Saturday, May 7, 2011

Seminole Canyon Historic State Park TX

Roger here...   Wow!  What a welcome we received on our first night at Seminole Canyon State Park.  It rained, and we saw the most vivid rainbow (double, no less) we have ever seen.  It was a complete arch -- ground to ground -- for both rainbows.  Too bad we could not get the entire thing on our camera.

I know....  Too many pictures of the same thing. Here's the view of the sunset on the other side of the sky fifteen minutes later.  

Magical, to say the least.

We have a great campsite here.  Huge.  Lots of privacy.  A covered picnic table.  Amazing views.  AND,  we are nearly by ourselves.  I can't figure out why people aren't cramming into this place.  

Here are a few of pics of the flora and fauna from our site...

Sorry, no shots of the scaled quail, white-tailed deer, rabbits (Bandido really likes the rabbits), or the three-foot-long ribbon snake.  Unfortunately, we were not camera-ready.  In the case of the ribbon snake, we did not have an audio recording device to capture Dianne's scream.   (I almost stepped on the darn thing --  D.)

This morning we hiked to the amazing pictographs under a mammoth overhang in Seminole Canyon.  The only way to do this is on a guided tour.  Our guide today was the interesting Ranger Dan.  

Ranger Dan explained that the difference between pictographs (here) and petroglyphs (other places) is that the pictographs are painted and the petroglyphs are carved.  The amazing ancient art that we viewed was essentially in red, black, yellow, and white pigment.  Some of the pictographs date back 2000 years.  

I'll try not to overdo the pics here, but it will be difficult.

One of my favorites was, "the ghost", painted in white.

Just to add some perspective,  here is a shot of the entire overhanging shelter....

Dianne here:  I'll interject the photo below that I snapped at the interpretive center.  It shows what life must have been like in these cave overhangs.  Not a bad idea; in the hot sun it was shady and cool inside, and the opening faces away from the north winds for winter warmth.  
Notice her grass mat.  The photo below shows actual remnants of layers of grass mats still visible in the floor of the cave.  

Hard to believe items like that would be preserved for over a thousand years, but our guide explained that if you were to dig down, you'd probably also come across portions of sandals and other artifacts preserved by the dry climate.  Back to Roger....

On the way into and out of the canyon we passed one of the coolest sculptures I have ever seen.  The "Shaman" is at least 20 feet tall, and is patterned after the pictographs you have seen.  The Shamanism religion of ancient American cultures clings to the tenet that through meditation (and psychedelic drugs (peyote), you can travel to the next level of existence through a hole in the Earth.  Not sure I buy into all that, but fascinating to be in a place where it was practiced in prehistoric times.

I love the Shaman statue.   Again, too many pics.  Loved hamming it up when no one was around.

We crammed A LOT into a two-night stay.  Had we known how interesting and beautiful this place is, we would have stayed longer.  I am going to let Dianne talk about the museum and what I am sure she will refer to as a death ride (on bikes) to the Rio Grande.

Dianne here:  After our morning guided tour, we decided to ride our bikes on the six-mile round-trip Rio Grande Trail.  All was well and we made the first three miles without incident, even though it was loose and rocky at times.

The trail ends at the confluence of the Pecos and Rio Grande Rivers. 

 We walked down a short trail to get a closer view of the Rio Grande and, of course, a peek at Mexico on the other side.
The interesting plant in the foreground was in bloom, so I found another one close to the trail for a close-up.  
There is beauty to be found in the desert scrub, if you keep your eyes open!

The three-mile bike trip back wasn't as much fun, because many of the loose rock areas that we were able to ride over downhill proved impossible to navigate uphill -- especially since it was HOT by then. 

As this photo of Roger shows, we resorted to walking our bikes across large stretches of uphill large, loose rock.  Note how far back I was...the heat was really affecting me by then.  (Translate that into "I thought I was gonna die!"  Note to self:  One bottle of water is not enough for the desert.

I did stop long enough to photograph a cool cairn along the way:

We loved our stay here at Seminole Canyon State Park.  It reminded us of why we started this lifestyle in the first place.  And after 2 1/2 years, I still feel as though we're just getting started!

The whippet photo of the day shows our very laid-back Chaplin basking in the sunlight inside the motor home.  I'm glad we chose not to take the dogs on our hike; between the rocky trail surface surrounded by cactus and thorny brush, and the extreme sun and heat of the afternoon, they were better off in air-conditioned comfort at home.

Check back soon, for tomorrow we drive to Lajitas for a one-week stay near Big Bend National Park.


Linda said...

So glad you are having a great time at Seminole Canyon SP. The rainbow photos are awesome!! The flower is from an ocotillo. They only leaf out when enough water, love their blooms! Roger, did you receive any special powers from the shaman sculpture!! It was very cool. Good eye Dianne for avoiding the snake, I hate snakes too. Continue to have fun!!

Nancy and Bill said...

Wow...that does look like a magical place !!!

Oh, you can never have TOO many pictures IMO ;o)