Friday, January 7, 2011

Santa Elena Canyon

After our backpacking excursion we wanted to see the rest of Big Bend NP.  So we took the 30 mile Ross Mawell Scenic Drive to Santa Elena Canyon.  The canyon is visible over 10 miles away. The trail initially crosses Terlingua Creek, a minor Rio Grande tributary, which is dry for much of the year but several feet deep during rainy periods. Then there is a somewhat steep ascent with switchbacks to pass over a cliff at the start of the canyon. Then the trail has a more gradual descent back to water level and a flat section of several hundred meters through tall vegeation to a small beach, beyond which the water covers the gorge from wall to wall.  The cliffs above rise vertically for over 1,000 feet.

Kristin spotted an adorable black phoebe in the middle of the river--flycatching from a stick.  There were several ravens active in the canyon--one flew up the middle of the canyon and you could hear its wing beats echoing off the walls. We also got some good looks at a canyon wren up close.

No comments: