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We (@Waiting_In_TX and I) recently spent several days camping and doing some trail riding out in Big Bend National Park. I haven't seen too many mentions of folks taking sports out there, so I thought there might be interest in a detailed write-up, as Big Bend is relatively popular, and one of the few national parks with 4x4 trails.

Due to the length and number of photos, I'm going to split this up into several posts in this thread.

First off, our sport: We have a badlands without the badlands package, but with tow and upgraded 360+. It was a dealer mannequin that we were lucky enough to be able to buy with only ~200 miles on it. We've had it since April, and are still absolutely loving it. It's completely stock, except for decent all terrains (235/65/r17 Toyo Open Country ATIII). If you're trying to figure out what you can do in a badlands with no modifications, this should be quite representative. (And for other trims, it's not too far off, but I'd be fairly worried about damage, as you will be bouncing rocks/etc off the underside on occasion.) One note, though: I would _not_ take the Pirelli Scorpions that come from the factory on most of these trails. You're going to punish the sidewalls a lot to make up for limited clearance. The Falkens are good ATs, the Pierlli's are really highway tires despite being called "AT", and I'd get really worried really quickly about tire damage with them. I didn't have the Falkens from the factory, and I'm really very glad I spent the extra money to get decent tires.

If you're thinking of going out there I'd highly recommend picking up a copy of "Guide to Backcountry Roads of Big Bend National Park". It's available from the park bookstore in person or you can order it online, though the shipping may be more than the book. It's really an excellent guide and is only a few bucks. On a different note, if you're interested in geology at all, I was surprised by how good "Big Bend Vistas" was as a geologic guide. It gives a considerable degree of technical detail while still being accessible and is really well written. (And, of course, the Roadside Geology series for TX is excellent as well, albeit less detailed for Big Bend specifically).
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jofer

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Day 0: Packing and Driving

I'm extremely happy with the packing setup that the sport enables. I could have fit a ton more gear but opted to keep things easily accessible at all times. I was erring on the side of not being able to refill water/etc at all during the trip, so I brought three 20L water cans and a rather gigantic yeti 110 cooler. That fits easily with room for a water can beside it across the width of the car. The other two cans went in front of the cooler, and I put a ratchet strap around the cooler and water cans to keep them from shifting when bouncing around. I wanted to keep the view out the rear very clear, so the camp kitchen (and coleman fuel -- I'm stubborn and prefer liquid fuel stoves) went on top of the car in the box along with the recovery boards, extra gas, fishing rod, etc. I left a space in the center of the roof platform for trash along with eye bolts to hook bungee cords to. The cargo divider fit neatly behind the cooler folded up, and I put bins (with food/etc) beneath it with camp chairs, rolling table, shovel, etc on top. (The paper towels/etc later went in between the bins to keep them stable.) Clothes, tent, sleeping pads, etc, all fit nicely in a couple of duffle bags on top of the folded down rear seats in front of the cooler. There was room for another couple of small bins, a tool roll, and some odds and ends in the rear floorboards. This left everything immediately accessible and the car didn't feel "packed up" at all, despite us having no shortage of gear. The sport really is kinda a small car (I've fit 5 people in it... It's tight for that), but you can pack a lot it it when needed, and the interior is _incredibly_ thoughtfully designed. E.g. we made tons of use of those map pockets on the back of the seats for, well, maps.

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The box on top hurts gas mileage at 80mph, though, and is pretty noisy. Without it, we're usually at ~26-28 mpg on the highway with premium fuel. With it, it's more like 20mpg. That's really the box being a massive square parachute, though, and not the vehicle or even the platform + different tires. Take the box off or slow down, and mileage comes back up easily. With the box, at 80mph you get 20mpg, at 70, 23mpg, at 50, 28mpg. All in all really not bad at all, and the extra space in the box more than makes up for it. Here's the round trip mileage/etc from Houston if anyone's curious:
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The adaptive cruise control is absolutely wonderful for long road trips, especially on state roads that go from 35 to 85 regularly and have stoplights/etc. I'm starting to wonder how we did these sort of long roadtrips without it. Between the interior being designed incredibly well, the extra tech, and the way-better-than-expected offroad capabilities, this thing is perfect for long road trips + trail riding + extended camping! I loved my Forester too, but this blows it out of the water in nearly every way.

