22. BBNP: Santa Elena Canyon
In the Big Bend National Park map, they tell you that one of the most beautiful areas in the park is Santa Elena Canyon. So, I got my neighbor Dick from Wisconsin and we went to see the canyon. The drive to it is quite picturesque, but doesn't compare to the canyon itself. I took several pictures on the way in, but have limited myself to only canyon pics here. Can't include them all ... lol. I'll blow another 16MB website if I do. Left below is a shot of the canyon from a distance -- it's the slot in the cliff at the center of the picture. Below right, we've parked and are about to hike across the dry wash toward the canyon. Sign says to watch out for water -- it looked like it hadn't seen any for quite awhile.
Below left, we're at the bottom heading for the top -- see that guy in the center? -- that's where we're headed. Up the stairs shown below right.
Left, we've gone up the stairs and back down to the canyon floor -- this shot is just looking up at the canyon walls. Below, finally reach the end of the trail, the river, and the beautiful view up the canyon.
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Just a few more shots looking at the river and the canyon -- it's really hard to capture the feeling. Probably a little like it must be to be at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. You look at this calm river meandering through and marvel at how that little bit of water could carve this great canyon. We also noticed that the slanted grain in the canyon wall (below right) made the river look like it was flowing downhill -- a strange optical illusion.
On the left, just another "look how far down we are" shot. Then, below, an old house that we found where a man whose name I've forgotten raised 11 children. At one of the stops along the route to Santa Elena, we had seen a picture of him when he was 108 years old. Apparently, he built this house 100 or so years ago out of reeds, rocks, and mud. Amazing that it has lasted this long. I had Dick stand by it to show how really low it is -- less than 6 feet tall at the peak ... 11 children ... hmmm.
Notice (left) the rather dangerous looking mountain behind the house, with alot of loose boulders all over it. To protect the house from falling rocks, they built it up against a rather large boulder shown below. Rather ingenious folk, those pioneers ... lol.
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