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Big Bend Day Three One the hunt for a spring

Anxiously, we checked the temperature in the Tesla—parked in our back yard on Sentry mode. Thinking about the freeze warnings and frozen pipes was a bit worrisome but the temp inside the Tesla was 39 degrees—unlikely to have frozen pipes and our orchids were all inside.

The cabin here is heated but it is not toasty. Twenty nine degrees outside! Lots of lovely hot water for showers, the F250 grumbled a bit at starting but we were on our way around 9:30

Our plans for the day included hiking a trail we thought was a small spring/falls we had seen before—but not marked on the map. Consulting the hiking guide and the park map, we thought it might be Ward Creek Trail, a 2.4 mile round trip. I’m not sure how those miles are measured, maybe as a crow flies or a ruler on a map. Lots of ups and downs, more ups it seemed. A Back Woods volunteer checking the trail gave us better directions.

Both of us needed a bit of a rest. We drove down Maxwell Sterling Drive and stopped at the Sotol Vista. This is a gorgeous place with views of the mountains on all sides—alas the sun was not in the right spot for photos.

Stopping at Castolon we were surprised to see the former visitor station had burned in a fire several years ago. The adobe building had sandbags around its base and  a tarp over the roof; they had been measuring the cracks widening; now it is a roofless building fenced off with cyclone fencing. No photos…entirely too dismal.

There are nice picnic tables at Santa Elana River Overlook for lunching, the river is behind reeds and willows. At the Santa Elena Canyon,the parking lot was FULL! We were surprised and disappointed as our previous trips had included a great deal of solitude. We walked down to the river—lots of changes noted—a huge boat ramp, very nice paved parking lot, and dozens of people.

I remembered the trail as only a bit challenging in spots but perhaps my memory has erased some of the challenges. We were both ten years younger and I had not had back surgery before hiking that trail. People waded across the river—that water was really cold.

We retraced our path to a desert overlook, and then back to Sotol Vista for some better photos—sun spots appeared on several photos—but it is good memory.

Today I got out my drawing tools and made three drawings—tomorrow I will be brave enough to take out my paints.

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