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Sat. Sept. 16 to Fri. Sept. 23- New Mexico to Big Bend Texas Part 2

Now I can’t even put in ANY pictures. I have contacted support and am going to post just to get it done. Once I find out what is wrong, I will come back and put the pictures into the blog.

Tuesday- We drove the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. This is a 25-mile drive which was extremely interesting. Our first stop was at the Sam Neil ranch. The family lived in a two-room adobe there and raised goats and sheep. The home was shaded by a soapberry tree. It is located far from anywhere! There is a short path that leads to the abandoned old ranch building along the Cottonwood Creek.

The next stop was the “Fins of Fire” It was an example of intrusive (cooled underground) and extrusive (cooled on the surface) igneous formations These are abundant in the Big Bend. The volcanos, which formed Big Bed form walls across the landscape.

Our next stop was at the Homer Wilson Ranch. Homer Wilson bought land in the foothills for a sheep and goat operation. The ranch was 45,000 acres There is a circular corral behind the house and another house for the foreman.

Our next stop was at Sotol Vista. From this spot you can see the western side of the park.

We continued on to Goat Mountain. Big Bend has a history of fiery, geologically violent eruptions. At this stop we learned how the collapsing calderas, steaming volcanic bents and super-hot pyroclastic flows created Goat Mountain.

We stopped at the Mule Ears overlook. The Mule Ear Peaks are two distinctive eroded rhyolite dikes.

Next, we stopped at Tuff Canyon. There are three viewing platforms. Park visitors are able to hike through the canyon.

Below is Cerro Castellan. The picture shows the striking evidence of millions of years of colonic activity in Big Bend.

We continued on to the Castolon Historic District. The buildings are remnants of the pioneer and military history of the park. The Hispanic culture of the area was a melding of the Spanish and indigenous people of the region. Later, the Anglo-American settlers entered the area and learned survival methods from the previous settlers. This resulted in a bicultural community with the Mexican settlers. In 1910, the Mexican Revolution occurred, and bandits crossed the river and raided the small border communities. This resulted in some of the families on both sides of the border, to abandon their homes.

In 1916, the War Department sent in troops to protect the area. A permanent post was started in 1919 and completed in 1920. After the revolution ended, the troops were moved elsewhere. In 1925, the La Harmonia Company purchased the buildings, and the La Harmonia store was moved into the barracks building. A post office was added and closed in 1954. The store remained until 1961, when it was incorporated into the NP. In 2019, a fire jumped the river and damaged the building. It is going to be rebuilt. We ate our lunch here, sitting in the car. There is a small store that was open. We purchased a hat there for Bob as he had left his hat back at the rig. There are still several houses there, but they were all closed to visitors.

Our next stop was at the Desert Mountain Overlook. Emory Peak, which is 16 miles away, is a full mile higher in elevation the overlook.

We stopped at the Santa Elana Canyon River takeout. The rest of the road was closed, and we were not able to visit the Santa Elana Canyon, which is considered the most dramatically beautiful spot in the park. It is so flooded, and full of mud, the park will not be opening the area for at least another week. Hopefully the river pictures will show how fast the river is flowing.

We retraced our drive, back to the main road. On the way out of the park, we could now see the Mule Ears and the other sites we had visited, and now knew what they were, off in the distance.

This evening we had a happy hour which was BYOB.

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