Mesa de Anguila

Mesa de Anguila is a large topographical feature in the far western portions of Big Bend National Park, cut to the south by the Rio Grande. This uplift is one of the least visited areas of the park, and trails here are rough and precarious. The original goal was to hike cross country along an old pack trail to visit a small canyon along the river. It is February and Hunnemannia fumariifolia is blooming at this time. This small canyon is the only known location in Texas, and the US, for this species to occur. 

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Lost Mine

The Chisos Mountains of the Big Bend of Texas are some of the most botanically and ecologically diverse areas in America. Where arid desert meets juniper forests, you can imagine the abundance of species diversity and unique biological situations. Succulents, coniferous trees, grasses, and herbs thrive in harmony. 

Lost Mine Trail in Big Bend National Park is a 5 mile round-trip hike that tops out at nearly 7,000 feet in elevation and offers some of the most spectacular views in the park. In the photo below, you can see the paved road through Panther Pass, near the location of the trailhead. 

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Big Bend N.P. in Bloom

It was a very quick trip to Big Bend National Park, and my least active by far. I was in the park for a wedding and was fortunate enough to stay in the lodge where I had 4 walls, electricity, and hot water. I almost felt like I was cheating the system by not camping. I didn't make it down the usual trails so many of my observations were from the roadside.

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Big Bend N.P. Herbs

On this trip, it was unseasonably wet, as it has been in much of Texas this fall. Foliage and flower colors are especially vibrant when damp, and the muted light of cloud-covered skies only added to the effect. Many plants are even blooming out of season or have abnormally fleshy growth due to the moisture. It is a special time in the Chihuahuan Desert.

This post will cover the more herbaceous plant materials found in Big Bend National Park during my visit in November 2015. (Disclaimer: I realize not all of the plants described here are particularly herbaceous, but they better fit this post than my earlier post about cacti.)

I was especially attracted to this grouping of endemic species. Leucophyllum, Dasylirion, and Ephedra create a contrasting palette of color and texture, and are surrounded by red bedrock. Few could create a similar effect manually. 

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Chinati Mountains

The Big Bend area of the Chihuahuan Desert in Texas probably my favorite region to visit given its diverse botany, topography, and ecology. In October 2013 with the assistance of a botanist who is well-versed in the plants of the area, a coworker and I were able to visit the flora-rich Chinati Mountains in Presidio County, Texas.  

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