Sunset in the Coconino National Forest, looking northeast toward Sedona, AZ, 4/17/15
Saturday, May 1, 2010
A Couple of Texas Parks, April 28-May 1
I arrived at Big Bend National Park after dark, watching the full moon rise over the jagged peaks was totally cool. The first campground was full, but I had the amazing pleasure of spotting a couple of cougar cubs near there. The second campground, only feet from the Rio Grande, had plenty of spots. By then, it was almost midnight so I bedded down quickly and slept well.
I took a scenic drive in the park the next day, awed by the huge rock formations ... or, I should say rock mountains. They aren't kidding when they say that things are bigger in Texas. And that included the unseasonably hot 102F weather. The picture is of the Rio Grande flowing through the Santa Elene Canyon.
The second night I moved to a cooler campsite at Chisos Basin under Casa Grande Mtn (pic). On my little hike to watch the sunset, I saw a javelina munching on a prickly-pear cactus, thorns and all ... it sounded just like a little pig. The last lights of the setting sun were beautiful through the "window" (pic).
The next day I visited Fort Davis NHS. An 1800's settlement that grew up over a water source and on the road from El Paso to San Diego traveled by early settlers. The fort's primary goal was to protect the pioneers from indian attacks. There's some sad history there -- both the Indian Wars and prejudice toward the African-American Buffalo Soldiers. The picture is of a Gatling Gun used in that era.
That evening I camped at Davis Mountains SP, enjoying the historic buildings on site, the scenic views, and the wildlife. I was visited by both deer (pic) and a coyote at dusk.
The next Texas National Park was Guadalupe Mountains. It's a park in the northern Chihuahuan Desert, that includes the ancient Capital Reef where all types of 250+ million year-old marine fossils are embedded in a dried-up inland sea. The picture is of the massive El Capitan Rock Face, just before entering the park (in the foreground is a flowering yucca). They had been having some wild windy weather lately (50+ MPH wind gusts), and my visit included a slightly milder version of it. I took a couple of hikes, nixing a 3rd because the clouds were looking ominous. And, indeed, it poured on those mountains later in the evening. Here are a couple of pictures -- the storm on the mountains, and after it cleared before sunset.
And, spring also brought wildflowers, flowering trees and bushes to the Guadalupe Mountains.