Quick side note: it's a long drive out. At Del Rio, we decided to keep pushing, as we were at half a tank of gas and the sign read "88mi to next service"... Well, that turned out to be about 130mi on a Sunday afternoon. We nearly ran out of gas making it to the only station that was open on the far side of Sanderson. Turns out gas is pretty readily available around Big Bend, but this is the stretch where we were happy to have that extra 2gal on top of the car. (I like having it more to help other people and have backup fuel for the camp stoves than to extend range.)

Spent the night in Marathon at the Gage Hotel. It's nice!
 
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Day 1: Christmas Mountain Trail (and a bit of Big Bend)

We drove into Big Bend, intending to pick up backcountry camping permits for the nights we couldn't book in advance (River Road and Old Maverick Road campsites are only done in-person at a ranger station). However, it turns out that you can only get the permits 24 hours in advance, and we had places outside the park for the first two nights. Just an FYI if you're planning things that involve a night along River Road / etc - it's not only in-person, but also only 24 hours in advance. Things definitely didn't book up, though, despite being peak season, so we were able to get the permits later with no issues, just needed to circle back by Chisos Basin (or Panther Junction), so we shifted some plans.

We poked around the north side of the park a bit. We're both geologists, so there's a lot of fun poking around to do everywhere there - I'd recommend stopping at Persimmon Gap to look at the very spectacular fold exposed in the mountainside there and stopping by the fossil exhibit down the road a bit. We drove a bit of Dagger Flats trail, and then headed across the north side of the park on a small public dirt road to make it out to Terlingua Ranch and the Christmas Mountains Trail by noon.

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I already posted a write-up on Christmas Mountain Trail here awhile back:https://www.broncosportforum.com/forum/threads/christmas-mountains-trail-tx.4192/ If you're in the area, this trail is well worth doing and I'd strongly recommend it! It's definitely exposed and steep, but it's a relatively smooth trail (read: for a 4x4 trail - there are still plenty of exposed rocks). This is the one place during the entire trip where I wished the sport had 4-low. Nothing to do with climbing, purely the ability to avoid needing to ride the brakes the entire descent. We certainly didn't hit any issues with it, but the brakes were somewhat hot at the end of the trail. Trail control / descent control / whatever it's called by Ford is actually really nice for this and I used it most of the way down, but it's still riding the brakes, while a true 4-low range is geared low enough that the engine can help braking even at 3-4 mph speeds. At any rate, I wouldn't hesitate to take any trim on this trail -- I'm pointing out the 4-low part mostly to emphasize that the car has a crazy amount of torque, a really surprising drive system, and will climb damn near anything. It doesn't need 4-low for steep climbs or (surprisingly) even for control on technical sections. The descent down this was the only time I felt that it would have been quite helpful, though.

We picked up supplies in Terlingua and stayed outside the park that night and the next. The views are pretty darn pretty.
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jofer

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Day 2: Chisos Basin, Old Maverick Road, and Día de los Muertos in Terlingua

