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Davis Mountains Preserve - June 17

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Offline Joe

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Davis Mountains Preserve - June 17
« on: June 19, 2006, 09:05:20 PM »
Instead of flying to Houston to party with my friends, I spent Saturday, June 17, at the Davis Mountains Preserve.

Here's my trip report...it was an interesting day.
 
I got up at dawn Saturday with good intentions of leaving early, but by the time I left Alpine it was almost 9 a.m.  It didn't really matter, as I wanted to relax and take it easy. It took me about an hour to drive to the Davis Mountains Preserve, trading waves with all the cars and trucks. There's a big new building there since last time I was there.  I walked in and a woman whom I've known since she used to live outside of Study Butte in 1977 was checking people in. (If you read my post about the "watch for falling cows" sign, she was the person that painted it.)  We had a nice chat, and then off I went.  
 
The Davis Mountains Preserve has a series of roads (pretty rough in places; I'm glad I had high clearance and 4-wheel drive) that wind through part of the preserve, and hiking trails that take off from the roads.  I drove as far as I could, about 5 miles, to where there are cables across the road to keep people from going any farther.
 
On the way to the end of the road I passed a windmill, and there was a feral hog trap close to it. I looked and at first thought there was a group of feral hogs in the cage, but when I looked closer I realized it was a herd of javelina. When I got closer to the trap I could see their noses were bloody, and I soon saw why - when I got close they tried to run from me but just ran into the side of the trap. I found a stick and managed to grab the wire that was connected to the inside of the gate, and opened the gate and wired it open.  They didn't make any move to leave, so I went on, thinking I would check on them on the way back.
 
It was a beautiful morning - cool, fresh air, clear blue sky, and the moon still hanging up there. I parked in the shade under the pine trees, grabbed my lunch and my binoculars, and walked a little way up the trail and found a spot carpeted with pine needles under three huge Ponderosa Pines.  I ate lunch and then lay back, closed my eyes, and took a nap.  I woke up about half an hour later to the sound of whispering pines, refreshed and ready to explore some more.  
 
I walked up a creek where the water had exposed the volcanic rock and made a series of tinajas. There was some water, but it's very, very dry here.  After a while I walked back to my car and headed back. I hadn't seen another person all day. I stopped at the feral hog trap to see if the javelina had figured out how to get out, or if I was going to have to try to herd them out.  The three big ones (males?) were gone, but the mother with her two tiny piglets was still there.  I walked around to the back of the cage, thinking she would go out the gate, but I guess her piglets wouldn't move, because she stood her ground.  
 
I've been around a lot of javelina and I've never felt threatened before, but she snapped her teeth at me and raised the hair on her back as the piglets stood under her. I wasn't worried about her getting at me since she was still in the cage, but I didn't want to stress her any more so I backed off, figuring she could get out if she wanted to.  When I checked in on the way out I told my friend about it so she could let someone know.
 
On the way back to Alpine I could see the Glass Mountains outside of Marathon, and there was a big fire burning on top of several of the peaks. I could see the smoke plume.  We had some storms in the area Friday  night (I had a pretty good light show from my house in Alpine, but no rain), so I bet lightning sparked a fire.

Saturday night I drove back out the Fort Davis highway, and I could clearly see the firelines and a few big blazes.  Sunday there was smoke hanging in the sky here. I drove out towards Marathon Sunday night and the fire was still burning, but I think it's just about burned itself out. The sunset Sunday night was very colorful, though, due to all the smoke in the air.  It looked like the western horizon was on fire.

All in all a nice weekend, and no hangover!    :lol:
The real desert is a land which reveals its true character only to those who come with courage, tolerance and understanding. - Randall Henderson

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/el-saloacuten/joe-a-memorial/

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BigBendHiker

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Davis Mountains Preserve - June 17
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2006, 09:09:54 PM »
Great story, Joe!

Thanks for posting!


BBH

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chisos_muse

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Davis Mountains Preserve - June 17
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2006, 10:40:27 PM »
Thank you, Joe....your writing and experiences let us be there with you for a little while :D ....you've certainly earned your time there....

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SHANEA

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WATCH OUT!
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2006, 11:41:00 PM »
Watch out for falling cows.


Great report Joe, any pics to share?

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Offline Joe

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Re: WATCH OUT!
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2006, 09:40:22 AM »
Quote from: "SHANEA"
Watch out for falling cows...Great report Joe, any pics to share?


