John and Diana are traveling around the country with a 37-foot RV and an 18-year-old cat. This is their story.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Final Notes on Big Bend National Park
The above flower is that of the ocotillo, a desert plant which is starting to bloom now. Today was our last day here in the park so before leaving I would like to show a few pictures yet which I was unable to include in previous postings. Yesterday, Saturday, we drove on the Grapevine Hills Road to see Balanced Rock. It was another hot dusty walk up and over one big hill. The whole area is in a wash which has weirdly shaped granite boulders piled one upon another.
The next picture I have is that of Luna's Jacal. In another posting I mentioned the early settlers who lived in this park at the turn of the last century. It continually amazes me when I hear the stories of how they managed to eke out a living in what seems to me as a very harsh environment for many months out of the year. Gilberto Luna was of Mexican and American descent. He had a small farm along Alamo Creek (it is presently dried up). He was able to divert seasonal flows from the normally dry stream to irrigate his crops and water his goats. He also had a freighting service. The house pictured below was where he raised his numerous children. He died in 1947 at the age of 108 years, after outliving several wives. The house is made of mud and sticks and is called a jacal. We stepped into the house during the heat of the day and were amazed at how cool it was inside. The back wall is flush up against a boulder.
The last picture I have is of that of a Big Bend sunset. It lasted only for a few minutes and yet somehow we did capture its beauty.
Maybe by enlarging the picture the whole effect will improve. There seems to be a certain pattern of events here in the campground most evenings. First the turkey vultures settled down to roost in a tall tree, I have counted a dozen or more at one time. Next swarms of tiny gnats fill the sky (we learned fast that it is best not to open windows while our lights our on because those gnats come in through the screens and head for the lights). At twilight bats are seen above the campground, I would imagine they are having a banquet of gnats. Once it is completely dark the heavens here are filled with myriads of stars, a very awesome sight seen nowhere else in our country because of the absence of big city lights. Usually our nights are quiet, except for the occasional howl of coyotes. Tomorrow we will be on our way to Alpine, Texas