Saturday, January 25, 2014

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park
When we left Harlingen, we decided to take some extra time to visit Big Bend National Park on the way to Arizona. Big Bend was established in 1944 and is located in that bump on the map is west Texas - on the north side of the Rio Grande.  The park is known for its rich geology, over 150 miles of hiking trails and its diverse climates where over 450 bird species can be found.
  Big Bend Nat'l Park

Since we only had one day to explore the park, we took the advice of the entry ranger and chose to hike the Window View Trail.  2.2 miles each way with an extra quarter mile spur to a plateau with amazing vistas. The trail descends gradually about 1000'.   We took our time on the trail, stopping to listen to and watch for birds and critters and to simply soak in the beauty of this desert gem.  While we didn't see many people, apparently it was a work day, because there seemed to be rest stops and benches around every corner on our way in, but on the way out they were few and far between! On the return it
ascends 1000'. 

After a couple of delicious sandwiches at the Starlight Cafe, we drove the Ross Scenic  through the park to the Santa Elena Canyon.  At this point the Rio Grande River has eroded a 300 foot deep canyon - it is beautiful!  Unfortunately we didn't arrive early enough to hike into the canyon, next time we will put this at the top of the list. 

We ended out day about 3 miles outside the park in a old mining town of Terlingua.  It was home to the Chisos Mining company in the early 1900's. Now it's big claim to fame (other than cabins and park adventures) is a big Chili Cook-off.

If you can't see the slideshow in your mobile device, click on this link to go directly to the album:
Big Bend Nat'l Park

Slideshow  is here :

On Thursday morning we headed toward Tucson, hoping to get there early enough to hike at Sabino Canyon. Unfortunately, the canyon park closed at 4:30 - we drove through at 4:15.  So, on to New River, AZ, north of Phoenix - to meet Jean and Bob.  On Friday we headed out into the desert to Buckeye, were we have rented at house in Sun City Festival.  It is LOVELY!!  It feels good to stop and know we are in one spot for nearly a month.  We'll be exploring some new hiking trails, gold prospecting (Bob is the master), visiting friends and hit the Mesa Market at least once.  Meantime, there are hummingbirds visiting the backyard every afternoon and we are happy with our decision to spend this winter "not in Minnesota".
Talk at ya later!

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