We rearranged things a bit so we could swing by Chisos Basin and pick up our River Road backcountry permit (side note: and a fishing permit, which is free, but you do need to get at the ranger stations). We did some hiking around Chisos Basin and decided to make a loop out of Old Maverick Road (which is nominally a 4x4 only trail) and Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. It's a great loop to do and I heartily recommend it. However, be aware that Old Maverick road is simply a dirt road. It's very smooth (only washboards). The 4x4 required is because it can get quite muddy/etc after a rain. There had been a big storm a week before we were there, and you could see where it would get rough, but seriously, it's a wide gravel road. Quite nice, though, and more scenic than I thought it would be. Apparently I only took one photo along it when we got near the southern end (and Santa Elena Canyon was in view). Ross Maxwell is an incredibly scenic drive, of course, and I'm glad we took this chance to drive it south to north, as the views are different in both directions and there's spectacular geology the entire way. We needed to drive it north to south the next day to start our backcountry segment.
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Of course if you're in the area, you have to hang out in Terlingua, grab a beer, sit on the porch, and listen to folks playing. The food at the Starlight is really quite good, too, and the margaritas are killer. Terlingua has a long tradition of a large Día de los Muertos celebration, and we semi-accidentally planned this trip to coincide with it. It was beautiful:
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Day 3: Ross Maxwell (again), Lower Burro Mesa Pouroff hike, and West River Road to Black Dike campsite

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We drove the scenic drive in the opposite direction, and it was well worth doing twice. We took a very short detour to hike the Lower Burro Mesa Pouroff trail, as it's geologically stunning, and pretty darn rewarding for a short hike even if you're not a geologist.

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The sotol overlook is also not to be missed. It's just down the road.

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After that, we had lunch at Castolon (which is still recovering from a fire a couple of years ago), then hiked into Santa Elena Canyon. The trail into the canyon is the most crowded part of the park for our trip, but it was worth putting up with the crowds. Very short and easy hike with iconic views.

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After that, we went back to where River Road splits off, aired down, and started our backcountry segment. The west end of River Road is quite rough, and after the recent storms, it was (presumably) much worse. (It had been reopened just a few hours before, and they said the west side was especially rough at that point.) Nothing too bad, it's just that you're driving into and out of washes more or less continually along that stretch and they'd all recently been underwater and the stream had recut the banks, moved rocks/sand, etc.

You'll notice during this entire thing that I'm not very good about taking pictures of the more interesting sections of the trail. My photos will probably make things look like they're just a gravel road, but a lot of that is that I wasn't taking photos when things were rough.

At any rate, west River Road is rough, but fun. We saw almost no one that day on it. As always, clearance is your main limitation in the sport, and you'll be straddling ruts a lot. I also needed to move loose, high rocks semi-frequently, as everything that had been through between the rains and me coming through had more clearance than me. The sport did great, and you need a really good approach angle to climb out of many of these washes without burying your nose in the sand. It'll climb out of anything and does way better than I would have guessed with soft sand + a very steep bank ahead.

However, I had the tires aired down too far. I wasn't paying attention and dropped the first one to 18psi, then decided to drop all the rest to 18 as well. That's fine for sand, which a lot of this was, but it drops your clearance enough to matter, and that was hurting in these washes. I felt like the underside of the car was hitting every single rock, and at first I thought I was getting in more than it could handle. Eventually I realized that the low air pressure reducing height was the issue, and airing up to a more reasonable 25psi helped dramatically.

After a hour or two, we climbed up a bit and stopped going through frequent washes, and the trail was considerably smoother. It starts to be quite scenic around this point! Buenos Aires campsite is around here, and it looked like a great campsite. We were concerned that camping at Buenos Aires (which the ranger recommended as exceptionally pretty) would put us on too tight of a schedule the next day, so we opted for Black Dike, considerably further along. I'm glad we did, as the next day would turn out to be quite tight time/light wise. Black Dike also has good river access without being too brushy, and I wanted to fish a bit, so it made good sense for us.

We pushed on to it and reached Black Dike a bit before sunset with just enough light to set up camp, cook dinner, and enjoy sunset. Black Dike is quite a nice campsite and has actual shade, which is always a plus. Dinner was pork chops and fried apples, along with a surprisingly not awful mai tai made from mix + rum minis we'd found back in Houston. I fished awhile around dark, and didn't catch anything, but wasn't trying hard. There's quite a good fishing spot near the campsite (at the black dike it's named for), though.

The cargo divider table works really very nicely in combination with the cooler and an additional heat-resistant table for the stove as a camp kitchen area. That'll show up again and again on this trip, but I was really happy with it. We had a siphon and a pressurized hose for the water cans, so we basically had running water, a cooler, a pantry, and a full kitchen right there in one place.
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jofer

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Day 4, Part A: River Road to Mariscal Mine

The next morning, we woke up to a very curious horse from the Mexico side of the river, along with a few cows not too far away. Sure enough, shortly after sunrise, we heard the vaqueros calling and whistling and trying to round up the livestock to get them back on their side of the river. It was really kinda neat.

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Some oatmeal and coffee later, we were back on the road, headed east. This section of River Road is smoother, but still has some steep climbs out of washes/etc. It's exceptionally beautiful, though, as you're seeing the south side of the Chisos Mountains, which is a view you don't normally get to see.

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Once you hit the part that's formally River Road East (there's a gate after a final climb up out of a wash), it gets a _lot_ smoother. River Road East is a gravel road, not a trail. We continued east, got a lot of great views, and eventually made it to the junction with Glenn Springs Road, and headed over to explore Mariscal Mine -- an abandoned mercury mine -- and eat lunch. (Yeah, okay, maybe not the best lunch spot... Mercury poisoning just makes you kinda insane, right? But it is a really neat place!)

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Day 4, Part B: We did Black Gap in a stock sport so you don't have to! (kidding... kinda)

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After that we backtracked to where Black Gap trail heads north and started up the trail. Shortly after starting it we chatted with a rather skeptical guy in a Jeep Gladiator. And yeah, I know it's not the big bronco, I know it's not a wrangler, I know it's got limited clearance. Clearance really is the sport's real limitation, though. If you're careful with tire placement, these things will handle _way_ more than most folks think, and have crazy good traction and torque for what they are. All that having been said, Black Gap really is a pretty sketchy trail. It's significantly smoother than a lot of the other 4x4 trails in the park that are supposedly "maintained", but it has some obstacles that can get hairy if you don't have a ton of clearance.

Black Gap is a Jeep badge of honor trail, for those who don't know. It's an easy-to-moderate 4x4 trail overall, but it's absolutely stunning scenery-wise. Most of it is fairly smooth, with some deep ruts you'll spend a lot of time straddling in a sport, but nothing too crazy. It gets tough in two key spots that you can't bypass, though. The main obstacle that folks talk about is the step at Black Gap. South to north (the direction we had to go due to our schedule/campsites) is considered the easy direction because it puts you going down the step. However, the step has tons of rocks stacked up these days, and it's really not particularly bad. There's a second obstacle in the middle of a steep climb near the north end of the trail that's, i.m.o., far more difficult if you have limited clearance and can't take it head on. That one is harder (i.e. uphill) south to north. More on that in a bit.

Overall, the first part of the trail leading up to the step has a few steep climbs and washes. It's fun, but nothing too difficult. It's definitely quite pretty! The scenery is spectacular and only gets better as you go up the trail.

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As we got near the step, we thought it was worth taking a video of. It's only a phone video, so don't expect anything amazing:

In the end, I hit a rock going down the step. Looking at the video, I didn't quite have my tire where I planned to, and put a rock underneath the car that I intended to have my tire on. It then rolled and hit again as I came off the step. No damage done, but I would have preferred not to do that.

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I honestly think going up the step would have been easier in the sport. Easier to get the tire placement right in the difficult part, and the sport will climb damn near anything. Rock crawl mode really does make this kind of thing easier than you'd think. The sport may not have a "real" locking rear diff, but it effectively does for 10 min or so at a time, and that's usually all you need it for, as it's easily toggled on-the-fly. At any rate, the rocks stacked up along the step and the concrete/etc at the top make the step much less of an obstacle than it otherwise would be.

