Monday, September 8, 2008

Our West Texas Vacation, Part 3

Part 3 of our West Texas vacation is a hike around The Basin Loop Trail.

Early one morning we started out on the Basin Loop Trail. It is not a difficult trail, and it is not long, but it took us the entire morning. Why? Because I am slow, want to look at everything, and I take lots of pictures. I'm also a cancer patient, and not as strong as I once was. Check at the end of Part 1 for more about that. Here I am with Ward Mountain in the background.

We didn't see a lot of animals on the trail, but this deer and her youngster were fairly calm when we came upon them. I think that this is a Mule Deer which is based on the size of her ears, and the distribution maps.

This lizard, which is not in perfect focus, but I think it is clear enough to identify as a Southern Prairie Lizard (Sceloporus undulatus consobrinus).

This wonderful flower is a Purple Leatherflower (Clematis pitcheri var. dictyota). I was excited to see it. The Scarlet Leatherflower which we have here at Selah, is found only in the south-eastern region of the Edwards Plateau.

It was a thrill to find this plant and take pictures of it. I was sure that if I could locate my copy of "Wildflowers of the Big Bend country, Texas" by Barton H. Warnock, I would be able to identify it. Sure enough I found it, and the plant is an Arroya Twine-vine (Sarcostemma cynanchoides var. hurtweggi).Be sure and look at the enlarged version of it and see the furry edges to the flower petals.

Trumpetilla (Bouvardia ternifolia) is a good name for flowers that look like little trumpets. They are incredibly red and in sunlight they look like they're on fire. They were common along the trails that we walked, but are only found in far west Texas.

Texas Milkweed (Asclepias texana) occurs in Central Texas and in West Texas. I didn't expect to see it in Big Bend. It is not common at Selah, but every year I see them along the creeks here. They are very elegent plants.

The bark of this tree looks like the skin of an alligator. Appropriately it is called the Alligator Juniper. It is found only in the Big Bend and far West Texas.

Because Casa Grande is such a magnificent mountain with such a clear shape, and since it can be seen from almost anywhere in the Chisos Basin, it is perhpas the best known landmark there.

If Casa Grande is the best known mountain in the Chisos Basin, then the Window is easily the best known low spot in the Basin. And what a wonderful frame for the view of the desert beyond!

Part 4 will be about our hike on the Lost Mine Trail.

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