Friday, May 13, 2011

Hiking at Big Bend National Park

Roger here....   After taking the dogs for a long walk, we hopped in the car and made the seventeen-mile drive to Big Bend National Park.  The opening photo gives a preview of the color and interesting terrain that we experienced.

I was disappointed to learn that the "Windows" trail was closed due to the ever-present fire danger.  Evidently, evacuation would have been difficult if a fire started.  I am okay with the diligent safety measures that the park officials are taking.  I have never been to a drier place -- well, maybe Death Valley.

We easily shifted our main hike to the "Lost Mine Trail."  Two warning signs greeted us at the trail head:  One warned about bears, seen many of these signs before.  The other warning offered advice about what to do if we encountered a mountain lion.  I would really like to see a mountain lion -- through the window of our car.  

Most of the hike was uphill, so we opted to only cover two (round-trip) miles.  The scenery was amazing.

We met the campground hosts from the Chisos Basin Campground along the trail.  The four of us spent a few minutes trying to identify an unusual looking warbler-type bird that was feeding on the ocotillo flowers.  It flitted around too quickly to get a picture.  Fun to watch it, but we never did figure out what it was.  

The prickly pear cacti were in bloom:

After the hike, we headed to the Chisos Basin Visitor's Center and Lodge.  Dianne stamped her national park passport at the visitor's center, then we headed to the Lodge for lunch.  Another beautiful view from our table:

Even though the "Windows Trail" was closed, the quarter-mile "Windows Overlook Trail" was open.  We strolled along the paved trail.  Check out the expansive view of the valley below in the center of the first picture.

The "tree-like" plant in the center of the above photo is a century plant.  It grows out of a yucca-like base.  Dianne likes them and wants to get one for our garden at Retama.  (Interestingly, the plant lives about 25 years and blooms only once.  The tall blooms sap all its energy, so once it has bloomed, the plant dies. -- D.)

No, Dianne, we are not at Disney World.

Time to go back to Lajitas and take the dogs for another walk.  

The pet picture of the day depicts Chaplin helping me read the morning news on my computer while Bandido looks on.


Nancy and Bill said...

We are so unfamiliar with the desert landscape...thanks for introducing us!!

Definitely need to spend more time in the desert during our next full-time adventure;o))

Gin and Syl said...

I want to be there!! Beautiful photos of a beautiful place. Thanks for taking us along. Travel safe.