Visit Cattail Canyon Spring and Santa Elena Canyon at Rio Grand River, Big Bend N. P.
Nov 10, 2007
|Hello Family and Friends from Fort Stockton, TX KOA,
Yesterday, Saturday, we hiked to one of the few wet spots in Big Bend N. P. and waded in the Rio Grand River a stones throw from Mexico where there is a 1500' high vertical cliff, up.
On our way to the park, Kathleen again dodged several slow moving Tarantulas on the pavement. At one point on the ranch road, a pack of Coyotes crossed the road in front of us. I was not fast enough to get a photo of them.
When we sought a short scenic hike along a stream in Big Bend N. P., we had received information from a Ranger Volunteer at the Visitor's Center that there were not too many wet spots in the park and that Cattail Canyon Springs was one of them, and, the hike was only a about a mile.
I overheard her Ranger supervisor admonish her for revealing the location of the spring. It is an eco area and the Poison Oak had been sprayed to kill it and the Oak was not the only plant that was killed.
As a reference, I printed out the trail path from a CD containing maps of the national parks since the park maps did not show the trail or spring. The trail from the parking lot at the dirt road gate was well marked and the path obvious.
The trail was on the other side of The Window notch that we showed in our photos of yesterday's Journal entry.
The path, which was probably more than 1.5 miles one way, wound up and down small hills through the desert which was hot from the late-morning sun. We stopped several times to drink from our one bottle of Gatorade.
Kathleen asked that we not stop too long as there were probably Tarantulas in this part of the desert also. She also asked that if a spider crawled onto her foot, that I not use her foot as a spider-size reference for a photo but, instead, remove the spider with haste.
We arrived after an hour (it seemed longer due to the heat) at the spring which was located in a narrow, deep, cool canyon. See our photos.
After we hiked out to our truck and had a light lunch, we headed south to the Mexican border and the Rio Grande River.
We were very surprised and amazed at the view of the 1500' high, vertical cliff that was on the other side of the river. The cliff extended for miles to the east and west.
We parked at the river edge where the river had eroded a narrow canyon in the cliff and hiked across the shallow Terlingua Creek toward the canyon trail, up the dirt steps in the creek bank and through a grove of trees that were like a tunnel.
We climbed the trail steps and walked on it until it turned into a narrow goat path along the cliff. We do NOT hike on trails that have steep drop-offs to one side.
We took several photos of the canyon, trail and river which are attached.
On the 73-mile trek back to the Ranch from the River, we stopped that the Visitor's Center to chat with some volunteer park rangers about what caused the steep cliff on the south side of the Rio Grand River.
He said that it was uplifted and passed over the adjacent land sheet. He asked if we noticed the sloped sediment lines of the various rock layers on the canyon walls. We had not but did as we headed home and they are shown in the photos.
Because Saturday nights at the Terlingua Ranch Café offered live music, we decided to dine out. We were the only couple there to enjoy the chef's selections and listen to Randy play and sing country western songs. He was a very good singer and we stayed for an hour and a half to hear his lyrics and guitar melodies.
This morning, the sky was overcast for the second time in our 6-week-thus-far trip. The clouds provided a beautiful sunrise over the mountains to the east of our campsite. See photos.
During my and Martha's walk to pay our bill at the Ranch office, I took photos of a unique bird nest that looked like a woven sock. The bird wove tiny grass stems into a 1" thick tube that extended about one foot. The bird had a couple white feathers on its tail and wings. The office person did not know the name of the bird.
Have a great week.
Steve and Kathleen