Monday, March 19, 2018

February 19 - Day 5 in Big Bend National Park - Window Trail

Today's hike took us back up to the cooler temperatures of the Chisos Mountains. The Window Trail got good reviews online and we were eager to see what it had to offer. There was also the possibility of seeing the Acorn Woodpecker which was high on our list of birds we wanted to photograph.

The trail is a 5.6 miles out and back and descends through Oak Creek Canyon before ending at the Window. We got to the trail head just as the sun was beginning to peek over the mountains and were greeted with this beautiful scenery as we began the hike.

As the trail descended, the scenery changed from open views to a more closed in canyon. The oak trees were still bare from shedding their leaves last fall, but there was still plenty of interesting desert plant life around.

Cindy heading through the canyon
Havard Agave

The Havard Agave must be an amazing plant to see in bloom. The remaining stalk on the one above was 15-20' high and felt as hard as a tree branch. The agave can grow for 100 years and only blooms once in it's life time. Once it blooms, it dies.

The trail began to get really interesting as we closed in on the Window. The trail became bedrock as it headed down next to a series of potholes that still had some murky water in them. In the second photo below, you can see how they chiseled stairs out of the rock. I got better pictures of this on the way back up. Just after this, a short rock climb offered up a glimpse of our destination.

The Window is a narrow gap in the mountains at the top of a pour off with a slim view of the desert below. The rock floor is super slippery, worn smooth from millions of years of water rushing over the pour off. It's a good thing the water doesn't flow year round, or this view wouldn't be possible. In the second picture below, a guy has slid down into a pothole to get a better view. Death awaits the person that is stupid enough to go any farther. I had to check out that view also and the 3rd picture is the view I had. Getting into the pothole wasn't too hard, but getting back up the slick rock was tricky.

As I mentioned above, I took some shots at the potholes area. The geology here was amazing and the park did an excellent job with the stairs.

On the way back we decided to hang around the area of the oaks to see if we could spot one of the Acorn Woodpeckers. Oaks have acorns and Acorn Woodpeckers must like acorns - made sense to us. Well, our hunch paid off and we soon spotted a pair of the unusual looking birds. Note the acorn in the hole in the second shot.

Acorn Woodpecker
It was mid afternoon when we got back to the truck, and we decided to head back to the campground and chill the rest of the day. Some dark clouds moved in after we got back, and there was a very brief shower, but it was enough to produce a nice double rainbow across from our camp site. What a great way to end another wonderful day in one of our country's beautiful national parks!

1 comment:

  1. Great shots all around, but love love love the rainbows! Agave info is super interesting. Thanks for sharing!!