Big Bend Conservancy
2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!
Another element in the diversity of life in Big Bend is the fact that the Chihuahuan desert is relatively young. The effects of the last ice age were still lingering in the Big Bend only 10,000 years ago, bringing cooler temperatures and more rain than we observe today. Tall Arizona pines, Douglas-firs, Arizona cypress, and aspen, species that are now restricted to the coolest heights of the Chisos Mountains, would have grown abundantly in the middle and upper elevations then. Mexican pinyon pines, oaks, and junipers would have forested the lower elevations. Today they’re found only at elevations above 4,500 feet.
Although not a surveyor, McDougall argued that "the probability of this higher altitude being correct is borne out by the fact that there is a cluster of aspen trees (Populus tremuloides) at some little distance from the summit on the south slope and one would not expect to find this species in such a position at less than 9000 feet or higher.
Some surprising species living at the very limit of their ranges can be found in the higher, moister areas—bigtooth maple, quaking aspen, and Douglas fir.
I think that a search expedition is in order. Grab your cameras!
....Just beyond is Laguna Meadow, an open grassy area dotted with pine and juniper, around 3.5 miles from the trailhead.Pass through the meadow, circling the south-west slopes of Emory Peak, the highest in Big Bend at 7,835 ft. The most southerly stand of aspen in the US grows amongst the boulders on these slopes.
Just past Laguna Meadow, the trail beings a climb in the direction of Emory peak before intersecting the Colima Trail. Look among the scattered boulders along the southwest slopes of Emory Peak for quaking aspens, the southern-most stand in the United States. These trees are the last few remnants from ancient, wetter times thousands of years ago.
All photographs and content posted by members are to be considered copyrighted by their respective owners and may not be used for any purposes, commercial or otherwise, without permission.