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Big Bend Day Three

Day Three Big Bend January 2012

Our day begain with a drive down Old Maverick Road. I thought we could hike part of Chimney’s trail and see the rock formations but unfortunately they were closer to Ross Maxwell Drive. The road was quite nicely maintained and we made fairly good time. Luna’s Jackal is a dugout house with a mud and wattle roof near Javelina Wash. He raised twelve children there–in a house that looks to be about five feet tall and perhaps twenty foot long backed up against a boulder. Supposedly he lived to be 108 and died in 1947 just three years after Big Bend became a park.

Santa Elena Canyon is much as we remembered it but with a new canoe/raft takeout point with nice picnic tables and a restroom that is upright instead of lying on its side. We didn’t stop at Castelon but headed directly for Mules Ear.

We weren’t sure if we had hiked this particular trail as we had no pictures of it, however, the last time we were here we had an unexpected swimming event and our cameras were nonfunctional for the last two days of the trip.

It wasn’t long though before we realized that we had never been on this trail. Mules Ear are twin peaks that very much resemble a mule’s ear peeping up over a mountain; they are volcanic dikes. The trail has a lot of stone steps carefully wedged together with larger stones; a lot of up and down across the hills. We didn’t reach Mule Ear Spring–I had used half of my water. Looking back on the map and checking our times, we were only a half hour away from the end of the trail.

Lunch was under the shade of my truck parked at the trailhead; we met a motorcyclist and his wife from Connecticut on a vintage BMW 1973 with 36000 miles.

A stop at Panther Junction post office was next so I could buy extra postage for postcards; a few questions for the ranger and we were off for our final project—Balancing Rock at Grapevine Hills. It was getting late in the afternoon and so we did not linger or dawdle. The last bit is quite a climb requiring two hands and almost crawling–ditto for the return trip. I saw a lot of coyote scat–why does scat sound so much more dignified than the other terms we have for excrement?

Our night was finished up at Long Draw Pizza—complete with two cowboys who were singing Marty Robbins; a group of Canadians–one of whom got up and sang a song in French, and a large number of locals–who all sang along with the cowboys. Glen bought a CD and we returned home amidst a sky full of stars.


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