Saturday, February 8, 2020

Big Bend Nat'l Park, Day 6/6 - flying home

Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020 - I bet you think coming home from Del Rio, Texas is just a matter of drive-fly-drive. But NOOOOO, there is a lot more to it than that!

After breakfast I left Del Rio at 6:45. 30 minutes later I was slowing down to go through Brackettville - I just didn't slow down enough. I took this nice picture of the sunrise:

while I was stopped

getting a ticket for going 50-in-a-40-mph-zone:

I didn't find out until Tuesday (when I called the Kinney County Justice of the Peace) that it was $230.00!!

Well, what do they say - "Don't mess with Texas"

Since I pad my time a little, I made it to San Antonio in plenty of time to fill up the gas, return the rental car, check-in my "2 free bags", and still get through customs for my 11 AM flight to Baltimore/Washington Int'l Airport.

I arrived safely/easily at BWI in the early afternoon:

Sign on the gangway getting into the next airplane:

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one with "That Problem".

Good takeoff (my fourth-of-four window seats!!):

Nice to see the Chesapeake Bay:

and the snows of New Hampshire:

Landed at 5:30 PM. After cleaning off the snow and ice, I drove down to Peabody, and had a yummy dinner with Wendy at Five Guys!!

When I got home, Wendy just had to take a picture of my hiking boots:

Yeah, that "Rio Grande mud/clay" really gets on there.

What a wonderful collection of hikes - all of them:

Zoom-in on Chisos Basin:

As I like to quote once in a while, there is a Latin Proverb:
"Solvitur Ambulando"
(The problem is solved by walking around)

What can I say - Thank You God for these wonderful adventures!!

and a special shout-out to Shannon Lane at the Manchester Athletic Club. Without her Step Class (Mon-Wed-Fri, 9 AM - 10 AM), I would not be able to do this physical activity!!

Shameless Plug: if you enjoy this blog, you may like my other one about Hiking the 4,000 footers in New Hampshire/Vermont/Maine/Adirondacks
hyperlink: dixonheadingnorth

Friday, February 7, 2020

Big Bend Nat'l Park, Day 5/6 - Cattail Falls, Seminole Canyon State Park

Friday, Feb. 7, 2020 - So, I was sitting in my motel room, still dark outside, and I thought "I wonder where those "State Parks with a Canyon" are between here and where I will lay my head tonight?". I pulled up Google Maps, and followed US-90 east. It turns out that Seminole Canyon State Park is right on my way:

8:45 AM - time to say goodbye to Big Bend Resort Motel:

and Room #12:

It took 45 minutes to get to the unmarked dirt road, which is the access to Cattail Falls Trail:

Its right across from the turnout for Sam Nail Ranch Trail, so its easy to find.

It was a nice hike - 6.15 miles, 2 hours 31 minutes:

You can see the tail-end of my Window Trail two days ago.

15 minutes later I saw another deer, wandering through the scrub:

(don't worry, I can't find him in this picture either.)

The road is nice and smooth (for a dirt road):

and you even get to a SIGN:

After 1.9 miles you get to the "big tree", and the turn-off for the Cattail Falls Trail:

It was a beautiful desert-hike, with the mountains on my left:

Ok - contrary to the Poster, the "Falls" are non-existent:

and the water pools up there smell like something died in them.

I had a great hike back to the car:

Can you see it - two miles away?

Things I did not do today:
I did not hike up (or down) "The Wash":

even though I thought about it (a little) going up, and thought about it (A LOT) coming back down.

Ah, "things done, and left undone."

Back at the car a little after noon. Stopped at Panther Junction Visitor Center and took a couple of pictures of their 3-d model:

Headed north, and got out of The Park:

In Marathon, I filled the gas tank. 80° heading east on US-90:

and I reached Seminole Canyon State Park just after 4 PM:

Although they had construction going on, it was open for hiking. Unfortunately, the hiking closed at 3 PM, so I took some pictures:

and hit the road, Jack.

I checked into the La Quinta Inn in Del Rio at 5 PM (it was a "free night" because of my points!!). Some kind of sub for dinner. Then night 4 of "Heavy Rescue: 401" on The Weather Channel. WOW - Thank you God for all these Wonderful Adventures!

Driving Music:

Grateful Dead - Europe '72, 1972 live triple album

As I was entering Big Bend National Park, I told the same guard "The Doors yesterday - the Grateful Dead today." He said "Man, you're living right!"

Lyrics - "Jack Straw":

Leaving Texas
Fourth day of July
Sun so hot, clouds so low
The eagles filled the sky

Catch the Detroit Lightning out of Santa Fe
Great Northern out of Cheyenne
From sea to shining sea

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Big Bend Nat'l Park, Day 4/6 - Closed Canyon Trail, Emory Peak

Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020 - So, I was sitting in my motel room, still dark outside, and I thought "I wonder what's West of here". I pulled up Google Maps, and followed 170 west/southwest. It went into this mountainous area, right alongside the Rio Grande river:

and eventually wound up at Closed Canyon, and Closed Canyon Trail:

That sounds SO COOL!

