I agreed to an online friend’s invitation to meet other plant nerds, and hike Chisos Basin in Big Bend National Park.
That we did – about 14 miles and 1,800′ in elevation / up-down.
The trip there and back was almost as good. Photos 9/10/2016-ish. Many, many photos, not much text, and I added a number of plant names as you rifle through.
A weak cool front reinforced the moist air from the east, and cool and damp was much different than back home just 4 hours NW.
See you on the back side, Marfa!
Light was getting low, so to meet the next day’s hiking buddies, I quickly wound through the hills to Alpine for the night – no photos there. Those hills were dripping wet, all shades of green in the mists and clouds. Agave spp., Dasylirion leiophyllum, Quercus grisea, and waist-high grama grasses…surreal.
We drove in a caravan of 4 vehicles from Alpine to Study Butte, then through the park gates up to Chisos Basin. I think that alone was another 2 hours or more.
Since the lower desert areas around Terlingua and Study Butte are often hotter than Phoenix, this was relief. Like many an early August morning back home, heavy and humid air, but with plenty of coolness to feel fresh.
Everyone but me, since I held my camera.
This group of images looks like Christy Ten Eyck has hiked here for inspiration, or just got inspiration when all she wanted was a hike. Many plants growing in cracks of boulders.
Remember “Havard, not Harvard”? With few exceptions, about the only agave I saw on the trail was Agave havardiana. They were everywhere!
Plenty of other plants, even oaks putting out a 2nd and 3rd flush of growth with the abundant moisture. Flowers, colors, even the bark…find the Arbutus xalapensis.
Bugs everywhere, though I was uneaten. Thanks in part to persistent cloud cover instead of sun.
Did I say green and moist? While the oaks had no acorns on them, the Pinus cembroides were loaded with seed, and here we stood in awe of the top of the food chain having lunch…
Water, green, more water
I wasn’t the only one taking too many photos, so we had to hustle back. That was the longest downhill I remember, since years ago on a fall day, from firs into cacti and oaks about 4000′ below, each step down in elevation warming into heat by the bottom, knees feeling the pain.
This was just greener and cooler, plus my suspicion was confirmed about my hiking boots being too used over the years.
I got shin splints, so it took me a while to join my compadres at the dinner table, but I made it. Then we said our byes, and I drove on while they stayed in Study Butte.
A 90 minute power nap off the long highway to Alpine, and my long streak of luck at Border Patrol stations ran out. I was detained for an hour, but then let go.
At least their German Shepard didn’t scratch my paint clawing on all of my car…
A new day…back in Marfa, where I got a room nearing 1 am, then a night sleeping soundly and far from La Migra.
Exploring town, enjoying being away from some bad things at work, knowing I had to leave. I milked out being in Marfa all day!
Then the last 4 hours of driving, and a desert sunset.
After a few days in reality, back to the illusion that pays the bills and keeps a roof over my head. I was now ready for the coming weeks, and richer in Agave havardiana sightings.