Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Birds do it, bees do it....

....even horny toads do it! One of the most beloved species in the state of Texas, the horned lizard, is listed as a threatened species in our state. This pair was found in the Van Horn cemetery this Sunday. To learn more about the horned lizard, click here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Rodeo Girl

Some of the competitors in Van Horn's American Junior Rodeo this weekend. You can access a slide show of all our rodeo photos, here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Oasis Ballroom

This may be one of the sites you'll see when you get off the freeway. The Oasis Ballroom is on Hwy 20 in Fabens along Adventure Cycling Association's Southern Tier route across the United States. See it by car or by bicycle!

For more information on cycling in West Texas, visit our cycling page: www.texasmountaintrail.com/bike

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Foggy Morning

Moisture from summer storms often lingers to become morning fog. A view from Dolores Mountain in Fort Davis. Photo by Pete Szilagyi.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Post Park

Five miles south of Marathon, Post Park is an oasis in the surrounding Chihuahuan Desert. A favorite of locals for picnics, dances and fishing, the natural spring and surrounding wetlands has a long history. During the 19th century, the spot was the campground for Comanches on their raids to Mexico. Later, the U.S. Army established Camp Pena Colorado to deter raids and to protect the supply wagons on route to Fort Davis.
Thanks to Matt Walter of the Museum of the Big Bend for his great photos...looks like you had a good fishing day, Matt! Check out our Guest Photographers' links to see more of their work.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Big Bend Ranch Paintings in London: Genaro Galindo

Fifteen year old, Genaro Galindo, is displaying his painting, "Playboy," in London at the Saatchi Art Gallery. His work, along with other Presidio High School student artwork in the show is inspired by Big Bend Ranch State Park.

"I was inspired because I love horses. This came from a photograph of a horse out at Big Bend Ranch that one of the vaqueros ride which represents my Mexican culture," said Genaro. The Presidio High School student has studied art for a year, and enjoys working with pastels and oil paints.

Presidio High School was chosen from other schools around the world in a competition that is overseen by the Saatchi Art Gallery. These 11 student works are centered around the beauty of the Big Bend region, focusing in on the Big Bend Ranch State Park and Fort Leaton. Art teacher, Laurie Holman, says, "I tell them to paint what they know, to see their surroundings in a new and different way. So, this is what they did and with great success."

For more information on Big Bend Ranch State Park, click here and here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Davis Mountains Storm

Summer storms typically green up the Davis Mountains from June through September. Photo by Pete Szilagyi

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bike Rally in Van Horn

This was taken at last weekend's motorcycle rally in Van Horn, but we post it now to remind you to attend this event, the Pack West Texas Bike Rally, also in Van Horn, on September 25-27.

For more information on motorcycle routes across the Texas Mountain Trail region, visit: www.texasmountaintrail.com/motorcycle

In the background of this photo of the Hotel Capitan in Van Horn, soon to join our list of regional historic hotels, www.texasmountaintrail.com/historichotels

Monday, June 22, 2009

El Capitan in the Evening

A majestic view of El Capitan at the foot of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Hiking and camping are two favorite activities of visitors to the park. Compared to some of the better known parks, the Guadalupe Mountains National Park has relatively lower visitation, which means no lines, open campgrounds and trails to yourself!

For more information on hiking in the region, visit: www.texasmountaintrail.com/hike

For more information on camping in the region, visit: www.texasmountaintrail.com/camp

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer Skies

The landscape of West Texas is everchanging because of our beautiful skies. This was taken just outside of Marfa, looking north on Hwy 90.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Flowering Cholla on the Scenic Loop

An enormous cholla blooms on the Scenic Loop west of Fort Davis. One of the most beautiful drives anywhere, the Scenic Loop is a "must do" when visiting the region. The community of Fort Davis, the Fort Davis National Historic Site and Davis Mountains State Park, and the famed McDonald Observatory are all on the loop. Plus there's great mountain vegetation and wildlife to view!
For more information on visiting Fort Davis, click here and here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hiking Tour Headquarters

Van Horn's Red Rock Ranch has a new headquarters on its main street, Broadway. This private ranch offers guided hiking and driving tours of their land. They also will offer views of petroglyphs and pictographs, wildlife habitat, and movie sets. Contact them here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Big Bend Ranch Paintings in London: Fernando Suarez

Sixteen year old, Fernando Suarez, is one of the Presidio High School art students exhibiting works inspired by Big Bend Ranch State Park at London's Saatchi Art Gallery this summer.

Fernando explains his work, "Becerros."

"My inspiration in my artwork was that I like the photo that I worked from. The photo is of two longhorn baby calves (becerros) that are out at the Big Bend Ranch. I chose this subject because it reminded me of my family and where I come from."

