Name That Ranch Relic: While wandering around (somewhat aimlessly at times) in the backcountry of Big Bend I’ve come upon unmarked graves, old adobe buildings in various states of ruin, even rusted antique vehicles. I know the contraption above is somehow related to ranching activity but can’t even guess at its specific purpose. I’d think cattle coming in from the left would run into a dead end. But then what do I know? I’d have made a lousy rancher’s wife!
The Peak From The Historic District: There’s a lot to see and do along the 30-mile Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive in Big Bend NP, including Mule Ears, the Chimneys, Tuff Canyon, Burro Mesa Pour-Off, and the Homer Wilson Ranch. One of the last attractions before Santa Elena Canyon is the Castolon Historic District, which combines history and scenery with a general store. Looking north from there is Castolon Peak.
Q:hey, what do you know about Greece?
I know it splatters all over me every time I fix bacon for the family. Other than that: Nothing.
But, all seriousness aside, I’ve been to 19-20 countries; unfortunately Greece is not among them. I’d like to go sometime, though.
All Decorated For Christmas: With it being so decked out in red and green you might say that Caprock Canyons SP has the Christmas spirit year round. And then again you might not; some of its green likely morphs into brown during the winter. Growing up I thought the Texas Panhandle was the flattest, most lifeless terrain on earth but that was before I explored its fabulous red rock canyons. One backcountry trail in particular is as rugged as it is beautiful. It was summer but still I couldn’t have asked for a nicer Christmas present.
jasonaech tagged me to post 5 random facts about myself
Read carefully and take notes. There will be a quiz!
1. Some people have asked (OK, nobody asked but I’m going to explain anyway) what my user name means. Well, if you consider the “iv” to be the Roman numeral for 4, you’ve got genna4 which is a twisted and decidedly crude variation of my name — Jennifer. Or, the alternate version, it’s a carryover from the days of knights and princesses. Can’t you just see some lovestruck knight carving Lancelot ❤️’s Gennaiv on a tree trunk?
2. I think it’s well established that I’m from Texas but would you believe I don’t own a pickup truck, a horse, a cow, a gun, an oil well, a ranch, a pair of cowboy boots, a 9 (or is it 10?) gallon hat, a silver belt buckle, and I’ve never had an affair with a rodeo rider. In addition, I’m a vegetarian and I did NOT vote for McCain/Palin. Maybe if he’d been a little younger, a lot more liberal, and a rodeo rider I’d have considered him 😊 (but probably not).
3. Is that 5 yet? Oh man! Two more to go! (Can I count “I suck at math” as a random fact?) I quit high school to get married (no, I wasn’t pregnant) and despite all the odds everything has worked out well for me. I don’t come close to deserving my husband (he probably suspects as much but, just in case, don’t tell him); I have two wonderful (sometimes) children; and I managed to get not one, but two degrees. I’m not ambitious, though, and happy to be a woman of leisure — if you call what I do leisure.
4. Tumblr works out very well for me. I was a painfully shy, insecure child and if you just substitute “adult” for “child” that’s still a pretty true statement. I’m sure the shy insecure child shows through a lot, but Tumblr allows me to occasionally pretend I’m a well-adjusted adult. I do project the image of a confident, self-assured woman of the world, don’t I?
5. Finally! The last one! My husband can’t always get away to go with me and sometimes I just like to be alone in the wilderness, but after two serious incidents in which stupidity (mine) played a key role, I decided quite on my own (yeah, right) to give up making major backpacking trips alone. My better half asked me out of the blue not long after the last such trip: “Jenni, have I ever beat you?” I didn’t know what to make of such a question “Of course not!” I said. “You would never hit me.” He smiled sweetly, too sweetly, and said: “You may not be able to say that if you even think about another solo backpacking trip.” I knew he would never really do it, but he got my attention. 😳
OK, get out a pencil and paper! The test will count as 50% of your grade.
And I tag: ALL of my followers. If I could do it, so can you and I’m interested in knowing some sordid, disgusting facts about you all. So get busy!
When In Austin … Of course visit the old neighborhood elementary to see the solar panels, the mosaics, an innovative way to spell “Librarian,” and the bare bones sidewalk art. But most of all, never miss an opportunity to visit one of the REI stores, where one lucky family member came home Monday with a down-filled inflatable sleeping pad and a hot pink The North Face jacket. Let’s see, it wasn’t my husband and it wasn’t either kid. It must have been me! 😊
Where People Once Wined, Mined, and Dined: And slowly died of mercury poisoning if they worked there long enough. Spread out over 640 acres, the Mariscal Mine — opened in 1900 and abandoned during World War II — produced cinnabar that was converted into mercury. The site, within Big Bend NP, still contains warnings about mercury contamination. All I know about western mining I learned from cowboy movies but I do know the area has a haunting beauty and mystique to it and the mountain views are fantastic.
A Dusty, but Colorful, Border Town: The first to welcome us to Boquillas from Big Bend was Victor Valdez, who serenaded visitors to Boquillas Canyon as The Singing Mexican for decades. Since the crossing was reopened he now coordinates visitor operations in the Mexican border town. We could have made the short trip to the town several ways but we chose to walk the dusty path. The white building (3rd pix) in the background is the Mexican immigration station. Some of the buildings went into disrepair when the border was closed after 9/11 but the colorful city has once again sprung into life. Its residents are friendly and offer dinner, drinks, and handmade souvenirs.
Cinnabar & Sugar Toast: Cinnabar, in the form of contaminated brick and mine tailings, was common in the Mariscal Mine Historic District at Big Bend NP; it was definitely toasty in the desert sun; and as for the sugar — well I answer to that when my husband calls. 😀 The mine district sprawls over 640 acres; as we walked we saw an old car and other reminders of past activity, like a building being reclaimed by a hillside. None of the buildings had roofs and as much as possible i kept off the mercury-laden brick as the sign cautioned.
I Don’t Think We’re In Texas Anymore, Toto: Actually we were when I took these photos but not for long as I made my 1st visit to Boquillas, Mexico this year. My husband had been there before — fortunately for him none of the women acted as if they knew him! 💃— but the international crossing was shut down after 9/11 and remained closed until recently. Most people left with the border closing, but the town’s beginning to prosper again. From the top: the city from the Boquillas Canyon road; the US Immigration Station; the welcoming signs; the pathway leading to the boat; the boat we crossed over in; and the welcoming committee in Mexico. I’ll post more from the town soon.
Corporate Headquarters Of Minecraft?: Not hardly. The Mariscal Mine operated sporadically at this site from 1900-1943, extracting cinnabar ore that was refined into mercury. Workers were from Mexico and major health problems from mercury exposure were the rule. Workers typically built their own homes (3rd photo down is the ruins of one). The historic site within Big Bend NP covers over 600 acres. A sign warns of mercury contamination. I heeded it to the letter except when I had to ignore it for one of the photos I’ll post later.
Circling The Peak: Didn’t have a choice; no wagons were handy. My husband likes the shape of the peak. He said it looks like…well, you might know what guys think it looks like (though a matching peak would better complete that image). Personally, I thought the wildflowers near the base were pretty. Big Bend Ranch SP has a complex past. Geologists say this complexity results from being at the intersection of 3 major geological features plus home to a large volcanic field. Interesting. I still say the flowers are pretty.