Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Big Bend - Chimneys and Santa Elena

Our first day in the Big Bend area with the Bryant's (Ronnie and Nanette) we decided to hike The Chimney's Trail and then Santa Elena Canyon. Our weather was perfect and to our surprise the Bluebonnets were out in the park. We are staying outside Big Bend in Lajitas at Maverick Ranch RV Park - so a little bit of a drive into Big Bend, but still very close to the edge of nowhere...

The Chimneys Trail is a nice 4.8 mile out and back that takes you through some nice open country in Big Bend and arriving at a very unique formation of rocks. There is one area of Native American pictographs at the base of one of the Chimney formations.

Plenty of interesting cactus and flowers along the trail.

Yucca blooms...

The Chimneys!

Heather and Nanette with Santa Elena Canyon in the background.

Looking down the Chimneys formations.

Group selfie at the Chimneys.

After the Chimneys we stopped at the Castolon Visitor Center and store for a quick ice cream sandwich break before we drove down to hike the Santa Elena Canyon Trail. It was getting warmer in the afternoon and the shade in Santa Elena Canyon was very welcome. I don't think I can ever get tired of the dramatic scenery of Big Bend - every time we visit it just seems better than the last.

Nanette and Ronnie at Santa Elena Canyon.

Looking from the Santa Elena Canyon trail back out to the Rio Grande River valley.

Santa Elena Canyon...

Looking back down the Santa Elena Canyon hiking trail.

Rio Grande River winding through Santa Elena Canyon.

Butterfly along the trail...

We stopped a few times to admire the Bluebonnets - they were very fragrant too!

More Bluebonnets at the Tuff Canyon Overlook...

Our last stop for the day was the overlook for the Mule Ears (photo above) - a very easy to spot formation in Big Bend. We plan to take the Mule Ears Trail sometime in the future. Tomorrow it sounds like we will be heading to Mexico by rowboat!