Monthly Archives: March 2010

South Rim, Big Bend Day 8 part 2

Howdee all,

We made it to South Rim and Awesome views..a bit hazy, but still very nice.  pano 2We rested for a bit at the top and had lunch South rim hike,Big bend_029

All the while breathing in the views..South rim hike,Big bend_030 and fresh air..

South rim hike,Big bend_032  We were not alone, this fella, Rufous-crowned sparrow?, was foraging around the rim..guess it was not afraid of heights.South rim hike Big bend

We headed back down and took Boot Canyon to the Pinnacle trail

Still looking and listening for the Colima warbler.South rim hike,Big bend_050We did see two deer, who didn’t seem bothered by our presence. South rim hike,Big bend_055 Allot of the wooded walk down reminded me of woodland walks in CT.South rim hike,Big bend_057 Except for views like this..

The BootSouth rim hike,Big bend_059I dedicate these Boot photos to my Boot Lovin Twitter friends  South rim hike,Big bend_061  You know who you are..South rim hike,Big bend_060  Goodbye Boot!South rim hike,Big bend_069The hike down was a bit tough on the knees.. South rim hike,Big bend_077   though, mine didn’t complain until the day after..

South rim hike,Big bend_079   Getting closer…we are headed to the valley below, at this point I am dreaming of a cold drink at the Lodge.South rim hike,Big bend_086 Views of Casa GrandeSouth rim hike,Big bend_087   We are almost there…I am ready to put my feet up..my toes need stretching..South rim hike,Big bend_090 South rim was a long hike..but not as difficult as i was expecting. I think that is because we went up the gradual incline of Laguna meadows instead of starting via the Pinnacles trail.

We didn’t see the Colima Warbler..boo hoo..it was too early and we knew that.

There is always another time..

South rim hike,Big bend_101 I know we will be back for a longer visit next time..South rim hike,Big bend_102

Because ..

I ♥ Big Bend

Birds of the Day

Common raven,Scaled quail,Turkey Vulture,Junco,Mexican jay,Painted redstart
White throated swift, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Robin,Red tail hawk,Northern harrier
Black crested titmouse, Bewick,rock and canyon wrens,White breasted nuthatch
Blue gray gnatcatcher,Mocking bird,Canyon and spotted towhee,White wing dove

…………………………………………..

We have left Big Bend.. the Migrating birds have been calling to Jeff..

We are headed to the Lower Rio Grande Valley and Padre Island area..its our first time in the area, so if you have favorite spots, dining, birding, camping, let me know. Thanks..

South Rim trail, Big Bend NP Day 8 part 1

Howdee all.

March 26

We saved the South Rim trail for the end of our stay in Big Bend, hoping for an early arrival of the Colima warbler. They are usually not seen in the area until mid April.

This is the only place in the US that the Colima warbler is seen, when it migrates from Mexico, here to spend the summer.South rim hike,Big bend_001

 Hike to South Rim

via Laguna Meadows approx 4 miles

Colima trail – 1 mile

Boot canyon trail to South Rim- 1.8 miles

return trip via Pinnacle trail approx 6.4 miles

Total trip approx- 14 miles

Difficulty- Moderate

Elevation gain- approx. 2000 feet

You can see the map below there are different ways to reach South Rim South rim hike,Big bend_002

I really wanted to start the trip via Laguna Meadows trailSouth rim hike,Big bend_004 We were told it is a gradual up,versus the Pinnacle trail which switchbacks up the first mile.

Jeff wanted to hike up the Pinnacle trail..

South rim hike,Big bend_006

Luckily the coin toss had us go up the meadows..South rim hike,Big bend_007 The right choice in my opinion…after going down via the Pinnacles trail later that day and seeing how steep it was..

South rim hike,Big bend_011It was not as though we weren’t getting enough exercise to begin with.. South rim hike,Big bend_012  It was a gradual, as we were told…I did have to stop many times to catch my breath..South rim hike,Big bend_017 The meadows area…South rim hike,Big bend_018We also did some birding…South rim hike,Big bend_019 South rim hike,Big bend_021We left the Meadows trail.. South rim hike,Big bend_022and followed the one mile Colima trail..

