The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

Big Bend National Park - Day 2

Our second day in Big Bend was sunnier but still cool and comfortable for hiking and traveling with dogs.

Our first stop was a overlook of the Homer Wilson Ranch. From this distance, it looked like it could still be in use. The short trail down was actually a couple of miles by the time you wound your way around.

This is your actual view. We could see a few people down there but knew that we would miss other things we wanted to see if we made this hike.

Cameron and Morgan hiked down a portion of the trail.

Another trail available for hiking. The mule ears were more clear little past the trail.

This is the Cottonwood Campground....again, no hookups but lots of trees and probably the largest sites of any of the campgrounds. It is located in the far southeastern corner of the park. It was the same distance from the center of the park as we were in Terlingua but it was a nice campground.

The Dorgan-Sublett farm was actually quite close to the road so we stopped to check it out.

Only the walls are left but they gave you a good idea of what the place was like and it was very interesting to see the construction of the walls.

Our next stop was Santa Elena Canyon.

Steve, Helen, and the grands made this hike. The dogs and I stayed in the shade next to the parking lot.

The Rio Grande river looks a little bigger here but still not impressive like you see in the old movies.

The canyon is pretty impressive.

Trails are rustic but very well used.

On our way back, we stopped at an overlook of the Rio Grande river and the Santa Elena Canyon.

Our next destination was Castolon.  There is a Visitor's Center here, store, and gift shop. We had a nice picnic on the tables out front.

The U.S. Army built a number of structures at Castolon as an Army outpost during the Mexican Revolution. When the Army withdrew in 1920, the Cartledge family used the buildings as an outpost and store and famed the area until 1961 and the buildings looked much like did during that period.

The kids worked on their Junior Ranger books the night before and finished up so they turned them in and were sworn in as Rangers. We had a nice chat with the lady that checked their books and conducted the ceremony. This was her third year at Big Bend in her RV and her next assignment was near Washington D.C. in a National Forest.

There was a lot to look at here and since it was not a trail, the dogs were able to walk around with us.

Desert flowering bush.

The Alvino House is located here also.

Mexico across the river.


Time was passing and we headed on to the Sam Nail Ranch. This is only a five minute hike into the ranch so Helen stayed with the dogs and I hiked with the kids. You can see the ruins of an adobe ranch house. The family planted pecan and fig trees which still exist.

This was some sort of storage cover or place for animals.

The trees are very close together and a little unsettling without any leaves on them.

The Nail family turned this desert area into a working farm with animal shelters, a garden, fruit trees, a well and windmill (which still works although you are warned to drink the water).

The house was fairly large for the area.

This was a last stop for the day and what a wonderful day it was. None of us will soon forget it and we would all like to make another trip with more time. We planned our time and got a real feel for the park.

Next trip I would also like to see Big Bend State Park, Lajitas, and the River Road going towards Presidio. Our next destination on the Spring Break trip is Davis Mountains State Park.

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