Big Bend National Park, Thanksgiving 2016 (part 1)

piper01

Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2013
Messages
179
Nov 24-25, 2016

I had the unexpected opportunity to visit Big Bend National Park over Thanksgiving. The park hadn't been on my radar, but a week or two before Thanksgiving a friend declared he wanted to go camping and managed to pull together me and two others to join him. The timing worked out; he was taking the entire week off work, so he went out early to grab a campsite while the rest of us started the drive out Wednesday afternoon after work. The route from Houston was simple: drive 500 miles west on I-10, then another 100 miles south on US-385. After a brief overnight nap in the car, we finally made it to the park Thursday morning.

IMG_8689.JPG


Our first look at the Chisos Mountains as we drove through the park.
IMG_8693.JPG

IMG_8706.JPG


After reuniting with our friend at the visitor center, we continued the drive to our first hike: the Window Trail.
IMG_8713.JPG


We saw neither mountain lions nor the elusive stick people.
IMG_8716_crop.jpg


Chisos Mountains, consisting of volcanic rocks
IMG_8718.JPG

IMG_8731.JPG


Nice, easy to follow trail
IMG_8732.JPG


Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!
IMG_8733.JPG


IMG_8743.JPG


Soon we encountered the creek, with flowing water this time of year.
IMG_8745.JPG

IMG_8746.JPG


View through "The Window" at the pouroff marking the end of the trail.
IMG_8750.JPG

IMG_8760.JPG


The return hike
IMG_8768.JPG


After the hike, we climbed back in our vehicles for the drive to Cottonwood Campground. Along the way, the road passed this neat perpendicular intersection of a dike through the country rock.
IMG_8773_crop.jpg


We set up our tents and scarfed down our Thanksgiving feast of ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, and homemade apple pie, then settled in for a little stargazing before bed. Probably one of the best Thanksgivings I've had!
IMG_8790.JPG


We woke up dark and early the next morning to drive to one of the nearby overlooks to watch the sunrise with hot cocoa, coffee, and muffins.
IMG_8825.JPG

IMG_8828.JPG

IMG_8829.JPG

IMG_8832.JPG

IMG_8847.JPG

IMG_8850.JPG

IMG_8855.JPG

IMG_8869.JPG

IMG_8875.JPG


After a stop back at camp for second breakfast (ham and eggs!), we set off for Santa Elena Canyon, our first hike of the day.
IMG_8878.JPG


I loved the juxtaposition of the new green growth next to the old brown growth.
IMG_8895.JPG


Cactus, in detail.
IMG_8903.JPG


The Rio Grande. To the right is Mexico, to the left is the US.
IMG_8905_edit_crop.jpg

IMG_8906.JPG


The river running between the limestone walls of Santa Elena Canyon
IMG_8913_edit.jpg


Water running down the rock left this cool pattern. It looked like it should have been textured, but it was all smooth to the touch.
IMG_8917.JPG


Iron concretions in the limestone
IMG_8920.JPG


Spider dance
IMG_8929.JPG


Fossiliferous limestone
IMG_8930.JPG


Hiking back. The clouds that had lent themselves to such a beautiful sunrise now resulted in an overcast morning.
IMG_8932_edit.jpg


The mighty Rio Grande.
IMG_8934_edit.jpg

IMG_8935_edit.jpg

Onward to our next hike: Ernst Tinaja! The road was labeled as a 4WD road, but was in good enough condition that any high-clearance vehicle could drive it. I even saw a BMW sedan on the road; must have been a rental.
IMG_8941.JPG


Flowers at the start of the hike.
IMG_8943.JPG

IMG_8945.JPG


Soon, the colors started appearing in the rock: reds, pinks, oranges, and purples.
IMG_8947.JPG


Tiny faults!
IMG_8951.JPG

IMG_8954.JPG


We slowly meandered through this section, stopping often to examine the many folds and colors.
IMG_8966.JPG


Faults and folds.
IMG_8971.JPG


IMG_8982.JPG


Ernst Tinaja
IMG_8983.JPG


Fault gouge in a zone at least a foot wide
IMG_8987_FaultGouge.JPG


Looking back in the direction from which we had come
IMG_8990.JPG


More colors
IMG_8995.JPG


With plenty of light left, we continued on upcanyon, climbing over some minor obstacles.
IMG_9002.JPG

IMG_9003.JPG


The first big obstacle: a dryfall which we easily chimneyed up.
IMG_9009.JPG


It was followed by several other small dryfalls and big ledges to clamber up, one requiring a helpful hand from a taller member of the group.
IMG_9016.JPG


IMG_9026_edit.jpg


Fossils!
IMG_9027.JPG

IMG_9032.JPG


The canyon walls opened back up, and we were back to easy(ish) walking.
IMG_9042_edit.jpg

IMG_9046_edit.jpg


Spider
IMG_9055.JPG


The return trip back downcanyon, negotiating the rock at the top of the first big dryfall.
IMG_9060.JPG


Then an easy slide down. Whee!
IMG_9062_edit_faces_screenshot.png


Late afternoon sun
IMG_9064.JPG


And back at the tinaja
IMG_9066_edit.jpg


Just one more picture of the folded rocks, I promise!
IMG_9087.JPG

IMG_9088_edit.jpg


Enrst Tinaja was by far my favorite hike of the trip, with the colorful folded rocks and the scrambling upcanyon. I give it two thumbs up!