South rim hike,Big bend_023 hoping to see or hear the Colima Warbler,we didn’t see it on the trail named for this warbler.

South rim hike,Big bend_024 At the end of the Colima trail we picked up Boot Canyon trail to the South Rim

Here we did see a few birds, along with a Painted Redstart.South rim hike,Big bend_025 Looks like we are getting close…South rim hike,Big bend_026To the top… South rim hike,Big bend_027

Stay tuned for the views from South Rim and the hike down via the Pinnacle trail.

The Windows, Big Bend NP, Day 7 part 2

Howdee all,

March 25

After hiking Grapevine Hills to Balanced rock, Jeff and I decided to catch some evening light at

The Windows trail.

4 miles round trip

Difficulty – Easy

Window hike_001  The trail descends 800 feet from the trail head Window hike_010 It is a very gradual decent..easy both waysWindow hike_011The first mile is thru scrub vegetation   Window hike_012Window hike_013There were nice views of the Chisos Peaks   Window hike_015

 Window hike_016Orange colors on the Chisos rocks..

The last mile enters a cool shady canyon with oaks, wildflowers, the birds seem to like this area.Window hike_020A Black-crested titmouse..Window hike_018 The path is gravel and easy to follow..

 Window hike_027Window hike_028    Flowering shrubs.Window hike_033 Window hike_031Toward the end the trail follows a rock wash..

Small tanks of water…

Window hike_035 Stair steps made thru the wash  Window hike_037Pockets of water ..attracting birds…

Hermit thrush and Canyon wren were taking drinks..Window hike_038 Finally ..the Window..Window hike_041  Window hike_043Overlooking the Valley and distant mountains  Window hike_047 Stairway to heaven..Window hike_056Bird baths..  Window hike_064

Hermit thrush hangout..

Window hike_065On the trail back great views of Casa GrandeWindow hike_069another Rock face profile

Do you see it? Window hike_068

      I really love this landscape..Just enough green Window hike_081 Window hike_083 Yeah..these photos all look similar…I am not a good editor

I want to include all the photos I like..

Window hike_084  On the drive back I took a photo of this pyramid rock that we pass when we are in the parkWindow hike_089  Egypt in Big Bend…Window hike_091

Birds of the Day

Cactus wren,Black-throated sparrow,Says Phoebe,Purple finch,Turkey vulture
Loggerhead shrike.Black tailed gnatcatcher,Canyon wren,Canyon Towhee
Rock wren,Cedar waxwing,Hermit thrush,Pyrylloxia,Blue gray gnatcathcer
White wing dove,Black crested titmouse,Mexican jay,Ruby crowned kinglet
Spotted towhee,Mockingbird,Red shafted flicker,Hermit thrush,Coopers Hawk

Grapevine Hills Trail, Big Bend NP Day 7 prt 1

Howdee all

March 25

Grapevine Hills trail to Balanced rock

2 mile round trip

Easy hike..a bit of a scramble to balanced rock

 Grapevine to Balanced rock_002The trail begins on the 8 mile Grapevine Hills dirt road.Grapevine to Balanced rock_003

Be prepared to be Stoned…:)

I took lots of photos of these rock formationsGrapevine to Balanced rock_010The trail follows a gravel creek bedGrapevine to Balanced rock_011  Passing thru some incredible rocks..

Indian legend says that when God finished making the word, he tossed all the leftovers in Big Bend.

Grapevine to Balanced rock_014

I can imagine that here

Grapevine to Balanced rock_016

Leftover rocks thrown about

Grapevine to Balanced rock_018 I noticed these quartz crystals all over the ground in this area..

No collecting allowed in National parks..

