[From Craig] On Friday we decided to rise above strep, pneumonia, and Merikay's broken foot, and go for a ride in one of our country's least-known National Parks. Hiking is still out of the question, but we made good use of our Jeep.
There are lots of hills but not many plants. If you look carefully, coming up from the bottom are two seed stalks from plants that didn't otherwise make it into the image.
There were nice views from a hill called Sotol Vista. The plant in the front is a sotol; its fronds are good for making baskets. Actually, except for their seed shoots, these plants are not so tall. :-)
Tuff is a type of rock made of volcanic ash ejected from a vent during a volcanic eruption. After being ejected and deposited, the ash is compacted into a solid rock. It's very light in weight, and erosion can carve it easily.
This is Cerro Castellan. If there's a path on the back side, it looks like a good place to keep a lookout. See the little balancing rock on the left side?
The Castolon Visitor Center once pumped gas. Near the Rio Grande, it has been an Army base, a working farm, and has been a store since 1901.
The Rio Grande, with Mexico at left, approaching Santa Elena Canyon. Wonder where they'll put the wall?
At Santa Elena Canyon, the Rio Grande has cut itself a beautiful channel through the Sierra Ponce Mountains. Left bank is Mexico, right bank US.
Looking back toward where Merikay is guarding the Jeep from bandidos.
We started back home along the Old Mavericks Trail, which seemed appropriate because we are getting on in age, and are members of the Alfa Owners Club chapter called the Mavericks.
These are soaptree yuccas, which can be used to make soap. On the way down to Terlingua the day before, we saw several trucks carrying such plants to a new role as landscaping.
By this time the sun was down into the west, which made for these nice shadows.
This building is called a jacal. It was built around 1890 by Gilberto Luna. Surrounded by Comanches and Apaches, he raised a large family here. He died in 1947 at age 108.
This valley is east of Old Mavericks Trail. I had to climb a hill to shoot it.
I hope you have enjoyed this trip. My apologies to those with low Internet bandwidth.