Blockhead? No, Hardhead? Maybe. Arrowhead? Yep: As many miles as I’ve logged in the Trans-Pecos I haven’t stumbled over many arrowheads. Too many other things to stumble over out there for a woman with two left feet I suppose! This one turned up on a cross country hike to Banta Shut-in & may still lie where we found it because we photographed it & put it back on the ground. Same story, different location for one in 9-Point Draw in the NW part of Big Bend. One more & I’m declaring myself an honorary Indian Princess. 😊
Diamondbacks Are A Girl’s Best Friend?: Not this girl, although I try to stay on good terms with them. I almost stepped on this western diamondback in Big Bend Ranch SP as I exited our tent one night to heed nature’s call. For a moment I was suspended in mid-air, torn between drowning the poor snake (& getting my own legs wet in the process) or screaming & diving back into the tent on top of my lord and protector, aka my husband. I chose the latter option. He still laughs about it although if he’d had to mop up the tent he might not have thought it was so funny! 🐍😳
There’s A Storm Across The Valley: John Denver pegged it right on this one. The Santiago & the Dead Horse mountains are beginning to get wet as a spring thunderstorm approaches but you’d never know it in 9-Point Draw as the sun brings out the colors in a wildflower display of white & yellow flowers (& you thought I wasn’t a botanist!). In years of adequate rainfall, the flowers blanket the ground so thickly that it’s impossible to keep from stepping on them as you hike. The gap separating the mountain ranges is Dog Canyon. 🐶
Snow On Texas Mountains? That’s Tuff: It can be so bright in direct sunlight that it’s hard to keep your eyes open, but that white stuff near Castolon on the way to Santa Elena Canyon is not snow. It’s tuff, a volcanic ash. There’s enough of it exposed that it has its own canyon — Tuff Canyon. Behind this outcropping of it, though, is Castolon Peak, a prominent landmark along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. Right before the historic army post of Castolon, tuff covers the ground so completely it looks otherworldly with the stark contrast of big red rocks protruding through the white crust.
Purple Mountains’ Majesty: The near mountain range is in Texas; the far one — the Sierra del Carmen — is just across the Rio Grande in Mexico. I’ve photographed it in almost every lighting condition imaginable but this may be my favorite. I rarely utilize artificial lighting outdoors but I used a diffused fill flash to bring out the foreground in the top photo and left it a silhouette in the bottom one. I can’t decide which I like best (I know; just like a woman; where have I heard that before?) so I’m including both.
The View From Pompey’s Head: Also The View From Saturday if you’re really into literary allusions (and who isn’t?). But actually it was the view through the eyes of Jennifer as I peered through the viewfinder of my camera from the Texas ghost town of Terlingua just outside Big Bend NP. It was on a Saturday, though, right after we’d lunch; visited the historic cemetery; & were heading back to the park. A lesser known hot springs was just downstream from our campsite at Gravel Pit (I wish they’d let me name the campsites!)
Breaking News! More Or Less. OK, Just Less
I’m going to be out of pocket for the next month or so. I’ll queue up a few posts so you won’t totally forget I exist but I’m pretty forgettable so you might make yourself a note. I’ll have my iPad so whenever I can I’ll check in to see if you still remember me. Don’t be the meanie who makes me cry!
Red-y For Fall Colors?: Ready or not, they’re on the way and no place in Texas are they more vivid than McKittrick Canyon in Guadalupe Mountains NP. Leaves will began making their magical autumn transformation soon & within 2-3 weeks should reach the peak of color in Texas’ highest mountain range. I shot these images several years ago in November when the hues were so varied & gorgeous along the trail. It’s always easier to find the perfect lipstick shade among these colorful leaves than it is at the cosmetics counter! 💋🍁
Autumn’s Finally Arrived In Texas!: Well, not quite, but judging by the big limb that the wind deposited unceremoniously on our roof a few days back and the much cooler morning temperatures it’s well on its way. These photos, though, are ones I took last November from a nearby trail I sometimes walk. I haven’t noticed any big color change in the trees or other vegetation around here yet. But I’ll keep looking and one of these days …🍁🍂🍃
Or Do What I Do: A short skirt and a barrage of tears usually works wonders for me! (Warning: Not a suitable tactic for male drivers!). I know! I got no pride but pride is so overrated. Every time I don’t get a ticket I consider it at least $100 saved and I drive straight to the mall to spend it. Try spending your pride there! 😀👗👠
Valley Of The Clouds: At least it looks as if the clouds have found an easy route down the mountain. We were east of the Maverick Entrance Station in Big Bend when I screamed at my husband to stop the car, almost causing a wreck, according to his version of the story. I distinctly recall calmly requesting he check his rearview mirror, signal, and safely pull off to the side of the road for me to capture this Kodak Moment (with a Canon digital SLR). A classic case of “he said, she said.” Who you gonna believe?
Crimson & Clover — Or Basalt & Gypsum: Besides the reddist dirt anywhere, gorgeous views, a rugged backcountry trail, & water you dare not drink, Caprock Canyons SP has an interesting geology. In fact, the geology, as in a maze of gypsum veins, is what makes the water undrinkable. The basalt lava flow is also testament to its geological richness. Prehistoric, blood sucking flies detoured by neither shirt nor insect repellant were also abundant on this trip. I’m surprised I don’t still bear the scars!