In the beginning of May 2018, my mother and I visited Caprock Canyons State Park outside of Quitaque, Texas, about 100 southeast of Amarillo. Caprock encompasses over 15,000 acres, an abandoned train tunnel that is home to half a million Mexican free-tailed bats, the Texas State Bison Herd, and over 90 miles of trails.Read More
The Window Trail is probably the most heavily traveled path in Big Bend National Park, and for good reason. The trail is so aptly named for the framing of the western desert floor by Carter Peak to the south (left) and Vernon Bailey Peak to the north (right). Rain that falls in the Chisos Basin gathers and runs through this opening between the mountains, supporting residents of the park, animals and humans alike. The trail follows this gradual slope down to the opening, crossing arroyos and rolling foothills of scrub brush.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More