Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Big Bend National Park - Part 3: Burro Spring

Our final hiking day at Big Bend included Cattail Falls, Burro Spring and Santa Elena Canyon (Part 4). Burro Spring is another short hike, about 2.4 miles roundtrip, featuring Ed Abbey type solitude.

We kicked the hike off with a nice long look through Steve's handmade spotting scope by Mallory, our youngest niece. (Take a scroll though Jen's sister's blog here and you will catch a glimpse of this crafty gal.) We spotted some birds that we no doubt would have missed without this most handy scope. Thank you Mal!

Rejoicing in the warm, warm, warm day... We could take sunshine and warmth everyday, always.

Blind Prickly Pear (Opuntia rufida); According to Peterson's these spinelets fly into the air when disturbed. These spinelets can blind cattle trying to eat the plant. What a protective measure! We did not disturb this prickly pear thankfully.

Nice views of the desert scrub, grasslands and landscape typical of this trail...

Upon rounding the mesa and within view of Burro Spring, we get our first spot of bright green - a sign of abundant water.

A dry tinaja & expansive views of the surrounding desert. (Tinaja is Spanish for large earthen jar and refers to a basin-shaped water hole, usually carved into bedrock by natural erosion.)

The vegetation is thick surrounding the water. Animal tracks criss-crossed and bees extracted minerals in the soft soil...we wondered what it would be like to be here at night when the critters come out to play.

Heading back to our car we followed a large wash that drains most of Burro Mesa and noticed some pretty cool eroding rock-soil deposits. (That's all Jennifer will interpret since Steve the soil scientist is not here right now.)

And finally, last season's vining milkweed seed pod.

One more part to share featuring the Rio Grande. Hope ya'll are enjoying the pictures!


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