Fernando has been studying art for four years and enjoys pastels and oil paint.

Presidio art teacher, Laurie Holman, is responsible for the student work exhibited at the Saatchi gallery. "I tell them to paint what they know, to see their surroundings in a new and different way. So, this is what they did and with great success. "

For more information on Big Bend Ranch State Park, click here and here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Heading back to Van Horn

Planning a trip to Guadalupe Mountains National Park? There's a beautiful drive back to Van Horn, the closest Texas community to the park with a variety of hotels, motels and RV parks. Hwy 54 offers stunning views of unspoiled landscapes, and just south of the park (where this shot was taken) you'll cross back into the Central Time Zone from Mountain Time Zone.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A desert view of Smith Spring Trail

Yesterday, we featured the lush woodland oasis near Smith Spring, on a 2.3 mile trail in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Here's a view of the desert floor from near the beginning of the trail as it rises up from the trailhead to the spring.

For more information on Guadalupe Mountains National Park, click here and here.

For more information on hiking in the region, visit: www.texasmountaintrail.com/hike

NEW! Click here for a Flickr slide show of this Trail!

Monday, June 15, 2009

On a Hot Day, Head to the Cool Smith Spring Trail

An oasis from the hot sun, the Guadalupe Mountains National Park has a great 2.3 mile trail with a cool and shady spot in the middle, where Smith Spring emerges from a woodland. Animals visit frequently to get water and stay cool. Here the temperatures on a hot day are at least 10-20 degrees cooler than on the desert floor.

For more information on Guadalupe Mountains National Park, visit here and here.

For more information on hiking in the region, visit: www.texasmountaintrail.com/hike

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Summer storms

This time of year, rains can come up pretty quickly and can give us a pretty dazzling show of light and shadow in the sky.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Our Lady Queen of Peace

A plaque next to this Alpine grotto reads, "This grotto is dedicated to OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE by the parishoners of this church as a token of their devotion and as a hopeful prayer for the conversion of Russia, October 16, 1949.
The grotto appears to be made with the same native stone you find all over Alpine, including on the campus of Sul Ross State University.
To find the grotto, cross the railroad tracks by the train station and head up the hill. It is next to the Queen of Peace church, which overlooks the city.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Stardust sign

Just outside Marfa on Hwy 90 on the way to Valentine is the last remnant of an old motel, the Stardust Motel.

For a listing of historic hotels in the region, visit: www.texasmountaintrail.com/historichotels

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Big Bend Ranch Paintings in London: Daisy Perez

Daisy Perez, a 16 year old 10th grader, is another of the Presidio High School students exhibiting work at London's Saatchi Art Gallery. Her work features Fort Leaton State Historic Site, near Presidio, and a gateway stop to Big Bend Ranch State Park.

She talks about her work, "El Fortin at Sunset." "I was in a bad mood that day and I wanted to draw (what I thought) something simple. When I finished with the Fort part of the drawing, I felt a little better, but my mind was still cloudy…so I drew the cloudy sky!" Daisy has been working for about a year on her artwork, and enjoys chalk pastels, oil paints, colored pencils.

For more information about Fort Leaton, click here and here.

For more information about Big Bend Ranch State Park, click here and here.

To see the gallery of work by Presidio students at the Saatchi Art Gallery website, click here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Leggett Week: Hiking around the Rio Grande

And so, our week featuring the works of photographer David Lee Leggett comes to a close with a great shot from his "Her Name is Rio: Hiking Around the Rio Grande" series on his website, www.phlography.com.

Thanks to David for graciously allowing us to post his photos, and thanks to Mercer Black, of the Big Bend Texas Mountain Travel Guide for introducing us to his beautiful work.

For more information about hiking in the region, visit our hiking page: www.texasmountaintrail.com/hike

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Leggett Week: Sky and Ocotillo

Obviously, we're a fan of a lot of things West Texas has to offer. Two of our favorites are our skies and ocotillo, a spiky desert plant that sports bright orange blossoms and tiny green leaves when it rains. And we're a fan of David Lee Leggett's photographer's "eye" for West Texas...

We're featuring Leggett's work all week. To see more, we invite you to visit his website, www.phlography.com

Of course, there are some things you just have to see for yourself. To help you plan your trip to West Texas, check out the Texas Mountain Trail website, www.texasmountaintrail.com

For additional assistance with dining and lodging choices, pick up a copy of the Big Bend Texas Mountains Travel Guide. Thanks to publisher Mercer Black, for introducing us to David Lee Leggett and his work.

