anything in the park.

You will not want to use the 4x4 roads in the park as access points if that means leaving a vehicle there. Theft is a real concern. Although since the unofficial (and technically illegal) border crossings in the park have been closed, the small Mexican villages have been choked almost completely out of existence. This means most of the thieves left with the rest of the towns' populations. Still, watch where your cars are.

Lastly, and seriously, if you meet a fat, pasty Mexican (such a thing exists) on the riverbank who introduces himself as Hector, and he offers you peyote and a candelilla walking stick - buy the stick, but don't waste your dinero on his bunk cacti.
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Old 11-16-2004   #4
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 140

Are there access points that are fit for regular 2wd vehicles? I'm not particular about which stretch of river I get on but need an okay road to get to the river.Thanks!
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Old 11-17-2004   #5
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 27
The access points (going from west to east) in Lajitas, Castolon (mouth of Santa Elena Canyon), Rio Grande Village (across from Boquillas), and La Linda (out of the park), are good for 2wd vehicles. The River Road from Costolon to Rio Grande Village can be carefully done with a high clearance 2wd. Assuming no rain, the major difficulty will be with the dry washes. Sometimes they can be quite washed out and impassable by low clearance psuedo-SUV's and cars. There are campsites/river access points all along the way.

The back roads of Big Bend are a little bit of an adventure themselves. This reminds me of a couple similar stories. I once backed my girlfriends Land Rover off a cliff over the Rio Grande in the middle of the night. It high centered. When I opened the driver's door I was 15 feet above the river. Super close call; we spent almost all night recovering the truck from a precarious teetering position. There was nowhere to winch on to. It also makes me think of an Edward Abbey tale of him thrashing his girlfriends nearly brand new Ford on the road from Costolon to RG Village. When he finished the trip, both doors were wired on with coat hangers, the oil pan was busted open, the transmission was shot, it was overheated, and one of the wheels was pancaked.

Go slow and you should have no problem. I wouldn't do Black Gap road in a 2wd vehicle.
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Old 11-17-2004   #6
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 140
Ahhh, good river karma to ya, Timmay! Thanks for the beta!

bkp77 is offline   Reply With Quote

big bend

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