This was a LONG day.
We took the Ross Maxwell Scenic road down to Castolon and Santa Elena Canyon. There are a whole bunch of fun little hikes along the way - not to mention the scenic views from the drive.
First we stopped at the historic Sam Nail Ranch. Sam Nail and his wife installed wind mills and planted groves of Fig and Pecan trees that are not indigenous to the area. It created an oasis in the desert. They kept going all these years later!
A small barn - probably used for their milk cow.
The ruins of their adobe house
I couldn't get a great shot of this - but its some old barbed wire fence. We went off the trail and followed parts of the old fence line.
Back in the car!
Then we stopped at Sotol Vista.
It was easier for me to change lenses and get a better shot of this mountain.
Ethan had a snack!
I knew when I saw this that I had to have it in B&W.
Back in the car!
I asked B to pull over so I could take a few shots in one area. Little did he know that I jogged a few yards down the road for another shot. Then a few more yards for another shot. Then a few more and a few more. He had to turn around to come pick me up before it was all said and done.
I love the interesting colors on these rocks.
Here we are at Mule Ears Overlook.
Back in the car!
Next stop: Tuff Canyon
One of the things I loved about this place was that it further confirmed that my boys really don't need toys to entertain themselves. All they need is some dirt and rocks and they are happy campers!
Brandon pointed it that it would be a shorter distance (not easier) to climb up the canyon instead of exiting on the trail we came in on. So we did. Gabriel sped up the canyon wall like a little mountain goat. Ethan did surprisingly well. He hasn't as much stamina as his brother for hiking but he can hold his own for climbing!
Our trusty steed awaits.
Nest stop: Castolon! This is a historic little place. We got out, grabbed a drink and a few more shots.
Back on the road again...
Finally! Santa Elena Canyon! Right on the border of Mexico. If I was any good at spitting, I could have spit all the way to Mexico.
This rock reminded me of a statue by Rodin.
Ethan gave up. Until we told him we were leaving him as mountain lion food. Then he carried on - lest he become carrion. I had a lot of fun with this pun but it really just confused my kids.
Standing in the Santa Elena Canyon, this quote by Martin Luther kept swirling around in my brain, "God writes the gospel not in the bible alone, but on the trees and flowers and clouds and stars." Being in the canyon I felt a thrill of insignificance. Not insignificant life but insignificant ego - my pride and insecurities, along with any feelings of entitlement to anything left me. I truly felt charmed and the spiritual worlds of fantasy were directly available for exploration. It's no wonder how primitive civilizations came to their creative myths with all of this natural inspiration at their disposal. It was such a sensation of peace and freedom and I wanted to take a picture of myself relishing in that feeling.
Hiking out of the canyon. Brandon wrote Gabe's name in the sand.
Ethan tried giving up again. In his defense - it was a long day with several hikes.
The kids coming off the trail.
Ethan walking back to the parking lot.
Meanwhile, back in the Chisos Basin...