Spring 2021: Texas

I spent considerable time in just two parks: Big Bend Ranch State Park and Big Bend National Park.  (I also went to Hueco Tanks State Park, but due to Covid-19 restrictions it was overrun with visitors, and I did not want to wait a few hours to get in.)

Big Bend Ranch State Park

This park is not nearly as well known as it’s big brother to the immediate east, but the state seems to be working to increase visitation.  This was my second visit.  I focused on the interior.

The Cinco Tenajas Loop is one of the more visited short trails in Big Bend Ranch State Park. A tinaja is a pool of water. But with these and more, I have no idea how they counted cinco of them.
The Rancherias Loop might be the only backpacking trip in Big Bend Ranch State Park. It’s not the Grand Canyon, but I sure enjoyed it. And it certainly beats shovelling snow back home.

Big Bend National Park

It’s an odd fact that a large park like Big Bend has so few miles of trails. On this trip, I mostly hiked off trail and discovered almost a second world. During 9 days of off-trail hiking, I saw no one!

Colorful badlands formations
Colorful badlands formations
Texas hoodoos are not like Utah hoodoos. These are wide and made of crumbly, brown rock.
I had never heard of sandfalls until I saw this one
I had never heard of sandfalls until I saw this one
This “half dome” is really Willow Mountain. So the famous one in Yosemite is not unique.
The mica here was scattered all over the ground and glistened so brightly! These photos show the phenomenon, but they don’t do it justice.
Cerro Castellan is an eye magnet
Cerro Castellan is an eye magnet
White badlands (if so be these) seem to be rare, but they are stunning wherever they occur. Here, they are right by the road.
This fossil clam was sitting right on the surface. So were a few others. They’re about five inches long. It sure doesn’t look like a rock to me, but it was as heavy as one. But by what process would a fossil be sitting loose on the surface? Will a paleontologist please enlighten me?
There is no trail here (or many other places on this trip), and I saw no one. I can’t be the only one who thinks a place like this is worth visiting.
Evening, and the sun is setting. I’m in an area that is infrequently visited. I have the whole place to myself.  It was a great place to camp.