As you no doubt have realized by now, I'm not much of a picture-taker  :oops:

Where in the world did you find that photo of the "watch for falling cows" sign?  I always thought my friend painted the one near Study Butte.  I'll have to ask her about it and get the story.
The real desert is a land which reveals its true character only to those who come with courage, tolerance and understanding. - Randall Henderson

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/el-saloacuten/joe-a-memorial/

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Offline RichardM

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Re: WATCH OUT!
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2006, 10:01:59 AM »
Quote from: "Joe"
Quote from: "SHANEA"
Watch out for falling cows...

Where in the world did you find that photo of the "watch for falling cows" sign?  I always thought my friend painted the one near Study Butte.  I'll have to ask her about it and get the story.

I don't know where Shane found his, but Google found a couple of different versions.  This sign out in California was apparently not meant as a joke.

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Offline Bobcat

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Davis Mountains Preserve - June 17
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2006, 10:10:42 AM »
Thanks for the report, Joe.  I've seen, first hand, what feral hogs can do to the land down in Florida east of Sarasota. It aint pretty. The area I'm talking about has a lot of soft soil, so they really rip it up.  And, they tend to rip up large areas.  Very ugly.  I saw a group of ~ 10 in the Myakka River area.  The adults were large and came in different color schemes;black,tan,white and combinations of those colors.  Apparently, they're very hard to exterminate.
Location Location Location

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SHANEA

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Re: WATCH OUT!
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2006, 10:32:44 AM »
Quote from: "Joe"
As you no doubt have realized by now, I'm not much of a picture-taker  :oops:  Where in the world did you find that photo of the "watch for falling cows" sign?  I always thought my friend painted the one near Study Butte.  I'll have to ask her about it and get the story.


That would be a good story to get.  I'm a picture fiend.  When I see something during my tours on the net that I might want or need for a presentation or something, then I grab it and save it for future reference.  I'm a presentation guru and have constructed many a "wild" presentation for business and school.  One of my favorites used just a ton of pics of the Northern Lights as the backgrounds.  A different background on each page.

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SHANEA

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Re: Davis Mountains Preserve - June 17
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2006, 01:16:55 PM »
Quote from: "Joe"
On the way back to Alpine I could see the Glass Mountains outside of Marathon, and there was a big fire burning on top of


http://www.marfatx.com/uploadedfiles/glass%20mountains.html

Quote
Lightning sparks complex of fires in the Glass Mountains

By JAMES TIERNEY

BREWSTER COUNTY – When it rains it burns in the Big Bend region this summer. Last Friday evening’s brief thundershowers across the area sparked four lightning-strike fires in the Glass Mountains about 15 miles north of Highway 90 between Alpine and Marathon. On Tuesday night two of those fires combined and “blew up” into a 2,300 acre burn that by Wednesday afternoon was only 50 percent contained. Two unidentified ranch houses and a cabin remained threatened by the blaze.

The Marathon Volunteer Fire Department, led by Chief Daniel Eaton, was first on the scene Friday night and the Texas Forest Service was quickly called in to assist on what now amounts to over 6,500 acres of scorched earth. Suppression efforts are continuing with a total of 58 Texas Forest Service personnel working in the area and anywhere from one to four Marathon firefighters who are supplying water refills for the Forest Service. Working on foot in the mountains is the 20-man Jackson Hotshots, a full-time, type 1 fire crew out of Jackson, Mississippi. They’ve chased one fire up a mountain and are digging around and burning out the others.

“I’m tired,” said Chief Eaton Wednesday morning. “One of the fires blew up last night.” Eaton says the fires have primarily hit the Homer Mills Ranch, but have also flanked the Parker Ranch, the Boss Ranch and the Blakemore. He said the glow of last night’s flare-up was visible from Marathon. “We’re heading out now,” he said, looking at another day on the line.

In addition to Marathon’s 2,900 gallon tanker, the Forest Service also has two five-person engines, and three three-person engines, along with three helicopters and water tanks of their own, all down from the temporary West Texas Initial Attack team in Fort Stockton. According to Texas Forest Service public information officer Lewis Kearney, speaking from the coordination center in Midland, the hotshot crew has been working 14-15 hour shifts and bedding down overnight at the Fort Stockton base.

The fires for the most part are in tough terrain and are inaccessible to vehicles. The helicopters have been used to drop the individual firefighters into the remote locations. “We want a seasoned crew,” said Kearney of the Hotshots. “They’re full-time. When they’re not in Texas they are in California or somewhere else. This is all they do.”

On Monday Kearney had described the West fire as “up high in the Cathedral peaks, very difficult to get into. It’s a low priority now and we’ll let it burn unless it comes down the mountain.” But it was this fire that, pushed by strong winds, jumped the control lines and combined with the equally remote Tank fire early Wednesday morning to add 500 acres to the burn and threaten the ranch homes in the area. “At 1 a.m. the relative humidity was 18 percent,” said Kearney on Wednesday morning. “You know how that is...It made a significant run last night.”