Grapevine to Balanced rock_025

I think this was one of the most interesting areas in Big BendGrapevine to Balanced rock_029As far as the formations.. Grapevine to Balanced rock_030

The park is huge..so many more areas to exploreGrapevine to Balanced rock_032   Probably more hidden beauties like this area…

Grapevine to Balanced rock_034

  Are you stoned enough yet?

Grapevine to Balanced rock_037 This large rock looks like a face side view, smiling face..Grapevine to Balanced rock_035

That’s how I felt out here…

Grapevine to Balanced rock_042

all smilesGrapevine to Balanced rock_043What amazing rocks.. Grapevine to Balanced rock_063

And then… the scramble to Balanced rock

Grapevine to Balanced rock_048

I took a few photos here..Grapevine to Balanced rock_049 I climbed a few rocks to take photos from the east looking west

Grapevine to Balanced rock_050

  Have you been sufficiently stoned?Grapevine to Balanced rock_053   I know I was…it was incredible..Grapevine to Balanced rock_056   This place is awesome..  Grapevine to Balanced rock_058 We had lunch here..and then it was time to goGrapevine to Balanced rock_065

To our final hike of the day

Grapevine to Balanced rock_033

The Windows..

Big Bend Ranch State Park, Closed Canyon Trail Day 6 prt 2

Howdee all,

March 24

After hiking Cinco Tinajas and Ojito Adentro Trails, we traveled the long dirt road out of this park of Big Bend Ranch State park.

Jeff has had enough of long dirt roads after this one. We had intended to drive the 50 mile dirt road in Big Bend State park, that follows the Rio Grande river…but after this dirt road…..Big Bend Ranch State park_097

   Jeff says we will skip it this time, 25 miles on this one was enoughBig Bend Ranch State park_101

We enjoyed the hikes off of the dirt road..and also took a drive to the Visitor center located further down the road. This seems to be a great destination for those who have horses..

We saw many trucks pulling horse trailers as we left the park. Big Bend Ranch State park_106

    Finally on pavement we headed back to Terlingua stopping at Closed Canyon.

Closed Canyon Trail

1.4 mile round trip

Easy hikeBig Bend Ranch State park_109

Closed canyon is a narrow slot canyonBig Bend Ranch State park_115

The canyon cuts through the Colorado Mesa to the Rio Grande RiverBig Bend Ranch State park_116 You must be aware of surrounding storms as rain can cause flash floods here..Big Bend Ranch State park_117 And there is no where to climb for safetyBig Bend Ranch State park_118 The canyon floor is smooth rock..very slick when wet..Big Bend Ranch State park_119We traveled through several small pouroffs about three feet in height before reachng this 7 foot pouroff. 

We weren’t sure if we could climb back out of the pouroff, so Jeff waited behind for me to pull me back up.Big Bend Ranch State park_132This was the end of the road..a few tanks ,tinajas with very steep slick walls.

I was able to climb back up with no problem, so Jeff went down to check out the tanks himself.Big Bend Ranch State park_127I thought this rock formation looked like a face..    Big Bend Ranch State park_139    The sun was lighting up the hillside ..

See the Rio Grande River below..

Mexico the other side..Big Bend Ranch State park_145Oh our way back I spied these way up on a hill..sorry about the fuzzy photo..Baby camera you know..

We found out that they are Barbary sheep..not a native species..and there as been some talk of getting rid of them.Thats all for now..

Only a few days left in Big Bend..Jeff wants to go findBig Bend Ranch State park_155 some migrating birds!

Stay tuned for a few more Big Bend Hikes

I ♥ Big Bend 

……………………………………..

Birds of the day

Curve bill thrasher,House sparrow.House finch
White wing dove,Turkey vulture, Common raven.Black-throated sparrow
Chipping sparrow,Vesper sparrow,Osprey,Black Vulture,Bewick wren
Pyrilloxia,Lesser gold finch,Brewers sparrow,White crowned sparrow
Vesper sparrow,Cactus wren

Big Bend Ranch State Park Day 6 part 1

Howdee all,

March 24

Jeff and I took a long drive from Terlingua to Big Bend Ranch State park for three recommended hikes.

