Big Bend-2005
Jul 5, 2010Public
Photo: Our first afternoon, Robert Edmonson and I attempted to find Lower Juniper Spring by going cross-country from the Juniper Canyon trailhead. This location holds our national champion Drooping Juniper and hasn't been revisited since 1982!
Photo: We knew which way to head -- straight for the Southeast Rim, visible as a sharp point marking the high rim of the Chisos Mountains.
Photo: Lower Juniper Spring sits at about 4,500' elevation, between the low, rounded hills under the promontory of the Southeast Rim.
Photo: But the terrain was too rough and prickly for an afternoon hike, with large fields of lechugilla, mesquite, and wait-a-minute bush...
Photo: ...so we decided that discretion outweighed valor and had to leave it for another trip. Look for the follow-up trip in March 2006.
Photo: Robert, Pete and I begin the next day from the Barker House, across from the Mexican village of Boquillas, on the Rio Grande.
Photo: Robert gets his first glimpse of Casa Grande and the Chisos Mountains as we drive up to Panther Pass and down into The Basin.
Photo: Our search for three champion trees begins at the Basin Lodge and Visitor's Center.
Photo: The Pinnacles Trail leads past Casa Grande, one of the most prominent features in Big Bend.
Photo: Looking northwest through "The Window," with Carter Peak visible at left-center.
Photo: "Wait up, Pete!"
Photo: A good view of Vernon Bailey Mountain.
Photo: As the trail ascends the northeast slope of Emory Peak, we scanned the talus slope for the white bark of a Texas Madrone last measured in 1982.
Photo: Just uphill from the madrone, we spotted our national champ Mexican Pinyon Pine!
Photo: This twin-trunked monster had lost its smaller half, but remained bigger than the others in our file...
Photo: ....until we looked down the slope among the other large pines and discovered this tree, a new co-champ for the species!
Photo: ....In between the two pines, we remeasured this huge Texas Madrone, which Jim Liles had last measured in 1982.
Photo: A tricky one: Robert points to the spot on the trunk where we measured circumference.
Photo: Jim Liles was the Chief Ranger here in the early '80's and nominated lots of champion trees. His old photos helped us find many of them.
Photo: Robert takes a lunch break.
Photo: Pete takes a lunch break, too, before we all continued up the trail to measure the national champion Chisos Hophornbeam.
Photo: The Basin lodge below.
Photo: These are the first of many volcanic "hoo-doos" that give the Pinnacles Trail its name.
Photo: Fall color of Graves Oak on the slopes below Emory Peak.