2017: Big Bend

Big Bend Ranch State Park

February 28

 Snap those bluebonnets!

It's not widely known, but immediately to the west of Big Bend National Park is one of Texas' largest state parks. The fifty-mile highway through the park runs, for the most part, right alongside the Rio Grande. We decided to do the drive and also take in a short hike into the slot called Closed Canyon.

Approaching Closed Canyon.   Lookback.

The Texas sun wasn't going to be a factor today, since the incredibly high canyon walls kept us in plenty of shade. Of course, that made photography more of a challenge.

For most of the walk, the canyon floor was flat and easy; but there were a couple of places that became a bit of a footing challenge. At least for the old lady. Eventually I felt I could go no further. Some people returning from the bitter end of the canyon said I wasn't missing much; while the canyon ends in a pour-off into the Rio Grande, it wasn't possible to see the river from the endpoint of the hike.

It's always amazing to see how plant life finds a way even in the most inhospitable environment. Inside the canyon, the greenery was thriving in stone. I especially liked the prickly pears topping the cliffs and clinging to the sheer walls.

Sticky wicket.

And then there was this one particularly quirky little guy happily poking out of a crack on high.

On the drive back to camp, I stopped to admire (and photograph) the many wildflowers the desert was already offering in February. They would be gone so soon!

Across the road from the flowers were some picnic tables under, um, interesting canopies. They seemed particularly ironic since down on the river, we spotted a group of canoe-paddlers being twirled about in a vicious headwind.

. .

It had been a nice easy day, rewarding but not taxing. We returned to camp and were finally rewarded with a blazing Texas sunset.