In this part two or our visit to the Big Bend area,(click for Part one) I am going to show you more of the scenic grandeur of the place. I know that this blog is mainly about birds, but sometime I just have to get out of that mode for awhile. Not that I didn’t watch for birds during our visit. We saw a total of 35 species, but I was also overwhelmed with all of the beauty. You will understand when you see this scene to welcome you in the morning.
What a way to start the day. For breakfast we headed to La Posada Milagro in the Terlingua ghost town for their fantastic burritos and steaming hot coffee.
Energized and ready to go, we piled in the car and headed out. We entered the Big Bend National Park and headed for Ross Maxwell Highway. It is a route that will take us past some high scenic views and on down to Santa Elena Canyon. Again, I will mostly let the photos do all of the talking, as to be perfectly honest, I am not an expert on the geologic materials of the land. A lot of lava created formations dot the area.
This highway skirts the western side of the Chisos Mountains and there are some great scenic pull-offs. Such as the Sotol Vista pull-off where this photo was taken. From an altitude of what I surmise to be about 6500 feet, you can see Santa Elena Canyon, about 20 miles distant.
This is Tuff Canyon, so named for the white material that is beneath most of the topsoil in the region. There is a hiking path to the bottom of the canyon, but we were content to just roam the rim.
This next photograph, I have named “Texas Moonscape”. One of my favorite photos of the trip.
A lone Loggerhead Shrike surveys the desert for maybe a snack.
Old ruins are scattered all over the big bend area, many of them are in this national park.
Farther along the way, we passed the Cottonwood Campground. It is a popular RV campsite, but one of best birding areas in the park. We decided to spend some time checking it out. We saw many species there including this Vermilion Flycatcher.
Arriving at Santa Elena Canyon is an awesome sight to behold. This image shows the Rio Grande exiting from it’s nine mile run through the canyon and heading downstream to cut more canyons on it’s journey to the Gulf of Mexico. These walls reach a height of 1,500 feet.
After spending some time at the canyon, we decided to return by the Old Maverick Road. It is a thirty mile rough, washboard road that will eventually return us to the park entrance, but not before showing some amazing scenery and this old Mexican Jacal. A man by the name of Gilberto Luna built it when he was first married. He lived there all of his life, had five marriages and many children, finally dying in 1947 at the ripe old age of 108. So if you do the math, this jacal is roughly 150 years old. The National Park Service manages to keep in close to original condition.
That pretty much concludes our visit. Of course, this is condensed as I had taken several hundred images. But I believe I covered the main points. I hope you enjoyed the journey,
and on the way out of the park, I managed to capture this amazing beauty. What a great way to end the trip. I can never get enough photographs of the beautiful Red-tailed Hawk.
Click any image to see beautiful enlargements.