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Visit to Big Bend Ranch, February 27-March 3, 2010

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Offline catz

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Visit to Big Bend Ranch, February 27-March 3, 2010
« on: March 28, 2010, 03:43:30 PM »
I have delayed posting this trip report because I din't know how to post pictures.  Well, I still don't but I did manage to get them onto a web site where I HOPE you can view them.  http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/577151951GjMMkO.  I "tagged" almost all of them but I think you can only view the label if you look at the pictures one by one, which is rather tedious.

We left central Austin at 7:00 and arrived at the park headquarters at Sauceda at about 4:00, only stopping for gas in Ft. Stockton and to top off in Presidio.  We tried to get our permits ande stuff at Ft. Leaton, but the ranger there would not do so, telloing us that since our reserved campsite was near Sauceda, we should take care of everything there. The dirt road to Sauceda from the highway is well-maintained and even a regular passenger car should not have any trouble negotiating it (except maybe after a heavy rain).   

We paid our fees and got oriented by the not-so-helpful volunteer.  The dirt road to our campsite (Tascate 2, accent on the first syllable) was considerably rougher, but high clearance is needed, not four wheel drive.  We set up our tents (two on a clearing built to accommodate only one) and got ourselves pretty much squared away before sunset.  All the sites come complete with picnic tables (are you listening NPS?) and fire pits. The unanticipated bonus of our site was that you could see the West side of the entire Chisos mountain range far off in the east.  There was no mistaking the outline of Casa Grande and Emory Peak, and the falloff from the South Rim was pretty dramatic.  We enjoyed our adult beverages, dinner, and then port and cigars, going to bed at about 8:30 or 9.

Woke up at 7:00, had coffee and breakfast, and set out to explore.  The Park requires that every site have an approved method of depositing your solid waste, but since we would be driving right by Sauceda every morning we used their indoor facility (which also has a shower, by the way) and never used the bucket they made us buy.  Anyway, our first stop was to do the hike to Cinco Tinajas, a relatively short (1.5 miles one way).  These are an interesting set of tinajas, one of which is as big as Ernst Tinaja in the national park.  After poking around there a bit, we next went on a short hike to Los Ojitos, a spring.  But not just any ordinary spring, as it turned out.  From the parking area (which is next to another campsite), we basically followed our noses to where we could see a swatch of green trees.  When we got to them, we walked a very short distance, turned a corner, and could not believe our eyes:  there was a LAKE.  Complete with two ducks swimmjing on it.    This lake was maybe 150 feet long by 75 feet wide and is formed by a rock/cement dam that a rancher built in the 50's or 60's.  It was a very pleasant place indeed, and we sat under some trees, ate our lunch, and watched the birds.

After this idyllic repast we got back into the car and headed to the Solitario.  This is the park's signature formation, and was formed by a gigantic volcanic eruption thousands of years ago.   The road to the Solitario is an extension of the main road into the park and was every bit as drivable.  However, once you get to the turnoff and go into the Solitario itself, it became considerably rougher.  Still not four wheel drive rough but definitely high clearance.  We drove around the Solitario for over an hour.  When you are actually in it, it is less impressive than thge overlook shows it, mainly because you are basically down in a crater surrounded by bluffs and ridges.  After emerging from The Solitario, we continued on the main road to its terminus at the east/north bou8ndary of the park.  Actually, the road continues on, but it is private property (some maps show this road, with the words "Public Access Pending".


The weather was starting to turn windy and colder so we headed back to camp.  By the time we got there it was raining pretty good.  Not a deuge, but hard enough, and the tempeature had probably dropped 20 degrees.  We sat in the truck, waiting for the rain to end.  And it did, but not before a double rainbow emerged, directly between us and the West side of the Chisos far in the distance.  Eventually the rain stopped, just before sunset, and we were able to eat dinner, have a quick cigar, and got into bed about 8:30.