Big Bend Ranch State park_002The drive followed the Rio Grande River

Mexico on the left..

Big Bend Ranch State park_005

  Texas on this side

Big Bend Ranch State park_007

We drove 40 miles on a paved road to the exit for two of the hikes..

from there we traveled way to many miles ( 15) on a dirt road to our first hike

Big Bend Ranch State park_014Ojito Adentro

1.4 miles round trip

Difficulty…easy

The trail meanders thru desert scrubBig Bend Ranch State park_017 and continues to a grove of Cottonwoods and Bofecillos creek

the trail winds around boulders and ends at the spring ..

When we first entered I heard what seemed like the distant hum of a freeway..

I looked above me in the willows..hundreds of bees…they looked like honeybees..

    Big Bend Ranch State park_031at the end of the trail, a water tankBig Bend Ranch State park_023Dripping with ferns and water… Big Bend Ranch State park_026

We lingered here a bit..listening for birds

on the way back to the car

Another cactus in bloom…

Big Bend Ranch State park_060Big Bend Ranch State park_038   Big Bend Ranch State park_054  It was a beautiful day…

The temperature was in the high 7osBig Bend Ranch State park_043We drove 10 miles on the dirt road to our next hike Big Bend Ranch State park_044

Cinco Tinajas

Length I mile

Difficulty..easy to moderate

The trail begins in desert scrubBig Bend Ranch State park_046

I dont know what the gray scrub is..I really liked the color in this photo..Big Bend Ranch State park_047

Lupines in bloom (Bluebonnets)

Big Bend Ranch State park_051 The trail gains a bit in elevation and overlooks the Tinajas or Tanks.

Big Bend Ranch State park_069

We then followed the trail down into the wash..

Big Bend Ranch State park_070

following the washBig Bend Ranch State park_072Thru some rocky areas..

Big Bend Ranch State park_075

To the TinajasBig Bend Ranch State park_076

This is a view of the shallow end on the south sideBig Bend Ranch State park_077

On the north side..deep tanks

Big Bend Ranch State park_081

It it was warmer I might think of taking a swim here..

The pools looked about four feet deep.

Big Bend Ranch State park_087  Jeff and I took another trail out of the tank area…we followed the washBig Bend Ranch State park_091past algae filled pools.. Big Bend Ranch State park_092    And more Texas bluebonnets..

Big Bend Ranch State park_094

Stay tuned for

Day 6 part 2

Closed Canyon

Sunset in Big Bend ..Day 5 part 3

Howdee all,

We finished off a very hot day of hiking in Big Bend with a lovely sunset.

Sunset_004A great way to end the daySunset_007 Even though I was craving a nice cool shower Sunset_009 We had to stop for a few photosSunset_010 Of a Texas sunset

It cooled off a bit when the sun went down..Sunset_012  Nice sleeping weatherSunset_015 For those of you who know of my internet situationSunset_016 I found out today I can use my ATT cardSunset_017  Its not real fast internet connection

I can use it to chat..looks like I still have to go to wifi cafe to upload blog posts.

Sunset_019     See the Vultures in the distance..a huge kettle

Sunset_024look closer..Sunset_022  Its very peaceful here in Big Bend..

Sunset_026   I love how the rays of sun are shining thru the clouds

Sunset_023

So there ya go..another Nice Big Bend day!

Stay tuned for more of

Big Bend NP

Boquillas Canyon Trail, Big Bend NP, day 5 prt2

Howdee all,

We left Ernst Tinaja trail for the Five mile bumpy drive back to the paved road.

Stopping along the way for a few photosErnst Tenaja_027

Of the white roadErnst Tenaja_023

and interesting flowersErnst Tenaja_017

Ernst Tenaja_020

      This Yucca will be flowering soon

Ernst Tenaja_016Distant mountainsErnst Tenaja_013Prickly pear cactus everywhere here…Ernst Tenaja_002 Another small cactus in bloom..