To learn more about the flora and fauna of our high mountain desert, plan to visit one of our regional nature centers. For a list, click here!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Leggett Week: Horned Lizard

Texas' official state reptile, the Horned Lizard (or horny toad) was captured by this week's featured photographer, David Lee Leggett. This amiable reptile is a favorite of Texans, but it has disappeared from many areas of its previous range. Texas Parks and Wildlife has more information here.

You can see more of Leggett's work at his website, www.phlography.com Leggett currently lives in Dallas, but is a frequent visitor to West Texas.

To learn more about Horned Lizards, plan to visit one of our regional nature centers when you're in West Texas. Check them out here, on the Texas Mountain Trail website.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Leggett Week: Sunset near Marfa

This week, we're featuring the work of a Dallas-based photographer, David Lee Leggett. A frequent visitor to West Texas, David's work captures the beauty of our Texas Mountain Trail region quite nicely!

David's work can be seen all week here, but for more images check out his website: www.phlography.com

This image captures the beauty of our sunsets, and was taken near Marfa.

To learn more about fun things to do in West Texas or plan a trip, visit: www.texasmountaintrail.com

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Leggett Week: Ranch Road 2810

Photographer David Lee Leggett captures the feel of motoring through the Texas Mountain Trail's wide open spaces. This shot was taken southwest of Marfa on Ranch Road 2810.

This week we're featuring the photographs of David Lee Leggett, a frequent visitor to West Texas and the Texas Mountain Trail. To read about the photographer and see his work, visit www.phlography.com

Are you planning a visit to West Texas? Check out our Texas Mountain Trail website (www.texasmountaintrail.com) for information about attractions, itineraries and events, and when you're in the region, pick up a copy of the Big Bend Texas Mountain Travel Guide for information on dining and lodging. Thanks to publisher, Mercer Black, for introducing us to the work of David Lee Leggett!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Leggett Week: El Capitan in the Clouds

David Lee Leggett captures a cloudy view of El Capitan at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. This week we are featuring the work of Leggett, a frequent visitor to the Texas Mountain Trail region.

Would you like to learn more about the photographer and see more of his work? Check it out at www.phlography.com

For more information on the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, visit: www.nps.gov/gumo

The park offers great hiking experiences. For information on hiking in the region, visit: www.texasmountaintrail.com/hike

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Leggett Week Begins! Big Bend Cowboy Rendezvous

From time to time we like to feature images from photographers visiting the region, and starting today, we're featuring the photography of David Lee Leggett...it is David Leggett Week!

Currently a resident of Dallas, Leggett is a frequent visitor to West Texas. He says, "I grew up on and around ranches in East and West Texas. When I am not in Dallas, I am usually at my family's ranch near Menard, TX. I am a self-taught photographer. I began photographing, processing and printing images at age 12. I primarily depict scenes from nature and west texas. My obsessions tend to lean toward thunderstorms, windmills, cows and the open Texas sky."

Leggett captured great images of the recent Big Bend Cowboy Rendezvous on the O6 Ranch north of Alpine. You can see his work at: http://www.phlography.com/

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Big Bend Ranch Paintings in London: Adrian Madrid

Adrian Madrid, a 16 year old junior at Presidio High School shows off his painting, "El Rancho Grande," inspired by Big Bend Ranch State Park. His work is part of an exhibition of Presidio High School art student work showing at Saatchi Art Gallery in London. Their teacher is Laurie Holman.

Adrian has been painting for two years, and says of his work, "My inspiration is the lifestyle of the people around here. I paint what the people do and the west Texas landscape. I paint what I see and what I know."

For more information on Big Bend Ranch State Park, click here and here.

To see the gallery of works on the Saatchi website, click here.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Historic Hotels

There's a long tradition of family owned hotels in the region, one of the first being the Clark Hotel in Van Horn. Now a museum chronicling area history, artifacts tell the story of Van Horn's history as a crossroads for the traveler. Shown here are family photographs of the Clarks in the museum's recreated lobby, and the exterior of the building today.

If you're on I-10 heading through the Texas Mountain Trail, consider a stop in Van Horn to check it out. From Van Horn, you can enjoy day trips to the Guadalupe Mountains National Park; Marfa, Fort Davis, or Alpine, the Big Bend, or El Paso!

Or, consider staying in a historic hotel....visit our webpage, www.texasmountaintrail.com/historichotels for a listing.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Amtrak's Sunset Limited route, the route from New Orleans to Los Angeles, makes two stops in the Texas Mountain Trail Region, Alpine and El Paso. This is the charming interior of Alpine's small station.

El Paso's railroad history is told at their Railroad and Transportation Museum.

Also check out the railroad exhibit at Alpine's Museum of the Big Bend!