So, after sunrise and breakfast next door:

I hit the road west:

The Conservation Area west of Big Bend National Park is Big Bend Ranch State Park:

Very nice paved road. This is some really raw, beautiful country:

It is a real joy to be out here on the "Texas Mountain Trail":

(wait til you see this afternoon!)

I made it to Closed Canyon Trail at 9:45:

Um, there is NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY!

Closed Canyon is a slot canyon that runs southwest from the highway to the Rio Grande. Once again, MapMyWalk gets a little funky in the canyons:

No, I did not race up-and-down the canyon walls.

The Canyon is very cool:

The lighting contrast is HUGE! Both these pictures were taken from the same spot. The first focused on the canyon wall:

and the second focused on the cliffs above, in the sunlight:

Photoshop, anyone?

I kept going through the Canyon:

until I encountered something BAD - there was a super-smooth boulder jammed in the smooth canyon walls, with a six-foot dropoff down on its other side:

Although I certainly could have climbed over it and dropped down on the other side, there was NO WAY that I was going to be able to get back out - up and over it! So I stopped here and came back out (1.96 miles in 33 minutes) - did not make it to the Rio Grande:

Next time I'll bring a ladder?

I drove back the way I came, through Terlingua and into Big Bend National Park, and down into Chisos Basin (I'm getting to be an old-hand at this). I want to go up to the Radio Tower on Emory Peak (the highest point in the Park):

You get there by taking Pinnacles Trail for 3.8 miles, then take a right onto Emory Peak Trail for 1.5 miles.

I wound up hiking 10.74 miles in 4 hours 42 minutes:

Pinnacles Trail gains a lot of elevation:

and the views around the Basin are wonderful:

After 1 hour 40 minutes I hit the side trail for Emory Peak:

And that's when the views GOT GREAT!

Okay okay okay - so the Emory Peak Trail is pretty steady going up:

until you get to the last 100 yards. Then you climb up a little ways through the forest, and arrive at a rock-landing between two peaks. I said hi to a woman who was there - she didn't know which was the "correct peak", and her husband went up the right one. I said what the heck, and hand-climbed up the left one (if it was wrong, I would just go back down, and up ther other).

I was SOOO PSYCHED to see this part on Google Earth, with the 2 Peaks:

BUT GOOGLE EARTH WIMPED OUT - not enough detail in either their Digital Elevation Model, nor in their Satellite imagery!!!

Blessedly, when I got to the top of my peak (which I'll call "K2"), I took a picture of the guy over on the HIGHER PEAK:

turn-about is fair play, so he took one of me "down there":

Pretty cool view from "the wrong peak":

I climbed down/over (saying Hi to the wife)/and up, saying Hi to the husband ("THIS CAN NOT POSSIBLY BE LEGAL!!!")

We Laughed.

I was on top of the other peak at 3 PM, and the wind was HOWLING.

Being up there, and then climbing back down, was truly a "Sublime" experience. I go back to Edmund Burke (1729-1797) and his treatise of aesthetics called "A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful", which, for An Experience to Be Sublime, it incorporates an aspect of Danger when experiencing some Beauty, experiencing something Awesome.

It was Dangerous up there, but not the Bad-Danger/anything-bad-can-happen, but rather it demanded my full attention. Upon me giving the situation my Full Attention, I was able to be on the Peak, and to descend successfully.

Interestingly, I would do it again.

Once off the peak, I made my way back down the trail until I encountered the-husband-and-wife. We exchanged Contact info (he spoke first), and when he said "Area Code 508" I burst out laughing and said the I was from Manchester-by-the-Sea. They both burst out laughing!!! It turns out they had just moved from Rockport down to Mattapoisett to be able to sail on Buzzards Bay!!! I got some more fun "selfie" pictures from him:

"The red fleece really stands out!"

An hour-and-a-half later, I was back down at the bottom, with just a mile to go:

A final goodbye to Chisos Basin, and I head back west to Terlingua:

Back in Terlingua at 6. Hey, everybody was ordering their pizza over the past 2 nights, so that's what I had tonight. On the way back to the motel I saw a coyote cross the road (he actually went 3/4 of the way across, then turned around and went back). Then night 3 of "Heavy Rescue: 401" on The Weather Channel. Thank you God for all these Wonderful Adventures!

Today's Drive - 130 miles, in a little over 3 hours:

Driving Music:

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Damn the Torpedoes, 1979

Steve Miller Band - Sailor, 1968 second album

The Doors - Strange Days, 1967 second album

As I was entering Big Bend National Park, the guard asked "Is that The Doors? Cool."

Frank Turner - Tape Deck Heart, 2013

Paul Simon - There Goes Rhymin' Simon, 1973