Thursday, November 19, 2009

Waltz Across Texas (part 2)

As I promised, here is Big Bend National Park as seen through the viewfinder of my camera. You know I get snap-happy, and like always, I took way too many pictures. Believe it or not, I'm only sharing a small part of my Big Bend collection.
I'll be honest with you--when hubby said he wanted to "waste time" in Big Bend while we waited for the weekend when we could visit our kids in San Angelo, I was not too excited about the idea. But I was wrong, and our few days there was no waste of time. The weather was perfect and the park is beautiful. The months of October and November is a good time to visit this picturesque desert.

If you decide to make the trip this winter or next spring, be sure to take hiking boots, a walking stick, and a couple of good canteens. (If you are planning a summer vacation, go to Colorado instead!) As you hike the trails and drive the paved and dirt roads, be prepared to marvel over the scenery, wildlife, and dessert vegetation.

I hope you enjoy my pictures--forgive me if this is vacation picture overload but I just couldn't help myself!

Look on the map of Texas and find our southern boarder, the great Rio Grande River. Typically the Rio Grande can be crossed easily on foot in many places. But due to some good rains and water released from a Mexican reservoir, the river was flowing deep and wide--and VERY muddy.

Across the river is, of course, Mexico. Here you see some Mexican citizens who were operating a little illegal business on American soil. They were on their side of the river, watching me through binoculars as I watched them through my zoomed camera lens.
And here are four more amigos who hiked down river a short distance from the camp. They too were keeping a close eye on me.

Here is their business--hand made bracelets, necklaces, wildlife trinkets made from twisted wire, and walking sticks. The items and the prices are written on the butchered milk jug. There were several of these little stores set up on big rocks on the American side of the river.

The Mexicans cross the river in their canoes, leave their merchandise, return to the Mexican side and wait for park visitors to leave cash in the jugs. (They are happy to take donations if you don't want any of their goods.) Then, they make their way back across the river to collect.You can buy the same trinkets in the visitor's centers and ranger stations at about three times the price posted on the jug. But the higher priced items have gone through the proper channels to be legal imports. We don't believe in encouraging illegal activity across our boarders, so I just took pictures and kept my money in my pocket.

FYI--Just in case you decide to visit Big Bend, be aware that some drug traffic happens across the desolate and impossible to secure river boundary, so it is important to obey park rules and avoid the illegal business.

It is hard to put into words the beauty of the diverse desert and mountains of Big Bend. I love nice scenery, don't you?
The subject of the photo below is the mule ear peaks in the background. We just happened to get into the shot.

As I tried to take in all the beautiful views I also enjoyed the wildlife. This osprey was just passing through. Though these birds do not live in the area, they migrate through the park. I was at the right place at the right time.
I noticed this sapsucker while we were hiking up a mountain trail.The deer hanging out at one of the camping spots weren't the least bit afraid of us.

Can you see my hidden treasure? I drive Rick crazy when we hike because I notice all the little details of nature.The desert is full of tarantulas and this one is missing a couple of legs. Poor little guy.We saw two javelinas, but those little creatures are fast and camera shy. I tried to follow them through the desert brush, but I lost them quickly. Not only are they fast, they are mean so I gave up the chase.

No picnic is complete with out ants and....

a turkey buzzard! This is one UGLY bird.

Scenery, wildlife, and plants--oh, the endless number of different desert plants. I couldn't photograph them all.
This little beauty takes shelter under other bushes and vegetation.

Very pretty but DO NOT TOUCH!Okay okay. Enough of the pictures. Big Bend National Park gets two thumbs up from me and I have never been a desert lover. But I must say, this desert is full of hidden treasures. Just take my word for it--it is a nice place to visit even if you wouldn't want to live there!

From Big Bend we went to San Angelo and then on to Austin. Part 3 to be posted soon. Come back again!


Karen said...

Beautiful must be one nice lady to have sympathy for a spider...I can't ever seem to have any nice feelings for arachnids :(

Ida said...

Great pictures. It is a beautiful part of Texas.

LaVon Baker said...

Gorgeous pictures. My fav is the one framed by the pine branches.
I saw the grasshopper!! And agree with Karen re: the fuzzy legged creature.
Don and I must go to Big Bend one of these days, however, he's unable to hike very much, so we might not get the full effect.