The next day we woke again about 7:00 to wind and lots of it.  I would say the temperature was in the mid-thirties and the wind didn't help any.  After ate a quick breakfast we got back in the truck and drove all the way back to the entrance to the park.  The purpose was to stop at all the interpretive signs we eschewed on our way in and to try to find some rock art we heard about.  Which we did, although the rock art we found was small and really not that impressive.  Across the road from there, though, was a clump of bright green trees, always a sign of a spring.  So we hiked acrioss the open desert, found a way through the remnants of a barbed wire fence.  We found a very nice spring and followed it a good ways.  We never came to the end of it.  It was very nice.  As we got back towards Sauceda, we attempted to find an entrance to Auras Canyon.  Auras, we had been told by a feloow BBC member, contains some very fine rock art and we wanted to see it.  We could not find any place that appeared to be a direct entry into this canyon, so we etried to enter it via what we though was a tributary canyon.  We walked for maybe two or three miles, makiing two or three turns into still other canyons, when we found ourselves back on the main road!  We obviously zigged when we should have zagged.  We retraced our steps and figured out wehe we zigged and proceeded to zig.  Sure eno7ugh, it put us into the right canyon, although it was still not Auras.  But we were confident that we had found the right place.  It was too late to press on to the rock art, so we returned to our truck and would look for the art the next day. 

The wind was still blowng hard when we got back to the campsite, so it made for an uncomfortable happy hour and dinner time.  Went to bed early.

Got up at 7:00 again and the wind had mercifully died down during the night.  It was considerably colder--our entire campsite was covered in a layer of frost--but because there was no wind it actually was quite nice.  We ate our usual breakfast and headed out to find the rock art.  We started at the same place as the day before, zagged where should have, and soon found ourselves in what we were confident was Auras.  Only it wasn't.  It soon boxed up, with the only way out--other than to retrace our steps--was to take a fairly steep trail up and over a pass.  We were not at all sure that this was the right way to the rock art, but we didn't know what else to do, so we followed ity.  At least it was an actual trail so SOMEONE had gone this way and someone had thought it worthwile enough to put in a trail.  Anyway, to make a long story short, once you topped the pass, you descended down a long side canyon inio Auras.  We knew we were in the right place because we came upon the famed windmill that we had been told was the marker to look for.  I will not reveal any further details on where exactly the rock art is, but suffice to say it is very nice and extensive--maybe a 300 foot-long panel.  While I have seen more spectacular rock art both in Utah and near the Pecos, this panel was no slouch.  We explored around the site for a couiple of hours.  We also found a rock containing a very deep metate, the deepest I've ever seen.  There was also a cave that contained some evidence of human habitation.

The hike out was uneventful and we got back to campsite around 4:00 or so.  Because the winds had died down and shifted to being from out of the south, it was much more pleasant sitting around the campsite than the previous two nights. 

The next day we got up and broke down our site and returned to Austin, arriving about 5:30.

This was my first visit to the interior of the State Park.  I've hiked several of the trails that you can access from the paved road, but had not been into the interior before.  My impressions:  it is one rough piece of property--rougher than the National Park in my opinion.  How they were able to scratch out a living is beyond me.  There is no defining set of mountains like the Chisos; rather, there are dozens of isolated buttes, mesas, and ridges, with canyons and other drainages separating them.  The official park map shows an astonishing number of trails, some of which are very long.  There is also much more water than I thought there would be.
   



Wake me when it's time to go.

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Offline trtlrock

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Re: Visit to Big Bend Ranch, February 27-March 3, 2010
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2010, 04:09:39 PM »
Nice report -- sounds like a great trip. Definitely on my must-do list...
John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee

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Offline Al

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Re: Visit to Big Bend Ranch, February 27-March 3, 2010
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2010, 06:15:36 PM »
Well done!  Thanks.

Al

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Offline sleepy

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Re: Visit to Big Bend Ranch, February 27-March 3, 2010
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2010, 07:07:38 PM »
i was lucky enough to get the advice "take the right hand saddle" and "there is a horse trail to it", or i might never have found Auras Canyon.  When you are back at the pullout and look southeast, it's easy to see.  In fact, you can see the park has tied red tape one some creosote bushes to make getting their easier. 

my complaint is that it is obvious there are ranger led tours to it, as evidenced by copious piles of horse dung at the base of the panel.  that's just wrong.  you can tie your horse at the base of the slope and just walk up to it. :willynilly:

great report. 
It's never too late to be what you might have been-Geroge Elliot

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Visit to Big Bend Ranch, February 27-March 3, 2010
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2010, 08:58:44 PM »
Overlooking Cinco Tinjas
I see you've been taking spelling lessons from ShaneA :rolling:

Sorry, I just couldn't help myself...

