Saturday, October 23, 2010

Big Bend Ranch State Park - October 2010

First trip with Permian Basin Outing Club.  Left work Friday at 4, on the road at 5, I need to put together a semi-permanent box with most camping bric-a-brac.  Why haven't I done this before?  At least now I have a comprehensive packing list.  In the Subaru with new 90k tires headed south.  Davis Mts, lovely.  Nice evening light.  Into Presidio, thought I was getting pulled over, got the guy behind me.  Along the Rio Grande in the darkness, many Border Patrol vehicles with lights across the road.  Found campsite, only two guys hanging around.  Drank some beer, Sabkha ran around.  Campground right on the Rio Grande.
Arenosa Group Campground

Low cliff above AGC.  It looked like tuff with a camp of very coarse alluvial volcaniclastic gravel.

View of the Rio Grande.  I couldn't really get to the river from our campsite due to thick reeds along the shore of the river.

On Saturday we got up and hung around.  There were no organized events or plans.  Sab and I headed down the canyoj (by car) and stopped off at West Ranchieras (?) trailhead and headed up the dry canyon.  We saw some plants:

Sabkha had a great time. I wasn't feeling that well.  But the desert was pretty.

Paleosol with overlying lava flow.

Not sure what this is.  Some kind of dike-looking feature in what appeared to be gravel.

Sab and I headed up a hillside, off-trail for a better view.
Actually I lost the trail.
We could see into Mexico. The distant mts are in Mexico.

Stopped along the Rio

Then we drove into the interior of the park.  Long bumpy gravel roads.  Got sick of that pretty fast.  Nothing too challenging but keep thinking want a smaller 4x4 truck.  The Subaru hasn't let me down yet, but it's not a truck.  I'd hate to wreck it in this stuff, of course I drove it on some evil roads when it was brand-new.  It's still worth $9k or so...

I got the headache I always get on trips, although no high altitude here...  stopped to make some black tea to ward off headache.  Pretty desert!  Road was getting a bit HC.

Sab found a giant catfish corpse!  She brought the spine back to camp for us all to enjoy.
Some plants

Sat night was uneventful.  Sat around and listened to everyone else talk about their non-profit foundations and their plans.  Sunday, drove over to Lajitas, on the east side of BBRSP.  Stopped at visitor center.  Went back west to the west Contrabando trailhead.  The detailed map I had made no sense.  We hiked up the canyon from the end of the road; I think it was Fresno Canyon.  There was flowing water, which disappeared as we went up.  It got hot and dry.
Then suddenly we can on this brownish rock and the water came to the surface in little plunge pools.

We walked upstream on this brown rock for a mile or so then turned around.  I want to come back here with a backpack.  Google maps shows the brown rock in this area well.  I want to visit El Solitario, the giant "lacco-caldera" just to the north of where I was hiking.

BBRSP is four hours from my house in Midland.  So is Terlinqua, east of BBRSP and west of the national park, where you can buy cheap land.  I went back that way, through Terlingua, to see the intrusives along the highway.  Going out of the park, the check engine light came on.

In Alpine, Texas (home of Sul Ross State U), I stopped for gas and after filling the Subaru wouldn't start, and when it did it ran really rough.  Ck engine light still on.  Finally smoothed out and I made it back.  Sub 92,000 miles.


Plants Amaze Me said...

Your blog makes me think.
So Paleosol is a layer of fossilized soil?
Dike looking feature looks like it is part of the rock? Would this have been made by water?
I like your candid remark about heading off-trail for a better view - Actually you lost the trail.
The picture captioned "Stopped along the Rio" looks like a place to camp for awhile.
Sab is so cute with her Catfish Corpse, Aw.
Photo "Some Plants" it looks like Virgin's Bower we have been seeing that around here too.
Plunge Pools - was the river here long ago making these pools or is it from recent rains?
I think the Grasshopper may be Dactylotum variegatum Rainbow Grasshopper.
Sorry so many comments and questions, now I will go Bing map your trip.
Thanks for blogging!

stratovolcano said...

Plants, thanks for the comments.

Yes a paleosol is a "fossilzed" soil. They are common in volcanic sequences because lava tends to come along pretty quickly, covering up the pre-existing nice surface with happy plants and animals, like the areas you visit with your blog. These are then burned into a crisp.

The dike-looking feature must be some water-related feature, but I couldn't figure out how it would have formed. It could be a dewatering structure, but these type of rocks don't usually have those bc they are so permeable. I didn't spend much time looking at it, and I'm not a sedimentary rock person, so I don't know.

Stopped along the Rio is a boat take-out/put in. There is a giant sign that says NO PETS IN THE RIVER. Ok Police Man. Police State. Police Park.

The catfish was huge. Someone found the head, it was over 12" wide at the mouth.

There are no similar plants between Michigan and desert Texas, sorry.

The pools are created during high rainfall events. They are modern features in this case. During high rainfall the water has a lot of sediment, sand and larger particles, they "plunge" over little drops and carve out these pools. Very common canyon feature. this canyon was interesing because it was on bedrock with only a few feet of sed fill. Unusual.

It was the coolest grasshopper I ever seen. I call it the Indian Bead Grasshopper.

Seester said...

Cool Post! I laughed when I saw the photo of Sab with the catfish corpse! Looks like you are having lots of fun in Texas :)