Ernst Tenaja_003

After leaving the dirt road we head to our next destination.

Boquillas Canyon

length 1.4 miles

Difficulty –easy

Bouquillas Canyon_004

Wasn’t too long ago the you could cross the river and visit the town on the other side, now that isn’t allowed.

The Mexicans now bring their wares over to the American side..and although it is illegal to purchase goods this way. I saw people doing it. It is ok to put donations in the jar.Bouquillas Canyon_005Jeff viewing men across the river, the Mexican men were viewing us with their binos, When people made purchases they rode their horses thru the river to get their money. Bouquillas Canyon_007A prickly pear in bloom  Bouquillas Canyon_009Bright yellow flowers with orange centers..  Bouquillas Canyon_010  This is a short hike that takes you back into the Boquillas Canyon. It skirts the river and ends in a series of sand hills and cave weathered cliffs.

Bouquillas Canyon_015 This day was extremely hot…90 plus

I wanted to jump in the river..Bouquillas Canyon_016 Cactus just ready to bloomBouquillas Canyon_018 We start hiking into the canyon..Bouquillas Canyon_022 More desert blooms..Bouquillas Canyon_023 Across the river in Mexico was a film crew..

I wonder what they were filming?Bouquillas Canyon_024 On our way back I noticed the rock wall was all crystal…Bouquillas Canyon_025 We didn’t notice it on the way because we were too intent on seeing what the filming was all about.Bouquillas Canyon_026 How could I have missed these beauties?Bouquillas Canyon_027 Doesn’t it look nice and cool here?

It wasnt…I was ready at this point to come home and take a nice refreshing shower.Bouquillas Canyon_028 On the way back to the car we heard and spotted this fellow..

After using my birding apps…I use IBird and Sibley.

I love that you can compare birds in Sibley and use that part of the app allot.

We listened to the call and decided it was the…

Ash-throated flycatcher.

Bouquillas Canyon_029

A handsome bird.Bouquillas Canyon_030

Birds of the Day

Meadowlark, Cactus Wren, Turkey Vulture, Black-throated sparrow, Common Raven, Loggerhead shrike,Inca dove,Vermillion flycatcher,Mockingbird, White-wing dove,Ladderback woodpecker,Rock Wren, Ash-throated flycatcher, Blue-winged teal,Says phoebe,Black phoebe,Verper sparrow, Chipping sparrow,Canyon Towhee,Yellow rumped warbler,House finch, Rough winged swallow, Road runner.

Part 3 of this day are some nice sunset shots

to be continued.

Ernst Tinaja trail, Big Bend NP, day 5 part 1

Howdee all,

March 23

Another hot day in Texas..funny how that happens. We arrived to very cool, almost cold weather in the 50s. It warmed up to the 60-70s and the last few days it has been 80-90s while hiking…we bring lots of xtra water on our hikes.

Today Jeff and I decided to hike the,

Ernst Tinaja trail

1.4 mile hike

Difficulty.. easy

A four and a half mile long drive up Old Ore Road to get to the trail head.

Be prepared for a bumpy drive.

Ernst Tenaja_133We stopped along the way when we saw this beauty.

Ernst Tenaja_116

  The flowers were almost as large as the cactus itself.Ernst Tenaja_130I got lost in its Yellow glow…Ernst Tenaja_129A real beauty in the desert.    Ernst Tenaja_117 More beautiful, narrow white dirt road…be prepared to pull over for oncoming cars.Ernst Tenaja_115 While traveling to the trail head I spied this poor little critter…How do you suppose he met his demise? I suspect a Loggerhead Shrike decided to roast him before dinner. Shrikes sometimes spear their prey onto objects and come back to eat them later.

Ernst Tenaja_110

The cactus are budding..some of these buds are new leaflets..others are flower buds.

Ernst Tenaja_106

This is the start of the Ernst Tinaja trailErnst Tenaja_104

The trail follows the wash, over water shaped rocks..