Quick stop in the late afternoon light at the Boquillas overlook, then onward to the hot springs for a relaxing soak.
IMG_9090.JPG


Sunset on the walk out the the hot springs, a great end to a great day.
IMG_9095.JPG


***
part 2 here: http://backcountrypost.com/threads/big-bend-national-park-thanksgiving-2016-part-2.6426/
 
Last edited:
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
piper01 Big Bend National Park, Thanksgiving 2016 (part 2) Hiking & Camping 4
Jimmy Big Bend National Park - December Trip Planning 6
Scott Chandler Highlights From a Week in Big Bend NP Hiking & Camping 11
J Death Valley Natl. Pk: Funeral Pk, Slit Canyon, and Big Dune. Dec 21-22, 2020 Hiking & Camping 1
wsp_scott Big South Fork Views Backpacking 14
Gunnahafta Green River <> Big Sandy WIND RIVER RANGE Trip Planning 1
norwegianxplorer Big SEKI loop, Sequoia Kings Canyon Backpacking 1
J Pahranagat Country: Big, open, room to roam Nov.9-10, 2019 Hiking & Camping 0
Tim Valentine Big Pine Creek Eastern Sierra Backpacking 10
NorthwestWanderer My Yearly big timelapse video 2019 General Discussion 10
pstm13 A Family Trip in the Winds: Big Sandy and the Cirque Backpacking 10
misSOULa Montana's Bitterroot Mountains: Big Creek Lakes and Ranger Point Backpacking 2
stevecochranephotography Desert Winter Run Off - Big Dominguez Canyon Hiking & Camping 2
NorthwestWanderer Big Four Ice Caves Hiking & Camping 1
toddrparr Easy family backpacking in Big Thicket Preserve, Texas Trip Planning 0
Scott Chandler Starting Out 2019 in Big Sur Hiking & Camping 10
Born to Hike Windriver 36 mile loop: Skull Lake, Washakie Pass, South Fork Lakes, Lizard Head Trail, The Cirque, Big Sandy Lake Backpacking 6
Bob Big Agnes coupon Gear 1
Mike Jones Big Sur or Zion Next Week? Trip Planning 20
B Upgrading Big Agnes tent question Gear 10
Perry Posting Panoramas - File Too Big Questions, Suggestions & Support 4
Tim Valentine Biking Big Sur Everything Else 6
wsp_scott Packrafting the Big South Fork (KY) On The Water 7
Seamus NYC weekend tripper, occasional big treks! Noobs: Introduce yourself! 2
Perry Gregory Zulu 30 - Too Big for a Day Pack? Gear 6
S White Cloud route, Big Boulder Lakes to Boulder Chain Lakes Trip Planning 3
Eugene Paria Canyon from White House to Big Spring Backpacking 3
kimbur96 Tarptent Double Rainbow or Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2? Gear 2
hamtron5000 Big Dominguez Canyon Overnight Backpacking 0
SKLund Big Agnes Bag Gear 6
SKLund Dromedary, Platypus, or Big Soda Bottle? Gear 27
Adventure monkey Steve Allen's exit out of Happy Canyon to the Big Ridge. Trip Planning 17
SKLund How Big a Pack for Long Trips Gear 32
wsp_scott Big South Fork (KY) Backpacking 3
H ON THE ROAD WILD WEST :: Yellowstone, Grand Teton, & Glacier National Park Big Sky Road Trip Photography 8
J Ascent of Big Baldy - Bear River Range Hiking & Camping 7
Dave Fees coming for Big, Little Cottonwood Canyons General Discussion 0
Bryan Harwood Selway- Bitterroot Wilderness #2: Big Creek Backpacking 2
BJett Cumberland Plateau - Obed/Big South Fork Hiking & Camping 7
Vegan.Hiker Autumn in the Adirondacks: Mt Jo, The Brothers, Big Slide Mtn Hiking & Camping 6
Nick Big Tarp Shelters Gear 21
John Goering Big Agnes Cooper Spur UL3 Gear 1
Dustin Gent Big Agnes Shield 2 tent - 1st impression Gear 15
lostlandscapes Big Boulder Lakes, White Clouds -- July 3-5, 2015 Backpacking 12
BJett Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area On The Water 1
someguy Big Elk Lake Backpacking 5
DrNed Nick Goes Big Time General Discussion 13
J Big Escalante Backpack Loop: Stevens/Fold/Bobway/Coyote Gulch April 25-30, 2015 Backpacking 8
Christian Canyoneering East Blarney, Big Springs East, hiking to some less frequented areas in Moab Canyoneering 4
Bob The Big Burn : 1910 General Discussion 4

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top