Nice pics!

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Offline homerboy2u

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Re: Visit to Big Bend Ranch, February 27-March 3, 2010
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2010, 10:20:27 PM »
I have delayed posting this trip report because I din't know how to post pictures.  Well, I still don't but I did manage to get them onto a web site where I HOPE you can view them. 

 I went over to your album and randomly picked a couple so you can see how i did it. Go to your thumbnails and pick the largest one (600pixels).

 Again in no particular order.......






Good luck and re arrange your trip report as you see fit.

Homero


Stay thirsty, my friends.

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Offline homerboy2u

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Re: Visit to Big Bend Ranch, February 27-March 3, 2010
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2010, 10:26:10 PM »
Overlooking Cinco Tinjas
I see you've been taking spelling lessons from ShaneA :rolling:

Sorry, I just couldn't help myself...

Nice pics!

 Again...when you go to Richard's link, you will see on the left side: Other Sizes
 Cilck it and it will take you to Post this photo.....
 Click the 600 pixel tag, then choose with your mouse the "direct link to image"
 Then just copy paste it between the middle of the "insert image tag"...
 You should be good to go.

Stay thirsty, my friends.

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Offline Al

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Re: Visit to Big Bend Ranch, February 27-March 3, 2010
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2010, 11:59:01 PM »
I have delayed posting this trip report because I din't know how to post pictures. Well, I still don't but I did manage to get them onto a web site where I HOPE you can view them.

 I went over to your album and randomly picked a couple so you can see how i did it. Go to your thumbnails and pick the largest one (600pixels).

 Again in no particular order.......






Good luck and re arrange your trip report as you see fit.

Homero




catscats! You've been holding out on us.  I am depressed!  Great stuff . . .

Al

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Offline catz

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Re: Visit to Big Bend Ranch, February 27-March 3, 2010
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2010, 05:21:43 PM »
Al, I wish I could take credit for the pix.  It was my bud who took them; he gave them to me on a CD.

Overlooking Cinco Tinjas
I see you've been taking spelling lessons from ShaneA :rolling:

Sorry, I just couldn't help myself...

Nice pics!

I can't tell you how many times I misspelled tinajas.  I thought I had caught them all, but obviously not.

I had what was to me a uniques experience when posting this report.  About two paragraphs into it, I would type but the ecreen would not continue to scroll down--I was stuck at the same spot.  The letters continued to print but I couldn''t see them.  I could scroll down to where I left off but as soon as I hit any key, it reverted back to where I was.  In effect, I was typing blind.  Hence the numerous typos and misspellings in the main body of the text. Any ideas as to why this is happening?  Indeed, I just noticed it is doing the exact same thing on this very post!  I cannot see anything below the word "Any" .

Wake me when it's time to go.

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Offline trtlrock

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Re: Visit to Big Bend Ranch, February 27-March 3, 2010
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2010, 05:39:45 PM »


I had what was to me a uniques experience when posting this report.  About two paragraphs into it, I would type but the ecreen would not continue to scroll down--I was stuck at the same spot.  The letters continued to print but I couldn''t see them.  I could scroll down to where I left off but as soon as I hit any key, it reverted back to where I was.  In effect, I was typing blind.  Hence the numerous typos and misspellings in the main body of the text. Any ideas as to why this is happening?  Indeed, I just noticed it is doing the exact same thing on this very post!  I cannot see anything below the word "Any" .

A 


here's why that's happening:  http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/from-the-administrator/jumping-screen-when-typing-t8027.0.html
John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee

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Offline randell

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Re: Visit to Big Bend Ranch, February 27-March 3, 2010
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2010, 09:23:37 AM »
Nice.  Looks like I've got some new things to visit on my next trip out there Auras Canyon and Los Ojitos spring look very interesting indeed.
There's nothing like a good quest to get you intimate with a place. - Tom Clynes

 


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