Monday, April 23, 2018

February 25 - Day 11 in Big Bend National Park - Chimneys Trail

We hiked the Chimneys Trail today which turned out to be an excellent hike and destination. The Chimneys are a "series of prominent volcanic dike formations" according to the NPS web site. The hike is almost a 5 mile round trip, but isn't that difficult since there isn't that much elevation change. We got an early start hoping to catch a sunrise along the way. The sun did rise, but the skies were clear. We stopped anyway as the sun began to clear the mountains, then again when we spotted some interesting side light.

We were the first vehicle at the trail head again and actually didn't see anyone else until we were almost ready to leave. The entire trail is through desert vegetation, so there wasn't really any interesting geology along the way. We did look for plants we hadn't seen yet, more reptiles (nope), and birds along the way. We spotted what we are pretty sure were Scaled Quail, but didn't get a picture, so won't count in as a new bird. Below are a few shots stating from the trail head to when we got to the Chimneys.

view towards our destination from the trail head
Cindy shooting a Yucca along the trail
the Chimneys in view
the Chimneys with Santa Elena Canyon in the background

just about there!
The NPS web site has a picture of an arch on this trail, but so far we hadn't noticed one. We continued up the trail between the 2 rock formations and that's when the arch came into view. It's not a big one, but still very cool. Short scramble trails lead up for a closer view of the rocks and arch. Here's a bit of what we saw.

the arch

Cindy and me in the arch
from the other side of the arch
looking towards Santa Elena Canyon
looking back towards the parking area and beyond
The Chimneys also offers the opportunity to see Native American artifacts and markings on some of the rock walls. We weren't sure exactly where to look, but found some of what is there.

It appears that this ledge was used for something in the past.
a different angle of the ledge

A closer examination of the wall reveals carvings.

stone artifact
another stone artifact
It was now early afternoon and we took our time on the 2 1/2 mile hike back to the truck. As we were leaving I snapped some shots of the large rock piles where we found the artifacts. Once we got back to the trail head, we both agreed to head back to the camp site and relax the rest of the day.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice! The shots of Santa Elena canyon in the distance really put its size in perspective (and wow to that!). The artifacts are super cool.