Monday, August 31, 2009

Approaching Dog Canyon, one of the best campgrounds in America

Guadalupe Mountain National Park's Dog Canyon was recently named one of the best campgrounds in America by Americasbestonline.net

Here's a note from the Park's website:

Dog Canyon (Elevation 6,280') Dog Canyon is in a secluded, forested canyon on the north side of the park. Due to a slightly higher elevation, and protected location beneath steep cliff walls, it remains cooler than Pine Springs campground in the summer, and sheltered from strong gusty winds in winter and spring. The campground has 9 tent sites and 4 RV sites (no hookups, no dump station). Restrooms have sinks and flush toilets, but no showers.

Unless you backpack from the main Pine Springs Visitor Center, the approach to Dog Canyon is actually through the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cycle-friendly Gage Hotel on Southern Tier Route


The Gage Hotel is both a historic hotel and a participant in our cycle-friendly accommodations program, and a favorite stop for visitors coming through Marathon on their way to Big Bend and the Davis Mountains. Pictured here is the restaurant area and the pool, and the hotel offers many other services including gardens (from which produce for the hotel's restaurant is grown), fitness center and spa services.

You can read more about the hotel on our historic hotels page: www.texasmountaintrail.com/historichotels and our cycling page, www.texasmountaintrail.com/bike

Adventure Cycling Association has mapped a route across the country--the Southern Tier Route--which runs from San Diego, CA to St. Augustine, FL and cyclists taking that route ride right across the Texas Mountain Trail Region--Anthony, El Paso and the Mission Trail communities, Sierra Blanca, Van Horn, Fort Davis, Alpine and Marathon, which is home of the Gage.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Van Horn's Six Mile Mountain on Southern Tier Route

Travelers coming through Van Horn can't miss the view of Six Mile Mountain--which is three miles from town and three miles back! Six Mile and the nearby Turtleback Mountain welcome cyclists to town as they pedal on the Southern Tier route across the country, and contribute to Van Horn's magnificent high desert setting.

For more information about cycling in the region, including a list of cycle-friendly hotels, visit www.texasmountaintrail.com/bike

Friday, August 28, 2009

McDonald Observatory on the Southern Tier Route

Adventure Cycling Association's Southern Tier route across the U.S.A. cuts right through the Texas Mountain Trail region of Far West Texas. One of the many interesting places to visit on the route is the famed McDonald Observatory outside Fort Davis.

For more information about the Observatory, click here.

For more information about cycling in the region, including a list of cycle-friendly hotels, visit: www.texasmountaintrail.com/bike

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Southern Tier Route between Fort Davis and Alpine

Mitre Peak, between Fort Davis and Alpine sits along the Southern Tier Route mapped out by the Adventure Cycling Association. The route takes cyclists across the U.S.A., from San Diego to St. Augustine, and cuts right across the Texas Mountain Trail region.

For more information about cycling in the region, visit: www.texasmountaintrail.com/bike

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Agricultural Fields on the Southern Tier Route

Here's another peek at what cyclists see as they pedal on the Southern Tier route across the country. This is along the same stretch of the route as yesterday's post, near Esperanza, Texas with Mexican mountains in the background.

For more information about cycling in the region, including a list of cycle-friendly hotels, visit www.texasmountaintrail.com/bike

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Adventure Cycling's Southern Tier Route Across the U.S.A.

Adventure Cycling Association has mapped a route across the country--the Southern Tier Route--which runs from San Diego, CA to St. Augustine, FL and cyclists taking that route ride right across the Texas Mountain Trail Region--Anthony, El Paso and the Mission Trail communities, Sierra Blanca, Van Horn, Fort Davis, Alpine and Marathon.

This is a photo of the stretch between the Mission Trail communities and Sierra Blanca. The mountains in the distance are in Mexico.

For more information about cycling through the region, including a list of cycle-friendly hotels, click here to visit: www.texasmountaintrail.com/bike

Starting now, through the weekend, we'll be posting views of the Southern Tier route through the Texas Mountain Trail region. We'll also be in Wichita Falls at the Hotter N Hell 100, marketing the region to cyclists...if you're going to the event, visit us at our booth and say hello!

