The Green Island - Chisos Mountains, Texas -Friday, 3/7/14

The picture below was my reward for getting up at sunrise.  Friday morning's sky was cloudy, so the color was a surprise; it lasted only a couple of minutes.  I had my first cuppa coffee outside the RV and I was ready -- what a great way to begin a day!  My next surprise was hearing raindrops tip-tap on Tergel's roof while I was eating breakfast.  Not a lot of drops, mind you, but this is the Chihuahuan Desert and we didn't expect rain.  It didn't stick around and, anyway, we were gearing up to hike in the heart of Big Bend Nat'l Park: Chisos Mountains. The Park Service brochure puts it this way:  If the Rio Grande is Big Bend's linear oasis, then the Chisos Mountains are its green island in a sea of desert.  After listening to my sister rave about their time spent in these mountains, I knew we needed to experience them.

Big Bend is so vast that everything is far away; it's 30 miles from our c/g to the Chisos.  The sky remained cloudy, but we'd been advised that the mountains could be 10-20 degrees cooler than where we camped on the river.  I guess that should read, "normally."  When the sun broke thru the clouds, the day grew pretty danged warm (and one of the rangers said, "humid,") and it got hot while hiking.  Today wouldn't be considered a normal day in the mountains!  Nevertheless, the mountain scenery left us open-mouthed and appreciative of being here!

Good morning!

 On the 2-mile Chisos Basin Loop Trail... admiring the view. 

 To see these mountains in person... wow!

 On the 2-mile R/T Lost Mine trail.  Love this picture!

Juniper Canyon.  Even with clouds and haze, we could see for miles and miles.

We enjoyed climbing up here on the rocks, tho the trek to this point was fairly strenuous.  Elevation at the trailhead was 5,600'.  An interesting interpretative guide was provided, pointing out geological formations and plants.  Mexican Piñon Pine is prevalent, and we learned about the three kinds of juniper in this area: Alligator Juniper (because of the bark's resemblance to alligator skin), Drooping Juniper (it always looks like it needs a good watering), and One-seed Juniper.  Identifying the first two is easy, but the third was a mystery till the brochure pointed out: If it ain't either of the first two, then it has to be the One-seed!  BTW, Drooping Juniper grows only in the Chisos Mountains high country.

Our turn-around point. 

 Jimmy resting on a CCC built bridge.  Those guys did such great and fine work that it endures intact.

Well, we had a red-sky morning and a red-sky evening.  Win-win!  A most gorgeous sunset, wouldn't you agree?  Wonderful day!

Next up, tomorrow:  Down to the river and a short bike ride to Daniel's Ranch.


  1. You sure had a colorful start and end to your day. We ended up canceling Big Bend this year before we even got to Texas ... but it is definitely on our must visit list.

  2. So glad you made it up into the Chisos. Very different from everything around it!


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