My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On the Road to Big Bend Ranch State Park

Sunday, February 17, Natale and I decided that since there were so few birds in Choke Canyon and we didn't want to paddle in the lake, we would start our long trip to Big Bend Ranch State Park, over 500 miles away. (Ultimately, we drove about 1,700 miles on the ten day trip.)

 We packed up the insides of our tents and left them to dry before going on a walk with Bill.  We saw few birds or other wildlife but enjoyed the trails at the park. (This area is in a really bad drought.) We got back as the winds were picking up. Natalie pulled the stakes on her tent, but left it standing. Suddenly, we saw it turn over and blow down the field towards the reservoir, spewing a few leftover items out.  All of us chased it and caught it, then had to work our way our of the thorny brush to a grassy area to walk it back up. We  finished our packing and told Bill goodby, then ate our left-over broccoli salad for lunch. We FINALLY got everything squeezed into the car and were ready to go.  (Fortunately, Bill was kind enough to haul my canoe and paddling equipment back with him. THEN Natalie started looking for her car key.  She decided she had left the key in a pocket in her tent. We decided to look where the tent had gone first, to see if it was one of the things spewed out, didn't find it, and had to unpack the tent, buried near the middle of the car, before we could leave.

The entire back was packed to almost the last inch

With Zootie in a crate, we could pack on top of her  space
After that we had an uneventful trip to Seminole State Park, getting there with just enough light to set up Natalie's tent and make supper. I slept in her 4-man tent to save time the next morning. We left about 9:30A.M. and stopped at the very low Rio Grande River, then at Marfa for lunch at the new, wonderful restaurant, the Future Shark, a descendent of the mobile restaurant called the Food Shark. Natalie and I both had the meat loaf special and picked different sides. All were delicious and filling. This is a sort of New American/Mediterranean place with beautifully cooked healthy meals at a very reasonable price. We had to ask around to find them, but they will soon have their sign up, and are on the main street a block or two before the court house. 

Natalie pointing out a put-in on the very low Rio Grande

The courthouse at Marfa - Future Shock is to the bottom right, across one more intersection back.

A sitting room in the Hotel Piasano in Marfa - looked like a wonderful place to stay.
After lunch we had another hour of driving to get to Presidio - we have to come in from the west side to be on good roads - and then a few more hours of traveling and stopping to take pictures and visit Fort Leaton, a few miles before the western entrance to the park. Natalie finally declared the we would stop no more until we reached  the South Layva campsite. I had probably taken fifty or more pictures of this wonderful wilderness where we saw very few signs of civilization until we reached the Sauceda Headquarters where there is lodging and food for hire as well as an office and gift shop.

Big Bend Country View

Another Roadside View

World's second-prettiest outhouse

View along road

Shelter Rock containing pictographs next to road

Pictographs are faded due to dust and people touching them

Hand print in shelter

Rock formation

West Texas bluebonnets - a taller and skinner species than east Texas ones
We got to camp and joined our group in time to get our tents up, and eat supper while enjoying the prettiest sunset of all our evenings at Big Bend Ranch State Park. We were here to hike with Louis Aulbach, who is gathering information to write a series of guides for hiking in the park. Check out the link for information on the largest and wildest state park in Texas.

Sunset from our camp site at South Layva
We did several hikes,which I'll take you on, and then took a really fabulous tour of Fresno Canyon in a 4-wheel drive van.  Unfortunately, I took a dead battery by accident and got no pictures of that. Stayed tuned for several more blogs on this wonderful place. Here you have a quarter of a million miles to hike, mountain bike, raft, canoe, kayak, take 2 and 4-wheel drives and experience the sound and sights of wilderness in a place where you can see five million years of history. And when you run out of places to visit here, you can travel on to Big Bend National Park.

Of course, I took more pictures than I can put in this blog.  They are on my Picassa site.