Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Day Six at Big Bend National Park: Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

As we left our campsite in Terlingua the shadows of the rising sun could be seen across the landscape.
The early morning sun shining on Terlingua, Texas.

The early morning sun casts shadows on the formations just
outside the western entrance to Big Bend National Park.

Is it a dinosaur?    Those pointy edges are what geologists call
dikes -- walls formed when molten material was squeezed into
cracks beneath the earth's surface.   The surrounding rock layers
have since been eroded away leaving the harder dikes standing.

Bruce and MarySue at remains from the Sam Nail Ranch.

Bruce beside dead bloom of a Century Plant
in the garden at Sam Nail Ranch.

MarySue did not do it!   The old windmill at Sam Nail Ranch
has been tilting for a long time.

Abandoned buildings of the Homer Wilson/Blue Creek Ranch.

About a third of the way from left to right in the distance you
can see the Santa Elena Canyon -- about fourteen miles
from here the way the raven flies.

The Sotol in bloom. Sotol is excellent for grazing cattle, sheep,
and goats and was used by Native Americans for food. 
We had been riding long enough and hiked into the hidden box canyon at the Burro Mesa Pouroff.

The Burro Mesa Pouroff Trail is an easy hike.

How do those flowers cling to life in the rocks?

There must have been some mighty powerful movement in
earth's surface to leave such amazing rock formations.

Look at those awesome red berries out here in the desert!
Beautiful high canyon walls.

Enjoying the view in the Burro Mesa Pouroff Canyon.
 Flash flood waters from the Javelina Wash drainage come funneling down the pouroff, a dry water fall hidden from view in a narrow box canyon.  This site demonstrated water power.  The area below the pouroff as well as the trail we walked are littered with stone, rocks, and other debris from the powerful flood waters.

The Pouroff (a dry waterfall).

Desert willow is a delicate, small, deciduous tree native to
west Texas and the Edwards Plateau.

This formation is called "Goat Mountain."

This formation is called "Mule Ears."

Tuff Canyon.

Cerro Castellan.

The Castolon Store and Visitors Center.
Old store, café, and residence used from 1900 - 1925.
Finally we arrived at the place where the Rio Grande emerges from the seventeen-mile long Santa Elena Canyon with walls towering high above the river.

Santa Elena Canyon seen from the overlook.

Santa Elena Canyon viewed from the edge of the Rio Grande.
The left canyon wall is in Mexico; the right wall is in the U. S.