Ernst Tenaja_098

And GravelErnst Tenaja_097

Into the Tinaja or Tanks

and canyon of highly-convoluted rock layers.Ernst Tenaja_090These tanks hold water ..year roundErnst Tenaja_089

   Be careful near the tinaja’s edge. Over the years deer, javelina, and even mountain lions have been found drowned in this tinaja.

Ernst Tenaja_088 We stopped here for lunch.

Ernst Tenaja_086

After wandering further upstream

to check out this strange formation.Ernst Tenaja_085This is a nice trail for families i think children would love to scramble around on the rocks..

Ernst Tenaja_082 More desert bloomsErnst Tenaja_080   Ernst Tenaja_081 We traveled further into the canyon..

Ernst Tenaja_072

    Up a few dry waterfallsErnst Tenaja_066

Until we reached this area…Jeff poses before climbing up.Ernst Tenaja_065

   This was the end of the line for me…too difficult to climb up. Ernst Tenaja_058

So back down the trail…things always look different in another directionErnst Tenaja_055 You notice things you hadn’t before..Like this huge boulder below.

Ernst Tenaja_054

flowers growing out of rock creviceErnst Tenaja_052

Cactus spines being lit up by the sunErnst Tenaja_047

A nice hike both waysErnst Tenaja_045

I notice this little home? in the overhanging rock. What type of bug made this?

Ernst Tenaja_044 Spring flowers, glowing in the sunlight

Ernst Tenaja_040And then back down to the very strange rock Ernst Tenaja_041

with colors of gray, orange, yellowErnst Tenaja_039 Greens, blues and orange Ernst Tenaja_029 Pinks and orangeErnst Tenaja_028A very nice place to linger…Ernst Tenaja_033

This hike was very easy, except for the last part when we had to do some scrambling. We were told you can follow the canyon out to make this a longer hike, but you needed another car waiting at an access point.

From here we went on another small hike..

To be continued ..

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Richard and Muther..I changed the photos so that the source picture would be larger. I don’t know why it changed to a smaller size in the first place..let me know if you like the size or if I need to make them larger.

Richard, if there are certain pictures in previous posts you would like larger to use, let me know.

Mule Ears Hike, Big Bend NP..Day 4 part 3

Howdee all,

We ended our day with a 4.5 mile round trip hike to Mule ears spring.

Difficulty- Moderate

mule ears_001

Mule ears is probably one of the most distinctive landmarks in Big Bend.mule ears_003Can you see why it was named Mule ears? mule ears_004 This hike is all out in the open..mule ears_005 Bring plenty of water…and if its hot do this hike in the morning..mule ears_007 I adore these pink and purple cactus..mule ears_008 Pink cactus with orange rock..mule ears_009 Torrey Yucca blooming throughout the desert now…mule ears_011 mule ears_012 See the green trees… I thought that was going to be the spring we were hiking too.mule ears_013 But no..not yet.. see the ears in the distance?mule ears_014 Cactus blooming..mule ears_015 Close up of the blooms…mule ears_016  The Mule ears…mule ears_021 And finally we arrive at the springs…

Another Oasis in the desert…

mule ears_022 Where froggys live…mule ears_023 This spring was truly and Oasis, with trees and fern and flowers growing around.and several small pools of water.

Somehow..I lost some of my photos from this hike..I took a few more frog photos and photos of the Trees around the spring..I think my SD card gobbled them up..

Oh well…

Birds of the Day

Roadrunner, Cardinals,Black-throated sparrows,Says Phoebe,Vermillion flycatcher.,Common Yellowthroat,Yellow rump warbler, Meadowlark, Prrhuloxia,White crown, Black-throated, Vesper and chipping sparrows,Merlin,House finch, Spotted and Canyon towhees, Scaled Quail,Coopers hawk,Robin,Blue-gray gnatcatcher,Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Bewicks, Rock and Canyon wrens, Chihuahuan raven

and our life bird

Golden-fronted woodpecker