Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Big Bend hikes

Alice said today, "we're getting a lot of exercise here". Now why would she say that?

The last few days, we have camped near the Chisos mountains part of Big Bend, in the middle of the national park. There have been a lot of good sunrises and sunsets, and we've gone on a hike or two each day.
Sat & Sun we camped at K-Bar, down the end of a gravel road about a mile, all around is just desert. At first it looks flat, but walk out and there are washes where you drop out of sight.

Monday and Tuesday, we moved to Croton Springs. A little more West and not so flat.

The Chisos from the west are in the background.

This campsite has two spots right next to each other, so we met some other campers, both retirees traveling full time. Roland and Rosemary in their truck camper the first night, and Tom & Judy from

Here's the hiking list from Sunday (valentine's day) to Tuesday :

Sunday morning, the Window trail in the Chisos Basin from the lodge down to the window. Up in the mountains is a basin or crater, which has a single main drainage point which drops off a cliff, the window is the opening of the gulley over the cliff. It was cool at first, being up higher and in the early morning. When we got back, we split a pint of ice cream.

Sunday afternoon, Elliot and I hiked up Pine Canyon, which goes up to the Chisos from the north east side. It was probably a little too late in the day to start, but since there's a half moon we were able to see just fine on the way back. At the top, the trail ends at a big cliff and the moon was straight above. It was neat how it was desert at the bottom, and by the top there are hardwoods and cool shady glades. And continuously different temperature air currents, warm or cool, flowing across the trail. At one point, the setting sun was illuminating the inside of an arch, it was glowing.

Monday morning we relaxed around the camper. Some of us were tired from about 10 miles of hiking, and the others of us were tired from worrying about us coming back home a bit later than promised after dark. So this time we started our afternoon hike an hour or two earlier. The Lost Mine trail starts up in the Basin, and climbs up and toward the northeast, ending above Pine Canyon. We could see the same glowing arch near sunset, from the other side.

Today, Tuesday, we drove a big loop the western side of the park, and did a shorter hike into Santa Elena Canyon. It's a very impressive canyon, with two or three hundred foot walls, and glass smooth water when we were there make it look even deeper.

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What do you think, where should we go next?