Big Bend National Park day 2

Trip Start May 06, 2010
Trip End Oct 14, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Thursday, September 30, 2010

I went to Big Bend National Park again today.  I first headed for the Visitor Center near the Chisos Mountain Lodge and talked to a ranger.  After discussing some of the alternatives I decided the lighting wouldn't be good at the end of either the Lost Mine Trail or the Window Trail so I headed for the trail to Balanced Rock.

The trail to Balanced Rock goes between two hills with unusually shaped rocks.  After walking about half a mile you then head up one of the hills.  After another quarter mile you come around a corner and find yourself right next to Balanced Rock.  If it's visible from anywhere along the trail  I didn't see it.  Unfortunately, the lighting was terrible on Balanced Rock too.  At least it was a shorter trail than the others.

I continued toward the Santa Elena Canyon in the southwest corner of the park stopping at all of  the overlooks on the way and taking a couple of the shorter hikes.  This route took me by, and sometimes up into, the mountainous parts of the park, which are quite interesting with a wide variety of exposed rock strata. 

When I reached the Santa Elena Canyon I was planning on heading north along the Old Maverick Road so I'd be able to take sunset shots of the Chisos Mountains to the east.  It seemed like a good plan until I found that the road was closed due to a washout.

I then backtracked to a point where I reached another road that connected me to the northern end of the Old Maverick Road.  Along the way I encountered a tarantula crossing the road.  I quickly stopped and grabbed my camera.  The tarantula wasn't very cooperative and much faster than I expected.  I eventually lost him in the brush along the side of the road.  I then continued to the northern end of Old Maverick Road and then headed north out of the park where I encountered another immigration checkpoint on my way to Alpine, where I got a room for the night.  I also came across three javelinas, an adult with a baby and then later one by itself.  Unlike the two coyotes I came across while driving out yesterday evening, the javelinas seem clueless about the dangers of cars.   They looked confused and darted around in the road in from of me.  I narrowly avoided accidents, with little help from them. 

Tomorrow I'll finish the drive to Albuquerque where I'm meeting my family for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
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