Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Abandoned building in one of the many little (ghost) towns along Hwy 90 

 Janice, hiking with us in Santa Elena Canyon near Cottonwood Campground

Big Bend Blue Bonnet - it's everywhere! Photo taken by Janice

Enjoying coffee and conversation at the Chisos Basin 
Cottonwood Campground
Texas has miles and miles of wide open spaces. Driving west on Hwy. 90 from San Antonio, ranches are few and far between and the towns we passed through looked like ghost towns. Our plan was to head for Alpine where we would stay at a commercial park so we could connect to cable and I could watch the Oscars. I decided to give up that idea when we began to experience cold temps and high winds.  I emailed my sister and asked if she would tape the show for me and mail it to Big Bend National Park. We would have an "Oscar Night" later. We wanted to head as far south as we could to the Rio Grande - the boundary between the United States and Mexico.  It was a wise move. Cottonwood Campground near Santa Elena Canyon was much more pleasant. We met up with our Canadian friend who had also headed that way for the same reasons and we explored that side of the park together. The center of attention was a pair of Great Horned Owls that we could spot in the high branches of a Cottonwood trees. Every evening, at the same time just before dusk, campers would gather to watch them mate. A great place for bird watching, the vermillion flycatchers were everywhere. After a few days we relocated to the Rio Grande Village on the East side of the park. Even though Janice needs to be home by March 22, she went too. On the way we stopped to stash a gallon of water at the Homer Ranch. Dick was planning a two day, 33 mile backpacking trip on the Outer Loop which passes through this ranch and water is scarce in the desert. One afternoon the three of us went to soak in the hot springs. Dick stayed in just a little too long. As he climbed out of the water to cool off he said to me, "I'm feeling faint" and slumped over. (Janice's first thought was being the joker Dick is that he was just pretending). If we hadn't been there to catch him who knows what would have happened. There was a river guide also enjoying his soak in the hot springs who quickly came over to help. Even though he's fainted before I was very upset. Dick finally woke up looking at this guy slapping him in the face. The next day he would leave on his two day hike. Janice knew I was a bit concerned that he might faint again and without someone there to catch him he'd fall off the side of a mountain. I think she was just as concerned as I was because she stayed around until he returned.

Above the Rio Grande on the Hot Springs Trail

The Mexicans come across the border and set up a display of handmade items for sale.
Here is a Snake skin covered walking stick and copper wire scorpion - a real scorpion (dead) used in the display


You are probably wondering what the green vehicle is in Dick's Pics. It belongs to a German couple. They renovated an old Berlin Wall Border Patrol truck and had it shipped to Canada. We kept meeting up with them in Big Bend and beyond. 

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