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Big Bend and Santa Elena Canyon


Today was a good day. We decided to eat breakfast at Kathy’s Kosmic Kowgirl Kafe but unfortunately Kathy was taking care of her mother who had the flu. So we ate at the GhostTown Café. The food was plentiful and cheap. I had a burrito—ate only a third; while Glen had the Miner’s Special with biscuits and gravy, over-easy eggs and sausage—and huge mugs of coffee with half-n-half.


Our intended destination for the day was to get a stamp at Castolon, view the Santa Elena Canyon, take a hike through Tuff Canyon and then Glen was going to ride part of the River Road.  Castolon featured a steam engine, an old wagon, an adobe house diked for the flood, and a ranger who told us that although there was a five foot drop-off on the Santa Elena trail we might find a lot of people there.


Santa Elena Canyon was different after the flood; the river bank was eight feet higher than last year. The drop-off was not difficult to maneuver even with my bad knee and we walked along the canyon. A pair of ravens cawed as they circled around the canyon walls, we were not sure if they thought us the predators or were warning us of the other couple ahead of us. I shot a short video of the canyon trying to catch the wren’s singing.


Tuff Canyon was next on our agenda. The canyon is mostly in the shade—a good thing as  was in the mid seventies but with a brisk breeze. The canyon features pyroclastic bombs, hollows in the wall, sedimentary rock, and a variety of volcanic rocks.


It was now noon and Glen decided he could indeed do the River Road in the remaining hours of daylight. We headed for Glenn Springs Road, he off-loaded the Yamaha, strapped on extra water and his camera and disappeared down the road. I headed for Dugout Wells and waited for him


Dugout Wells is probably my favorite place in Big Bend. The cottonwoods constantly rustle and the windmill steadily creaks and moans as it pumps water. I took some photos of the desert and did a small drawing of the cottonwood. My solitude was broken only for a few minutes by two other vehicles; and at 4:30 I heard the distinctive sound of the motorcycle approaching.


By 5 we had loaded the Yamaha and were half way out of the park. We filled up the truck with diesel at the Fina Station, replenished the fuel tank of the Yamaha, bought an avocado and headed home to the Chisos Mining Company Motel. Supper was left-over breakfast burrito, left-over grilled salmon salad with toasted pecan vinaigrette and the avocado with Fritos and salsa on the picnic table outside our little cabin.


More photos are here:


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