Mesa De Anguila Trail is a 14.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Terlingua, Texas that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
Trouble on north side of loop
The small trailhead map I obtained at the State Park headquarters in Lajitas was very helpful in finding the trailhead on the outskirts of town.
I solo hiked out on the south side of the loop, camped over night at +/- mile 8.5; hiked back on the north side of the loop. The north trail is where I ran into trouble.
From the gravel parking lot, followed the dry creek-bed & cairns. Then the trials branched off. I took the 1st one to the left, up a small hill over the N'l Park boundary fence. Upon my return I realized it was simpler to originally keep going down the dry stream bed a short distance & the main trail angles to the left.
I then started climbing up the very steep switchbacks to the top. Here I meet few day hikers coming back down. Here the trial is well worn, very clear with many, many large cairns. The views are great from the top.
Up to now the trail app GPS was right on. About mile 5 I came upon the trail to the right to Santa Elena Canyon. I met two groups of folks in this area heading back down to end their hike or for more water.
According to the app, my loop trail was to curve off to the left after that intersection. I spent +/-20 minutes trying to find the trail & finally cut across country through a ravine up to the top. On top I used the app gps & did re-find the trail. Later I found a level spot with only light rock covering the ground. I cleaned off a spot & set up camp about an hour before dark
The next morning I started off on the clearly marked trail. According to the app I had about 5.5 miles to complete the hike. This proved to be incorrect. According to the app, I had been averaging 2.5 mph. I had set up a pick up at the trail head at Noon which would been right.
Within a mile or so I entered a rock gully. Here the trail disappeared. I made my way through it & kept referring to the app, the official trail map & did pick up the trail again. Here the trail w as well trod with ample cairns. I turned my phone off to save my backup battery
As I crested the ridge I saw that the trail continued straight ahead, was well trod & I could see many cairns. I descended & was climbing up the next rise (there are so many of these up & downs on the north side). I stopped for a break & water & turned my phone on to check my gps. Although I was on the very clear trail I had seen earlier, the GPS showed I was 1/4 mile too far north.
I backtracked with the app & found I had missed a very faint 90 degree trail that headed west. It's first cairn was very small & about 200' west. I lined the intersection with rocks for the next person to see it clearly
From here I found a trail about 60% of the time but no trail about 40% of the time. The mileage was longer than indicated too. If totaled up, I probably spent an extra hour searching for the trail or the best way around the numerous gullies & the climbs out. Many of these were deep & steep. Often I climbed up & around. The brush on this side was much thicker & II ended up with numerous scratches below my hiking shorts.
I had carried in 2.5 gallons of water & had rationed it. But since the distance was longer than stated & I finally completed the hike at +/- 3PM ( not Noon). I drank half the water the second day I wanted. I was sipping instead of drinking.
My first two days at BBNP, I Group hiked with my family & "bagged" two peaks. Now I was on my fourth day of hiking. With the very rugged back country, the continued elevation gain & loss, the millions of loose rock under foot & low water; I was tiring.
Fortunately my cell coverage returned the last half of this last day hike. I texted my pickup family that I would be late in returning. Towards the end the trail became dependable again & my family met me about 1.5 miles from the end with Gatorade & water.
In all, a very challenging but rewarding hike that I would do again. I would definitely study the north, "backside" more before departing.
NOTE- on day one of this hike, one of the returning groups I met said they had hiked the north side before & "it was fun". I so wish I had asked, " and what does 'fun' mean"?