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Showing posts from October, 2013

Odessa Meteor Crater

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Location: Odessa, Texas
Date: October 24, 2013


The Odessa Meteor Crater is actually a series of five craters just off Interstate 20 west of Odessa, Texas that were formed 50,000 years ago when meteorites impacted earth. The main crater is about 550 feet in diameter, but it appears as only a small depression in the ground. I didn't think the crater was all that noticeable, especially considering that the area has been extensively excavated. There is a small free museum adjacent to the crater that includes samples of the meteorite that created this crater as well as meteorites from all around the world.









© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.




Monahans Sandhills State Park

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Location: Monahans, Texas
Date: October 24, 2013


Monahans Sandhills State Park is located east of Monahans, Texas just of Interstate 20 before you get to Odessa. The park's main feature are sand dunes that are up to 70 feet tall, but like most Texas state parks, it also has a visitor center, campground, and picnic areas. There is only a short 0.25-mile nature trail loop that is next to the visitor center. Other than that, visitors are free to explore the dunes, and the park even rents sleds to ride down the dunes.









© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.




Lost Mine Trail, Big Bend National Park

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Distance: 2.4 miles one way
Overall elevation gain: 1300 feet one way
Location: Big Bend National Park, Texas
Date: October 23, 2013


After going to Boquillas, Mexico, I hiked the Lost Mine Trail, which is perhaps one of the most popular trails in the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park. The trail is well-maintained, and it is unlikely that you'll be alone on the trail (if you hike during the day). The trail begins by climbing out of the Basin area on the north side of Casa Grande along the Chisos Basin Road.


The elevation gain along the first mile is moderate, but after this first mile, the trail reaches the divide between the Basin and Juniper Canyon. At this one mile marker you have a great view down Juniper Canyon and back into the Chisos Basin, which makes this trail one of the best hikes in the Chisos for those short on time or who can't hike that far.



From this point, the trail continues on uphill along a steeper trail (although not anywhere near as steep as some …

Boquillas del Carmen

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Location: Boquillas del Carmen, Mexico
Date: October 23, 2013


Boquillas del Carmen is a small village in the state of Coahuila, Mexico along the Rio Grande just across from the Rio Grande Village in Big Bend National Park. Boquillas was long a popular day trip for visitors to the park, but the informal crossing that allowed people to cross the Rio Grande closed in 2002.


In April 2013, a new unstaffed border patrol station opened in the United States to allow visitors to Big Bend to cross into Mexico legally. The crossing is not open all day every day, and during my visit it was open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Wednesday through Sunday, so check before visting. The park rangers at the crossing recommend I return by 5:00 to arrive before the gate locks and get through customs. Customs involves talking on a phone to someone in El Paso, and I couldn't really understand the questions this person asked, so I simply said I was in Mexico for a couple hours and brought back only a couple of so…

Rio Grande Village Nature Trail, Big Bend National Park

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Distance: 0.75 mile loop
Location: Big Bend National Park, Texas
Date: October  23, 2013


The Rio Grande Village Nature Trail is 0.75-mile loop trail in Big Bend National Park. The trail begins in the Rio Grande Village Campground and starts by crossing a floating walkway through a wetland along the Rio Grande. It then continues around a small hill until a spur trail turns to the south and goes towards the river across a gravel bed in a bend of the river.



This trail eventually dead ends, and you can't really see where the trail actually ends, so if you reach the river then you've gone as far as you can go. Turn around and return to the main trail and continue following it clockwise as it climbs the small hill. Once on the hill another very short spur continues to two signs at overlook points on the hill. From the top of this hill you can see across the Rio Grande to the Sierra del Carmen above Boquillas, Mexico (town not actually visible) and to the west to the Chisos Mountains…

Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail, Big Bend National Park

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Distance: 0.5-mile loop
Location: Big Bend National Park, Texas
Date: October 23, 2013


The Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail is a short half mile long trail on the eastern side of Big Bend National Park. The trail goes around one of the park's former ranch sites called the Dugout Ranch, so called because the buildings were dug out of the ground to provide better insulation from the desert heat.



No structures remain in the area, although you can see a depression where a building once was located. A grove of cottonwood and other trees (including a non-native fig palm) grow where the groundwater coming from the Chisos Mountains approaches the ground's surface and is pumped by a windmill. The trail has a number of small interpretive signs about the desert and life in it as well as views of the Chisos Mountains.




© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.




Dodson Trail, Big Bend National Park

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Distance: ~11 miles one way
Overall elevation gain: 2,000 feet (east to west) Location: Big Bend National Park, Texas Date: October 22, 2013

The Dodson Trail is the middle segment of the Outer Mountain Loop traversing the desert and foothills below the South Rim of the Chisos Mountains and stretching from the Juniper Canyon Trail to the Blue Creek Trail. I began my hike from my campsite a half mile down the eastern side of the trail (see my posts on Emory Peak and the Juniper Canyon Trail for how I arrived at this point).





The Dodson Trail is lightly used and was fairly overgrown in places after going nearly a year without maintenance (the park's trail crew works in the winter). This trail gains about 2,000 feet in overall elevation as it goes up the hills and into various drainages across its length, although net elevation gain is only 400 feet from its eastern end to its western end.





As I hiked across this trail there were often good views of the South Rim and surrounding smaller…