Friends of Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Conservancy

Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

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11-15 to 11-21

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Offline marfa1954

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11-15 to 11-21
« on: November 23, 2006, 07:26:23 PM »
TUE    drove from royse city to fort stockton, stayed at the daze inn, nice shower and bed.  woke up to those big wide west texas intersections.

WED   burritos and coffee in marathon at cottonwood station, both good.  marathon an odd combination of new mexico wannabe and continuing small town texas decay.
set up camp at rio grande village and had a cold beer with friends.  saw the rgv pet bobcat then had a beer by the rio at the pumphouse.  lots of butterflies, buckeye, checkerspot, painted lady, red admiral, monarch,
queen, and clouded sulfur, those are the easy ones, quite a number of smaller faster little boogers, too.
the rio is beautiful right now, they must be releasing lots of water in chihuahua cause it's running cold and green with almost no sand, around 2.7 at rgv.

TH  cold motherforya all night!  28F.  light wind no clouds and 30 to 70 in the desert was the story for the entire week.
went out messing around on the boquillas canyon road, stopping for short walks, walking down to the old crossing with it's romantic view of boquillas, ironically the only place they weren't selling sticks and rocks.
the park is killing the giant reed that made the chigger tunnel along the trail to the canyon.  saw a jug of herbicide (Rodeo) and 2 unhappy junior rangers who appeared to be injecting methly bromide into the soil to kill the reedy rhizomes.  this is about as stupid a thing as i've seen in the park, they're probably doing little harm but definitely no good and the reed will come right back, there's no way to sterilize the soil to the depth the rhizomes penetrate, it'd be just as efficient to shred and bury dollar bills along the trail.  PAY A LABORER TO CUT IT BACK ONCE A MONTH!
nice afternoon in the hotsprings, silt cleaned out and cold green river booming along 6 inches below.
dinner and refreshing beverages with friends.  heated tent by boiling water, was rewarded later with water dripping on head all night as it condensed out.  great horned owls chasing hooting and barking through the trees about 3 am.

FRI   made a slow move to cottonwood campground, a beautiful fall day with long sweet light and the cottonwoods golden and full of yellow rump warblers and golden fronted woodpeckers.  i had a nice long nap in the hammock while cc read and drew, then we drank beer, cooked fajitas, and stayed warm around the grill burning charcoal.  no moon or clouds, just all those stars . . .

SAT  toasty night under the sleeping bags.  watched a bobcat stalking something just after dawn, then the campground turkeys started making warning calls and stalking the cat.  the cat stopped and got that disgusted cat look, scratched an ear, and left.
shot the la coyota panteon along the road to sta e canyon, incredible place to be buried, well maintained, too.
walked around t abaja, then up the creek to the cottonwood groves.  lots of water in the creek, the floods have shifted the channel so the meanders are opposite of where they've been for a number of years, making it easy to see the old masonry work that used to follow the creek.  anyone know any history behind it?   brush piles mark the flood
ten feet deep and over a hundred yards wide, hard to imagine.  beaver sign, coon trax, lion trax bigger than my hand.  lovely lovely part of the park.  great blue heron, solitary sandpiper, rough wing swallow.  later a walk into sta e canyon, then grilled chicken and cold beer at the camp.  a great horned owl landed on a dead branch at dusk, perfectly silhouetted(sp?).

SUN    must comment about the bathrooms by the la harmonia store in castolon.  best in texas?  gets my vote.  strolled out to the chimneys off ross maxwell, a lovely desert day, all the rain has the grass desert on that side of the park looking beautiful.  whatever was real about the petroglyphs at the chimneys is lost, somebody decided to rework them so they show up better.  playboy bunny and mouse ears?  ended up in study butte for showers and provisions.  the bbq at kkkk cafe was terrible, sorry, maybe good idea to use well seasoned mesquite or hickory instead of cottonwood for smoking?  and all that k business should stay on the vidor hiway . . .

MON    walked down top of burro mesa hike off ross maxwell.  this is a pretty little hike through sotol grassland and clambering down a dry rocky streambed.  wonderfully diverse plant community here, within 20 feet sotol, lechaguilla, grama grass , prickly pear, ferns, resurrection plants, fall colors of butter, cream, russet, burnt umber lava and darker basalt.  very popular hike, too.
drove up to chisos later, the high country looks spectacular with all the recent rain, but too chilly for desert lovers.
guess what?  went back to cottonwood campground and enjoyed another golden late afternoon, the stars, grilling, cold beer, and spending our time together in one of the best places ever.

TUE     drove back east to beat turkey traffic but wound up losing almost three hours parked on the interstate while they cleared many different wrecks from one side of perry's kingdom to the other.  you could hand out machine guns to all the charismatic mega fauna in the park and they still wouldn't be as dangerous as the danged freeway!

The park is the prettiest i've ever seen it, especially the castolon side where the grasslands are coming back strong.  terlingua creek continues to recover from being stripped of timber for the mines,  cottonwood and willow slowly seeding out downstream from the big grove, i hope some naturalist is following the process as the stream flow seems to have stabilized a lot over the years.  if only tornillo creek had a like chance of coming back to life, but that area looks dead til the next ice age ends.  gotta remember to be careful with this world that has ended up in our hands.
can't wait til next trip!


Offline trtlrock

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enjoyed this!
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2006, 12:39:46 PM »
Nice report; sounds like you had a great time.
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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Re: 11-15 to 11-21
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2006, 05:56:25 PM »
Great trip report and thanks for posting.  

Your comment "gotta remember to be careful with this world that has ended up in our hands" is right on.




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