Big Bend National Park Dugout Wells
Monday December 3, 2007
We started the morning with coffee and pancakes prepared in our little cabin. Real maple syrup is such a treat. Then we packed a small lunch and headed out. Our first stop was at Dugout Well. This is a small oasis of cottonwood trees, palm trees, and a windmill. In pioneering days, this was the site of a small community that included a school. The Chihuahuan Desert is lovely—with all the wonderful shades of green contrasting with the distant purple and orange mountains.
We decided to try riding the motorcycles from that location to Rice Tank. After warming up the motorcycles we started off. I am still rather unsure of myself and followed rather slowly behind. The road is lumpy-bumpy with bits of gravel and big rocks and dips throughout. We drove on the paved highway for a mile or so, turned off on Glenn Spring road and started down it. Glen went ahead to check out the road, returned and thought it too slippery for my level of expertise.
We headed back to the truck, loaded up the DRZ and proceeded again. The road was not easy in the truck, the motorcycle in the back bounced around quite a bit and I met three other vehicles. This meant we both had to edge to the far side of the narrow road and crawl past each other. We stopped at Nugent Mountain for some pictures.
Our next stop was at Pine Canyon. Glen thought it was the road to Rice Tank but it turned out to be a very long ride up hill to lion country. I saw quite a few cactus wren nests and a few birds as I tried hard not to watch the road. The trip back down was not quite as difficult but every time we stopped, I picked up a rock so I would be ready to scare off Mr. Mountain Lion.
Rice Tank turns out to be a stock tank and small corral, named after the Rice family who ranched there in the 20’s.
Hot Springs was our next stop. The trail was quite short but a bit difficult to follow as it must frequently be under water and quite muddy. The river cane is thick and we could hear the river but not see it. We passed by a large rock alcove with petroglyphs and chimney swallow nests. The Rio Grande is quite narrow at Hot Springs, not much more than a burbling creek. Hot Springs is indeed quite hot about 105 degrees according to the brochure. At the urging of some Canadians, I took off my shoes and socks, rolled up my pant legs and waded out into the area. It was indeed quite warm.
Further down the paved road we came to Boquillos Canyon overlook. The landscape here is much drier and vegetation not nearly so lush. A Mexican had laid out his wares on a rock with prices—but had disappeared when he heard the truck. I wanted to see the narrow gap at Boquillos Canyon but we were both tired and hungry. Supper was at the Red Hot Chili Pepper Café. I’m not sure why I thought I might get ‘regular’ hot food there—I ended up with chicken quesadillas which were quite filling and left enough for lunch tomorrow. Glen got a combination plate which looked really good but he kept stopping to blow his nose as the food was quite spicy. The café was eerily quiet, a few locals and no music. Lots of posters announced the annual Terlingua Chili cook-off.
Tomorrow is another day and I’m tired.
For more photos look here: