Posted in Birdwatching, Travel, tagged big bend, chihuahuan desert, desert, family vacation, hike, national park, park, texas, travel, west, western on May 23, 2010 |
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Tuesday morning I couldn’t even find my parents. I thought they might have found a ride home, or possibly I had killed them with the long hike. It turns out my parents have learned how to sleep late. Interesting.
Tuesday we took a driving tour of the park, to see the things that are on my must-see list for BBNP: Hot Springs, Boquillas, and Santa Elena Canyon. We also did some lazing around at Rio Grande Village campground, which is one of the best places to look at pretty birds without much effort. Painted buntings and vermilion flycatchers were everywhere.
Mis padres at Santa Elena Canyon.
We took a shortcut up Old Maverick Road from Santa Elena to the main road, for dinner at the Starlight Theater in Terlingua. We had great food and listened to (I think!) Doug Scharnberg play guitar and sing.
The next morning we had to drive back to Austin, but there were a couple of great sightings on the road as we were leaving. In the basin, just before the Lost Mine Trailhead, this guy was ambling along. It might be hard to see because I was a little over-excited and trying to keep people from running into our car at the same time, but in case you can’t tell it is a bear.
And this Texas horned lizard was on the road, I had to shoo him off of it.
And that is the end of Chihuahuan Desert Adventure 2010.
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Posted in Birdwatching, Travel, tagged big bend, chihuahuan desert, desert, family vacation, hiking, national park, park, texas, travel, west, western, wildlife on May 23, 2010 |
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On the 17th, we woke up a bit late and dawdled, and since it was getting warmer we decided to stay up at higher elevation and do the Lost Mine Trail. This was a first for me, and something that I probably would have not done except for the recommendations of friends. The trail has an interpretive guide that is based on numbered stops along the trail. We had fun reading them out loud, and it gave us a lot of good resting time. The views along the trail were amazing, I would definitely do it again. There weren’t very many people on the trail, which was nice.
Watch out for mountain lions!
This Mexican jay posed for me.
Claret cup cactus were blooming along the trail.
The view from the top.
Tired but happy at the top.
We rested in the afternoon, then ate at the lodge. The food there has vastly improved, and they even have a salad bar!
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Posted in Birdwatching, Travel, tagged big bend, chihuahuan desert, desert, family, national park, texas, travel, vacation, west, west texas, western, wildlife on May 20, 2010 |
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BT, my parents, and I went on an adventure to West Texas this past week. We spent two nights in Marfa and three nights in Big Bend National Park.
Friday, we drove out I-10 through Fort Stockton and stopped in Marathon to check out the Gage Hotel. There was a big wedding, so we went to the White Buffalo Bar to enjoy drinks on their lovely patio.
Yes, there really is a white buffalo in the bar.
We ate dinner at the Famous Burro, then continued to Marfa, where we were staying in a little vacation house. Saturday we did some strolling and shopping in Marfa, which was very quiet. We loved browsing at JM Dry Goods. There are a lot of cool buildings in Marfa.
In the afternoon we drove up to Fort Davis. We spotted a lone pronghorn antelope along the way.
We went to Davis Mountains State Park where my family was kind enough to sit still for hours waiting for a bird that never showed up (darn you, Montezuma quail!). We did get good looks at blue grosbeaks, black-headed grosbeaks, acorn woodpeckers, summer tanagers, and lesser goldfinches. We ate at Murphy’s Pizza, then headed up to the McDonald Observatory for the twilight program and star party. I’m not much for astronomy, but I loved the star party. We were lucky that the clouds cleared, and we got good looks at Saturn with four of its moons, and star clusters M3 (awesome) and M104 (not very memorable). My mom picked up a star map that came in handy at Big Bend, where we could see tons of stars.
Sunday morning, we ate at Austin Street Cafe which is only open on Sundays or by appointment. It was lovely.
We drove down 118 from Alpine to Terlingua, then on into Big Bend National Park. We checked out the Panther Junction visitor center, then drove up to the lodge where we were staying in Building C (great views, electricity is sketchy). We enjoyed dinner at the lodge, which has improved by leaps and bounds in the last decade, and sunset from the Window View Trail.
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