Monday, August 24, 2009

1940s Cake Love

Click on the photo for a closer view!
Another photograph from Van Horn's Clark Hotel Museum's collection, which is housed for online viewing at the University of North Texas Libraries' Portal to Texas History. The photograph's full record is here-- http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth14049/

See yesterday's entry for more about this project!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Old Settler's Reunion, Van Horn, 1919

(Click on this image for a closer view. ) This image, like so many others depicting Van Horn's history, is available for viewing at the University of North Texas' Portal to Texas History. Here's a link to the image's record-- http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth13885/

The Clark Hotel Museum received a grant from the Summerlee Foundation to have a large number of their photographs digitized and included in the online collection. You can browse through all the photos from the Museum here: http://texashistory.unt.edu/explore/partners/CHM/browse/

This photograph was taken at the site of the old courthouse looking towards Six Mile Mountain.

Enjoy browsing through old photographs and records? Visit the Portal to Texas History's website, here --http://texashistory.unt.edu/

Saturday, August 22, 2009

No Hike for Old Men, Hiking the Spine of the Franklin Mountains with TPWD Magazine



Check out the current issue of TPWD for a tale of a RUGGED hike up the spine of the Franklin Mountains on the outskirts of bustling El Paso. Surprisingly difficult and wild, the hike overlooks the city...the article (by Joe Nick Patoski with photographs by Laurence Parent) delights. Read the article here: http://www.tpwmagazine.com/archive/2009/aug/ed_1/



Learn more about the Franklin Mountains State Park, here and here!



Click here to reach our regional hiking page!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Two-Tailed Swallowtail Butterfly

A Two-Tailed Swallowtail butterfly on a Tithonia sunflower, also called Mexican sunflower, in Fort Davis. The Davis Mountains attract dozens of butterfly species each year. The magnificent Two-Tailed Swallowtail is abundant this summer.

Photo by Pete Szilagyi.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Casa Grande at Daylight

The center of Big Bend National Park is the Chisos Basin, with spectacular views all around. Second only to to The Window, is perhaps Casa Grande which rises up behind the Lodge and guest rooms. Staying in the Basin is a treat, because it allows early access to some of the best hiking trails anywhere, and a sunrise view of the mountains and the desert below.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pinnacles Trail view of the Window

Big Bend National Park's Basin is the starting point for many mountain hikes in the Chisos. This is a view from the Pinnacles Trail of The Window and the desert beyond. The Pinnacles trail is the way to Emory Peak, the highest in the Chisos, a beautiful trail with many spectacular views. You can read about it here, along with other day hikes that begin in or near the Basin.

For regional hiking information, visit our hiking page: www.texasmountaintrail.com/hike

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Big House at Big Bend Ranch State Park




Remote and wild Big Bend Ranch State Park has a surprisingly lovely and gracious house available for visitor stays...the Big House at Sauceda Ranch. Built in 1908 and renovated in the 1940s, the ranch offers three rooms and three baths to accommodate eight guests. A great hideaway for complete relaxation, the house has vaulted ceilings, a huge sunroom, fireplaces and impressive furniture. To learn more, visit Texas Parks and Wildlife page for lodging at Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cactus Greenhouse

The Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center and Botanical Gardens in Fort Davis offers something for everyone. For the avid hiker, there are trails into canyons and through grasslands offering spectacular views. For those who prefer to stroll, there's the 20 acre botanical garden. For those who like to take things at an even slower pace, there's the 1,400 sq. ft. greenhouse containing cacti and succulents from the Chihuahuan Desert region.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Early Morning at Indian Lodge

Fort Davis' Indian Lodge is nestled in Davis Mountains State Park. One of our favorite places to stay, the Indian Lodge was built in the 1930s by the CCC in the Southwestern Native-American-style, to resemble a multi-level pueblo village. Operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Indian Lodge is one of several popular regional historic hotels.

To see a list of historic hotels in the Texas Mountain Trail region, click here.



Friday, August 14, 2009

Desert Scenery near Van Horn

To see through the hazy light of the evening, click on the photo for a better view!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Big Bend Ranch Paintings in London: Uriel Uranga


Uriel Uranga's (above) "Octotillo Sunset" was made into a poster for Presidio High School's exhibition at the Saatchi Art Gallery in London, England this summer. The school was chosen from others around the world in a competition overseen by the Saatchi Art Gallery. The 11 student works were inspired by the beauty of the Big Bend region, especially Big Bend Ranch State Park and Fort Leaton State Historic Site.

Laurie Holman is the art teacher at Presidio High School. “I am an artist as well as an art teacher. I have lived in the Big Bend for 15 years and my love of the rugged beauty is often reflected in my artwork. So often in my class, the students want to paint beach scenes, cityscapes and snow covered mountains…places that most of them had never seen or been before. 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." The student work can be seen here.

