Thursday, April 3, 2008

Big Bend, continued - final edition

Are you tired of this yet? Today is the final leg of our journey!

Thursday arrived with a beautiful sunrise. We started our day with a hike to Boquillas Canyon. We were soaking in the quiet and stillness of early morning in the canyon. We spotted some donkeys on the hillside. While we paused to watch them, we noticed that they all had their ears perked forward - listening for something. We heard nothing - until a few minutes later. We heard a very joyful song being sung in Spanish. We do not speak Spanish but the voice and the tune conveyed happiness. We really enjoyed the serenade! The stillness of the canyon and the serenade combined to make this our favorite hike of the trip. I later learned that the singer was Victor Valdez and that NPR had done a story about him and the town's fight for survival along the post 9-11 border.

After leaving Boquillas Canyon, we drove along Old Ore Road to the Ernst Tinaja trailhead. There were a couple of spots along the road that were a little dicey. The trail is about 1 mile roundtrip. It winds through a canyon that is spectacular. The exposed rock layers are twisted and folded!.

Tinaja means 'earthen jar'. It is a natural pothole that holds water year-round so it is a popular spot for the desert wildlife. The sides of the tinaja are very steep so we didn't think it would be wise to take a swim. Besides, the water didn't look very inviting! We enjoyed relaxing in the shade of the canyon! After leaving this trail, we were headed to the mountains - the Chisos mountains.

We hiked the Lost Mine Trail. It is not to be missed! It is a little over 5 miles roundtrip and is quite strenuous. But as you can tell from the photo to the left, the views are worth every huff and puff!!! By this time, it was getting close to sunset so we set off for The Window View Trail. It is a short trail but it affords a great spot for viewing the sunset through the Window. The Window is the drainage for the Chisos basin. We ran out of time and missed the hike to the Window - I guess that gives a good excuse to return to Big Bend!

On Friday, we started the drive home. We didn't make it very far. We stopped at a hotel and took long, hot showers - our first in several days! It was hard to do much sponging off in the cold water of the campground restrooms! Boy, did that shower feel good!

On Saturday, we stopped in Memphis to see my sister again and enjoyed some barbeque at Corky's before finally making it home. All in all, a great vacation!

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