Off to the Big Bend again


This will probably be my last post for perhaps a week or so.  We are heading to the Big Bend country of west Texas Monday morning.  This time we are renting the Lajitas House at where else, Lajitas, Texas.  Check this link to see what we will be enjoying for three days: http://www.lajitashousebigbend.com/   I am sure we will be sitting on that patio sipping a margarita or two, and aiming my camera at all the great surounding areas.

We will probably check out all of our favorite places in Big Bend National Park;  Santa Elena Canyou where we may see some Peregrine Falcons.  Rio Grande Village camping area is a great birding area, plus we may see a Bobcat or a Coyote.  There is also a great Nature Trail with a board-walk crossing some wetlands.

Floating the Rio Grande - photographed from another raft.

I don’t think we are planning on rafting the Rio Grande this trip but here is a photo of Ann and I preparing to go on a previous trip.  The little half-day float trip that we ususally do is really easy.  Just a few little water rapids splashing over the bow, just enough to make it fun, without worrying about capsizing.

Ann and I preparing to run the rapids of the Rio Grande River

The ruins of the Sam Neil Ranch is a great place to see lots of small birds.  You may also be surprised by a bunch of Collared Peccaries, commonly known as Javelinas.  You may smell them before you see them.  However, they are also quite noisy.

This jacal, or dugout, is on the Old Maverick Road.  It has an interesting history.  It was built by Roberto Luna after his marriage, who lived there until his death in1953 at the age of 103.  He farmed off the land.

Roberto Luna's jacal.

You can’t ignore the Chisos Mountains, the dominant range that is visible from every point in the park.  Elevations around 8,000 feet.  The Basin is an area in the middle of the mountains where the Lodge and camping area are located.  The floor of the Basin is at an elevation of 5,000 feet so you are surrounded by the peaks.  Great birding there, also.

Chisos Mountains

Driving west from Lajitas to Presidio on Hwy 170 is one of most spectacular scenic drives in the country.  At one point, called locally the Big Hill, you are about 450 feet above the Rio Grande River.  This drive is a must if you are in the area.  Here is a photo of Ann standing precariously above the river.  Don’t step back, dear. 🙂

Ann at the Big Hill

So,when we get back, maybe I will have some more interesting images to show you.   By the way, click on any of the above images to see enlargements.

I am still transferring pictures into my iPad.   Holy Moley, Batman, I hadn’t realized how many images I had wanted to move.  I have come across some pictures that I forgot I had.

More images of The Big Bend


I’m going to do a little different for today’s post.  Not that I don’t enjoy the avian photos, I also dearly love the Big Bend area of west Texas.  But this blog is also about photography in general.  So looking back through my archives, I pulled the following eight photos out of the files.  I may or may not have shown some of them before, but if I have, have another look and enjoy.

Boquillas Canyon.  Boquillas Canyon is located on the far east side of Big Bend National Park.  There is a little trail at the end of the highway that leads directly to the entrance.  When standing in the entrance, it is a humbling experience, as right in front of you, across the Rio Grande only about 50 yards away, a cliff rises straight up from the water nearly 2,000  feet.  Talk about feeling tiny!!  This photo was taken from a few miles away, from a hill where you have a view across the river.  In the foreground, is the Mexican village of Boquillas.  Note the multi-story buildings that appear as tiny boxes.

Boquillas Canyon and Boquillas Village from across the Rio Grande

Santa Elena Canyon.  This is one of my favorite views of the Santa Elena.  It was taken back around 1985 during one of my first visits to the Big Bend National Park.  We were driving south on the Old Maverick Road.  The Ocotillo plants were in bloom with their fiery blossoms.  As we rounded a curve this sight met our eyes.  We were still about 3 miles from the canyon, but I decided to frame it between the Ocotillos.  I hope you like it.

Santa Elena Canyon and Ocotillo

The Big Hill.  Highway 170 from Lajitas to Presidio, Texas, is one of the most spectacularly, scenic drives in the United States.  As you travel through there you have the Rio Grande River direct on your left.  Across the river on the Mexican side rise towering mountains.  On the right side of your car are the mountains of Big Bend Ranch State Park.  About 12 miles west of Lajitas you climb to one of the highest points on the road, aptly, named the Big Hill.  At nearly 500 feet straight up, above the Rio Grande you have awesome views both to the west and to the east.  These are two of my images from that hill.

Rio Grande River looking west from the Big Hill

Rio Grand River looking east from the Big Hill

Mule Ears Peak.  As you drive along Ross Maxwell drive in Big Bend National Park you will see this landmark that rises south of the Chisos Moutains.  This image was taken late in the afternoon when the setting sun was just hitting the upper parts of the peak/s.

Mule Ears Peak

The Window.  High in the Chisos Mountains is what is called The Basin.  The basin is where the Chisos Mountain Lodge and campgrounds are located.  The elevation of the floor of the basin is 5,000 feet.  I guess it was named the basin, because it is surrounded by mountain peaks that rise further higher to an elevation of around 8,000 feet.  On the western side of the basin is this V-shaped formation, aptly called the Window.  This is a pour-off.  All of the water that is collected in the basin, drains down the slope to the bottom of the V where it drops over the edge several hundred feet to the Chihuahuan Desert below.  It is a one of the most photographed views in the park, especially at sunset.  A trail leads from the lodge parking lot, down to the botom of the window.  A hike of about a mile, the elevation dropes 800 feet.  That makes for a very strenuous return.

Look west from The Window

Casa Grande thru The Window.  This photograph was taken from the Ross Maxwell highway a few miles west of the Chisos Mountains.  In this image you are looking back “into” the Window.  You can see Mount Casa Grande, which is on the far eastern side of the basin.  Mt. Casa Grande is not the largest peak in the Chisos, but the most photographed.

Mount Casa Grande through the Window

Mount Casa Grande.  As stated previously,  Casa Grande peak is the most  photogenic peak in the park.  This image was taken in the late afternoon as the western sun was striking it.

Mount Casa Grande

I hope you have this, another visual tour of the Big Bend area.  Maybe there will be more on another day.  Click on any image to see an enlargement.