At any rate, we made it through and continued on. Here are a few more photos:

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As we neared the north end of the trail, we came up on what I think is a more difficult obstacle for a vehicle like the sport than the step at Black Gap proper. It's a section of exposed bedrock in the middle of a steep climb that forms several shorter steps. You can't quite take them head-on in a stock sport (or, well, I didn't try to due to limited clearance), and I needed to take an "S-shaped" line through things. The photo doesn't make it look like much, but the dropoff on the right side is quite steep and starts much closer to those rocks than it looks like -- you can't go around on the right.

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If I recall correctly, I took a line similar to the following:
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In retrospect, it probably wasn't the right line. I misjudged the width of the tires, and couldn't quite fit in the space I thought I'd be able to. As a result, I wound up climbing up the step on the far left at the end more than intended as well as the step on the right. I managed to get at a slightly precarious angle (thankfully, not tilting too far off-camber, mostly just nose-up), and decided to push ahead instead of trying to back down. The sport happily climbed up everything, but I did catch the skid plate over the rear diff pretty solidly on one of the steps. (At the end of the trip, this was the only obvious scratch/dent on the underside.) At any rate, if you're doing the trail, this is the part I thought was sketchiest. Forget the step, worry about this bit near the north end of the trail. I do think this would have been easier downhill and the main step easier uphill for the sport specifically, so I'd consider north to south (the "hard" direction according to a lot of things), instead of south to north if I were doing it again.

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After that, we made it up to the junction with Glenn Springs Road, where things became much smoother. On that note, eco mode is unexpectedly fantastic for slightly-rough-but-mostly-smooth gravel roads, where you don’t want things to be quite as “peppy” as the default mode and need a softer throttle response, but don’t want the “keep it in low gear” shift points that come with mud & ruts/etc. We also came across the first Wilderness Edition Outback that I’ve seen on Glenn Springs. As we neared the turnoff for our campsite, we decided to briefly head up to pavement at Panther Junction to get cell service to check on some things and top off the gas tank. We then doubled back to our campsite for the night: Pine Canyon #4

The campsite was simply fantastic and had absolutely stunning views. It's also not too far off the main road, if you're coming from the north instead of the south (and easy to get to in any vehicle, as Glenn Springs and Pine Canyon roads are well-maintained and smooth). If you're in the area, I'd _highly_ recommend Pine Canyon #4. It was the best campsite of the trip, and also looked much better than the rest of the Pine Canyon sites.

We finished up the night with a green chile stew and watched a well-earned and incredible sunset that slowly lit up different parts of the colorful tuffs and rhyolite exposed in the surrounding mountainsides.



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Amazing thread, It looks like you guys had a lot of fun. I'm very inspired.

Loved the video clip, by the way. NO BIGGIE!
 
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Day 5, Part A: Pine Canyon hike then down to Boquillias Canyon

We started out with a great sunrise, lighting up the same things in reverse, had some very tasty and filling breakfast burritos, then set out to hike Pine Canyon trail, which starts just up the road a bit from the campsite.

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Pine Canyon is a hidden gem of a hike. It’s about 4 miles round trip, in-and-out, but winds up through some beautiful desert meadows slowly up into the treeline, ending at a big pour-off in dense forest. Throughout, you’re surrounded by spectacular yellow, orange, and gray cliffs of tuff and rhyolite. It’s a great hike and just far enough off the beaten path to not get many visitors, while still being easily accessible and very well maintained. It’s not too steep (climbs about 1000’ over 2 miles), and is incredibly rewarding!
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After that, we headed down south to Boquillias Canyon along the south edge of the park and took the short hike in to give a quick view of it. We didn’t have a ton of time (had a quick lunch at the ranger station, where we saw another bronco sport), so we quickly headed back a bit to start at the southern end of Old Ore Road.