As of press time the situation was as follows: the Blue Canyon fire, where one old cook shack has already been destroyed, is holding steady at 3,000 acres, and is 60 percent contained; the Robber’s Roost fire was at 450 with no visible signs of smoke and “we hope to call it contained at the end of shift,” said Kearney; and the West and Tank fires, which burned into a single fire, and are now known as the West Tank fire, was at 2,300 acres and 50 percent contained.

Though these fires originated from natural causes, a weary Chief Eaton wanted to stress to the public that “if people buy fireworks, please be extremely careful with them, and try to avoid them unless we have rain. Please obey the county burn ban.” There are no-exceptions county burn bans in Brewster, Jeff Davis and Presidio counties and the state of the entire region is one of “extreme wildfire danger.”

The fight should continue in the Glass Mountains at least through the end of the week.

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Offline Vince T

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lightning
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2006, 01:56:34 PM »
We were in the basin the night that lightning storm was going on (last Friday night)...it was pretty spectacular.  We went back 90 through Sanderson...so didn't even notice any smoke up in the Glass Mountains.

Thanks for the Davis Mountains report...have not been up in that area in a while.

Vince

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Offline Joe

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Marfatx.com
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2006, 04:13:56 PM »
Thanks Vince, and thanks Shane, for posting that news report.  There's been a little news about the fire on KVLF, the Alpine AM station (they call themselves the "Voice of the Last Frontier").

I can never access anything at marfatx.com.  Do you subscribe to the Big Bend Sentinel, or how do you get access?
The real desert is a land which reveals its true character only to those who come with courage, tolerance and understanding. - Randall Henderson

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/el-saloacuten/joe-a-memorial/

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SHANEA

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I Just..
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2006, 06:53:32 PM »
I just go to http://www.marfatx.com/bb_index.asp and get to it from there....

Here are my news sources  :shock:

The Big Bend Sentinel
http://www.marfatx.com/bb_index.asp

Alpine Avalanche
http://www.alpineavalanche.com/

Big Bend Gazette
http://www.bigbendgazette.com/

Border Hotline.... :oops:  (pay site and I'm not a paying memeber)
I do NOT like news sites charging on the internet  :oops:  :oops:
http://www.borderhotline.com/

Fort Stockton Pioneer
http://www.fortstocktonpioneer.com/

San Angelo Standard Times
http://www.sanangelostandardtimes.com/

Van Horn Advocate
http://www.vanhornadvocate.com/

Abilene Reporter
http://www.reporter-news.com/abil/news/0,1874,ABIL_7942,00.html

Pecos Enterprise (doesn't seem to get updated anymore)
http://www.pecos.net/news/daily/page1.htm

Del Rio News Herald
http://www1.delrionewsherald.com/news.lasso

Midland-Odessa
http://www.mywesttexas.com/

Terrell County News Leader (Sanderson)
http://www.sandersontx.info/index.html

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Offline RichardM

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Re: I Just..
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2006, 07:03:58 PM »
Quote from: "SHANEA"
Abilene Reporter
http://www.reporter-news.com/abil/news/0,1874,ABIL_7942,00.html

Wow, do you actually find news in the good ol' Abilene Repeater? I can recall several times when I'd read a news article online, see it in the Houston newspaper the next day, the Austin  American-Statesman the next day (when stopping off at the folks' house), then the next day in the Repeater-News at my grandmother's house.  It's had that nickname for decades.  Now that the internet's been around a while they're hopefully only a day or two behind.

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BigBendHiker

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Davis Mountains Preserve - June 17
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2006, 07:41:33 PM »
Quote from: "Bobcat"
Thanks for the report, Joe.  I've seen, first hand, what feral hogs can do to the land down in Florida east of Sarasota. It aint pretty. The area I'm talking about has a lot of soft soil, so they really rip it up.  And, they tend to rip up large areas.  Very ugly.  I saw a group of ~ 10 in the Myakka River area.  The adults were large and came in different color schemes;black,tan,white and combinations of those colors.  Apparently, they're very hard to exterminate.


Feral hogs have gotten back into my father-in-law's ranch.  And you are right...man...can they tear up the ground overnight!  Looks like someone came along with a backhoe and ripped up the ground by the light of the moon.

BBH

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Offline homerboy2u

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Davis Mountains Preserve - June 17
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2006, 07:28:39 AM »
Stupid question, I know. But better ask it than keep my mouth shut and go on with ignorance:

  What are FERAL HOGS  :?: ...they're not wildboars or Javelinas.

Homero
Stay thirsty, my friends.

 


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