Uranga, a Presidio High School senior, said, "Being that I am moving away soon to go to college, I will no longer have a surrounding like the Big Bend. I wanted to preserve the memory of my roots."
For more information on Big Bend Ranch State Park, visit here and here.
For more information on Fort Leaton State Historic Site, visit here and here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Road to Dog Canyon

One of our favorite places in the region is one of the most remote--Dog Canyon in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. To get there, you need to backpack through the park south to north, or drive north into New Mexico, and then head south through the Lincoln National Forest on Hwy 137.

Not only a favorite of hikers and backpackers, the Dog Canyon campground was recently given an honorable mention as one of the top campgrounds in the country. And if you want to bring your own horse for riding the trails, Dog Canyon also has stock corrals.

For other hiking opportunities in the region, visit our hiking page, www.texasmountaintrail.com/hike

For a listing of trail descriptions for Guadalupe Mountains National Park, including Dog Canyon, click here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Post Park

A springfed wetlands surrounded by the Chihuahuan Desert, this place has been a magnet for wildlife and water fowl, a watering hole for the Apache, and a military outpost. Today it is the location for fishing, picnics and community dances. Post Park is located five miles south of Marathon.

More about the park's history is available here, on Visit Big Bend's website.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Lajitas Cemetery

West of Big Bend National Park and the communities of Study Butte and Terlingua is Lajitas, along the Rio Grande.

A history of Lajitas is available here. Today a resort offers accommodations, golf, spa amenities and other activities.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Fort Davis from above

One of our favorite hikes starts at Fort Davis National Historic Site and ends at the Davis Mountains State Park, in all about 4.5 miles. There's a rocky climb at the beginning of the trail, and soon hikers find themselves looking down at the restored frontier fort (in the foreground) and the community of Fort Davis. The trail also leads hikers through grasslands and a craggy canyon.

A trail map for the Fort Davis National Historic Site can be downloaded here.

An interpretive guide to the state parks of the Davis Mountains is available here.

For other great hikes in the region, visit our Texas Mountain Trail hiking page is here.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Big Bend Ranch Paintings in London: Zenia Sanchez

Artwork created by Presidio High School art students will be on display at the Saatchi Art Gallery in London, England this summer, including this work by Zenia Sanchez, pictured above.

The school was chosen from others around the world in a competition that is overseen by the Saatchi Art Gallery. These 11 student works were inspired by the beauty of the Big Bend region, focusing in on the Big Bend Ranch State Park and Fort Leaton State Historic Site.

Laurie Holman is the art teacher at Presidio High School. “I am an artist as well as an art teacher. I have lived in the Big Bend for 15 years and my love of the rugged beauty is often reflected in my artwork. So often in my class, the students want to paint beach scenes, cityscapes and snow covered mountains…places that most of them had never seen or been before. 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 Fort Leaton State Historic Site, click here and here.

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

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

One of the prettiest runs anywhere--Marathon2Marathon

Now's the time to get your registration in for the Marathon2Marathon, the October 17, 2009 race from Alpine to Marathon, Texas. You can register and get more information about the race here. We're showing you the finish line in the quaint mountain community of Marathon, but the course is across the wide-sweeping landscape of the high desert--with jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery.

Yes, it IS one of the prettiest marathon's you'd ever hope to run...and there's a half and a 10K too. And fully sanctioned, it is a Boston Marathon qualifier. Add it to your fall racing calendar!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Border Healing Woman

Hidden under a lantana plant in the Van Horn cemetery is the grave of Jewell Babb, a healer who lived in Valentine, Van Horn, and near Sierra Blanca. A book, Border Healing Woman, tells the story of her life and her work. Her healing powers are well-remembered by people still living in the area.

Read more about it on our women's memoirs page, here.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Jeff Davis County Courthouse

Texas has some beautifully restored courthouse and the Jeff Davis County Courthouse is one of the most beautiful. It is located in the center of Fort Davis on the main thoroughfare, not far from the shadow of Sleeping Lion Mountain.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

El Capitan above the Salt Flat

We send our thanks to Val Provencio of El Paso for this lovely shot of the Guadalupe Mountain National Park's El Capitan.

In the foreground, is the white salt left as a remnant of an ancient shallow lake. The National Park has a great page on their website, all about the Salt Flat and the Salt War of 1877. Click here to go to that page.

The national park is a great place to visit on vacation, especially if you like to hike and enjoy a private wilderness experience. For more information on hiking in the region, visit our hiking page, www.texasmountaintrail.com/hike