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jofer

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Day 5, Part B: Old Ore Road, Ernst Tinaja, Telephone Canyon #1

Old Ore Road actually turned out to be the roughest and most technical trail in the park. That was due to the recent rains that had washed out all of the parts that go through washes and rutted up quite a bit of other parts. However, it’s also the type of rough trail that the sport tackles perfectly. So long as you’re careful about lines, there are no steps large enough to really hang things up. There’s no shortage of fun parts and getting up on 3 (or 2) wheels for significant stretches after you get north of Ernst Tinaja. Lots of steep climbs. However, nothing that was quite as exposed / on the edge of a big dropoff north-end obstacle that got me worried on Black Gap. This was just plain fun to drive.

The south end of Old Ore is mostly pretty easy going up to Ernst Tinaja (a popular and very worthwhile short hike). All of the various guides and notes at the ranger stations suggest you can take more or less any car up to Ernst Tinaja. However, due to the recent rains, this southern section was definitely rougher than I’d want to take the average passenger car up. I’m not sure a Honda Civic / etc could physically make it without damage. We saw a Forester getting along just fine, but they also have fairly decent clearance. At any rate, I’m 99.9% sure that was just due to damage to the road that hadn’t been fixed yet. We made slower progress than I expected up to Ernst Tinaja.

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Ernst Tinaja is a hike you should definitely do if you’re on Old Ore Road. It’s quite short and easy, but really very neat. I geeked out over the geology there for quite a bit (tons of neat little things that only a structural geologist would get excited over). Tinaja is a word for a water well and is often used for deep and permanent springs in this region. The Tinaja itself is an extremely deep “pothole” in bedrock in the middle of a streambed. It’s surrounded by slightly deformed (i.e. wavy-looking) limestones that make for quite a sight. One note, though: I can’t recommend the campsite there. Everyone on the trail is going to be more or less driving right through the Ernst Basin campsite to get to the hike, and it’s quite dusty in addition to the traffic. At any rate, here are some pretty photos:

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After Ernst Tinaja the trail goes in and out of a fairly large wash / streambed repeatedly. This is where it gets quite rough. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a ton of photos, but I had a blast driving it. We definitely got some odd looks from a few folks passing us in heavily modified wranglers and a “well, you’re earning your bacon” comment, which I took as a compliment. At the end of the trip, we happened to bump into someone at the gas station who asked if that was us he saw in a sport on Black Gap. He was local and had driven Old Ore Road the day before we did. He said it was rougher than he’d ever seen it before due to the recent rains, so some of this was definitely a bit abnormal. At any rate, it was fun! After a few miles things got a bit easier going, but most of the distance from Ernst Tinaja to our campsite at Telephone Canyon was quite rough. It took us a good bit longer than we expected, but we didn’t hit any issues.

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We camped at Telephone Canyon #1. Great campsite! Not quite as pretty as Pine Canyon, but very close. We set up camp and watched the sun set, lighting up some rocks across from us that looked remarkably like fingers. We also took the time to relax, have some sotol margaritas, and eventually cooked up a very satisfying dinner of fancy refried bean burritos with plenty of queso fresco.


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Yet again, the sport makes for a great camping setup. The floodlights on the back hatch are really handy for cooking / etc after dark!
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Day 6: Back to civilization (and showers)! North Old Ore Road and Paintbrush Gap Road

After a good night at Telephone Canyon, we headed north to finish out Old Ore Road. We had a great (and perhaps a bit excessive) breakfast of potatoes, bacon, and eggs, lingered over coffee, then packed up and hit the trail.


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I’d read somewhere that “the north end” of Old Ore Road was quite rough, so after the day before, I was a little concerned that it might get rougher, and backtracking wasn't going to be terribly easy either. However, as it turned out, the trail continued to get progressively smoother and was, as before, quite beautiful. There were a few more fun sections in washes, but most of it was very smooth compared to the previous day.


