My California Rejects Revisited: I posted these California photos individually soon after I got on Tumblr & they flopped big time so I thought maybe they’ll fare better since I have more followers. From top: the Mission San Juan Bautista (the tower was used in the movie Vertigo); sailboats in Oakland Bay; an armed seagull (OK, a winged seagull) keeping watch over the Bay Bridge; AT&T baseball stadium (we watched a game but I don’t remember the teams); and ships on the Bay at sunset with the San Francisco skyline in the distance.
Somewhere Along The Way: I lay on the ground for this shot the 2nd time I climbed Guadalupe Peak (the highest elevation in the state at 8,751 ft.). This is not Guad Peak, btw. It’s Hunter Peak, at 8,368 ft. the fifth highest mountain in Guadalupe Mts. NP and the 6th highest in Texas. I’ve climbed it several times as well. The hike to the top is rated strenuous but once you get into the high country via the Tejas Trail it’s just a hop, skip, and jump to the summit. I didn’t do much hopping, skipping, or jumping on the Tejas Trail, however.
Where I Get My Beauty Rest: I’ll save you the trouble & say it myself: “No wonder she looks like she does!” The rocks are “cushioned” by an ultralight, 3/4 length pad; my tent’s for b’packing but I’d have used a smaller one without a water cache nearby. Water’s heavy; also scarce in the desert. My tent’s burnt orange because hubby’s a Longhorn fanatic & also overprotective of a wife who likes to solo backpack. He wants it easily spotted from the air — just in case. I led a small group this time on Big Bend’s Marufo Vega Trail. Camping in a creek bed’s not a good idea but level spots were few & far between.
If You Discover Mercury, They Will Come: Now a ghost town, but once home to 4 mining companies and 2,000 people, Terlingua is popular with visitors to the Texas Big Bend. Built in the 1880s by Howard Perry for his bride, the Perry Mansion remains Terlingua’s most imposing structure. It has always fascinated me so I decided to photograph it from every conceivable angle, even tearing a favorite top when I invaded the space of a mesquite bush for a last shot.
How Tall Is It? So Tall — Or Maybe Sotol: Either answer works. At 15 feet high, the sotol (pronounced “so tall”) stalk towered over my head as we both stood on the SW Rim of the Chisos Mountains. I wasn’t so rooted to my spot and since it was plain only one of us would continue growing I soon left for the South Rim. Unlike most desert plants, the sotol doesn’t die after flowering, but produces a new stalk every few years — good news for those who like the alcoholic drink distilled from the plant. The white area left of the stalk is Santa Elena Canyon, 30 miles away.
Look Over By That Red Rock: With 415 million red rocks (by my actual count!) in Red Rock Canyon it could take awhile to find something if that were your only clue. The colorful rock formations are a mile up the Blue Creek Trail from the Homer Wilson Ranch in Big Bend NP. At top is a view toward the canyon through a window of the covered back porch to the ranch house (gear is not mine); beneath that is a cedar corral with the canyon in the background and at bottom is looking back toward the canyon and the Chisos Mts.
My Favorite Plant Of The Desert: Of course, yucca is only my favorite desert plant because there are no coal plants or nuclear power plants in this West Texas part of the northern Chihuahuan Desert. Give them time, though 😢. Those are the Chisos Mountains in the background with Casa Grande right behind the stalk fartherest right. I was near the western end of the often rough River Road in Big Bend NP when I shot the photo.
To Grandmother’s House We Go: But only if she lives in the Chihuahuan Desert near Mule Ears in Big Bend NP. The Mule Ears Springs Trail is a relatively easy round trip hike of about 4 miles to a lovely oasis in the desert. I’ve hiked many times just to the springs and back because it’s so pretty and unique with all the exposed tuff and basalt. On backpacking trips I’ve continued into Smoky Creek up to the Dobson Trail and also ended a long, partially cross country trip that began on the Dominquez Springs Trail, off the River Road.
Home Is The Hunter: The Hunter Line Cabin is at the end of the McKittrick Canyon Trail in Guadalupe Mts. NP and was never a home. It was used for overnight stays by cowboys out on the range (home on the range? 😊) during the ranch days of the area. It may have been used later by hunters, but the name comes from a rancher who, along with Wallace Pratt, owned much of the land that now makes up the park.
I Can Squeeze Through — But Then Where Would I Be?: This trail is uphill all the way — until you reach the top then it’s downhill all the way unless you continue into Lincoln Nat’l Forest in NM, then it’s mostly flat to the state line. Of course, there’s the usual ups and downs of mountain trails regardless of direction. There’s also a wealth of geology here that lures geologists from over the world. Oh yeah, it’s my favorite trail in Guadalupe Mts. NP. Now you’ve had the crash course on the Permian Reef Trail. Go ahead. Amaze your friends with your encyclopedic knowledge of it! 😊
Now To Climb The Peak — Or Have A Beer: Decisions, decisions! The return route to the trailhead from Devil’s Hall in Guadalupe Mts. NP, passes by the horse bypass trail up Guadalupe Peak (the beginning and end of the trail are too steep for horses) and we considered making a full day of it. Our other option was to drive to New Mexico for dinner and drinks at Carlsbad. So what did we do? Just let me say the beer was really cold. But we did climb Texas’ highest peak the next day. The time of day and length of the climb factored into our decision to postpone it a day. Not just the beer.🍺
There’s That Dad-Burn Mule; I See It’s Ears!: From the Greater Smoky Creek Trail Area, that’s Mule Ears Peaks at upper left with a high ridge in Mexico behind them. The trail is often difficult to find and since it’s shown incorrectly on the topo map, sometimes we were in the creek; sometimes above the creek; sometimes in between. And most of the time I had no clue where we were so I told the people with me I knew a shortcut. Say it with enough conviction and people will believe anything. 😊