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After we completed Old Ore Road and hit Dagger Flats Auto Trail (which is smooth gravel), we stopped to air back up, and were looking forward to some well-earned comforts of civilization that night. However, we made better time than expected on the north end of Old Ore and had quite a bit of time to explore further. We’d actually done Dagger Flats on the first day in the park, so we headed over to Paintbrush Gap Road, which is short, and mostly very smooth, but is a proper 4x4 trail at the end, where it gets scenic and eventually ends at the site of an old ranch.

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Afterwards, we showered (yay!) then had a great dinner at a pizza place a bit outside of Terlingua (I forget the name, but there’s only one). As the sun set, we watched a small herd of bighorn sheep pick their way across the cliff behind the restaurant. You can’t see them in the photos, but they’re there! Pizza was excellent and the beer was cold. Can’t ask for more!

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Day 7: Drive home and final thoughts

Not a ton to say about the drive home, but there was an amusing incident with the navigation system. After filling up, it went in circles around our previous location as we drove away, then eventually put us at “Null Island” (0N,0E lat,lon).

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After awhile, it decided to update our position to Timbuktu! (literally! It’s a real place near that arrow!) Everything was fine after the next restart / stop for gas, though, I just found it amusing.

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We eventually got home to a very sweet hound dog who was very happy to see us!

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Somewhat surprisingly, the only significant scratch I can find on the underside of the car after all of that is the one on the rear diff skid plate, which was definitely what we hit on Black Gap. Given how many times we had loose rocks bounce off the underside or hit something that I thought I’d clear, I expected more scrapes. We definitely pinstriped up the outside a bit, but almost all of that buffed out in the end.

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This was the first extended trip we’d done in the sport, and it massively exceeded expectations. The interior is really very well designed for this type of trip, and the extra tech makes the long road trips much, much more enjoyable. It’s also a beast offroad, all things considered. This thing will climb damn near anything. I’m floored… I know it’s not a “real” offroader, but there really isn’t much else like it. The Cherokee Trailhawk, sure, but Subaru’s/etc don’t come close. I loved my Forester, and I do think they’re great, but this is the vehicle I wanted when I bought it. Even compared to the old mid-80’s Blazer I grew up driving (which was a “real” offroader), this thing is way more capable. (Note: the Blazer was stock and didn’t have locking diffs, which is a big part of what I’m talking about here. Got stuck multiple times when one wheel on each side lost traction in the Blazer, and that just doesn’t happen in the sport. If one wheel has traction, you’re going forward.)

In terms of offroading, clearance really is the sport’s limitation. 9” isn’t terrible, but an extra inch or two would go a long way. I’ve thought about a lift, but the truth is that most of what I do is on-road driving, and especially in an independent suspension vehicle, you can’t lift it significantly without affecting alignment and on-road handling. I really do like how it corners (just spent a lot of time driving very windy mountain roads in TN while visiting family - the sport feels like a small car on those). Furthermore, most of my offroad driving is sand and mud in SE TX. Sure clearance helps there for ruts, but what I have is good enough, and I’m going to be straddling deep ruts no matter what. At any rate, I think a modest lift would really boost the sport’s off-road capability, but I’m personally not planning on doing that at the moment.
 
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Very cool ! We’ve been going out there every other year or so since the late 90’s, love it out there.
 

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I enjoyed your write up! I was the one that told you the northern section of Old Ore was bad earlier this year. We didn't go through it (came from the south to Ernst Tinaja), that's just what the park rangers told us. What a difference a few months and rain can make! When we went, Pine Canyon seemed worse than the southern part of Old Ore.

We're planning a return trip hopefully in March. We didn't get to do everything we wanted on our last trip. Mainly backpacking the south rim in the Chisos. That was actually the whole purpose of our trip last year, but it got cancelled at the last minute due to the wildfire. I'm hoping we can find another BS owner to make the trip with so we can hit these trails. I'm not as bold as you are. I don't want to drive any trails solo.
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