Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day 30 – Big Bend

No Travel Mileage Today

We did not get any snow last night but we did get a dusting of snow this morning.

The temperature forecast for tonight is in the mid 20s. Tomorrow is clear skies and warming to the 50s and then Sunday in the 70’s.

We took the Ross Maxwell scenic drive today.


The building in the picture looks like an active ranch but it was abandoned in 1945. The  foreman’s house is constructed of native materials: reed ceiling from the river, timbers from the mountains and large stones from Blue Creek Canyon.


Many of the mountains in the park received a light cover of snow during the night.




Some brush and trees along the way were covered with ice.



Carousel Mountain actually looks like a carousel. It consists of magma from ancient volcanoes. Over the millions of years the softer ash and soil eroded away.





Mule Ear Peaks is another example of volcanic action and erosion in this valley .

IMG_0011 Cerro Castellan is made up of a high stack of volcanic rocks and is an important landmark  IMG_0010along the Rio Grande. The layers in the Cerro Castellan reveal millions of years of volcanic events. Stack in this tower are several lava flows volcanic ash deposits, with layers of gravel and clay periods or erosion between eruptions.

Nearby is an area of white tuff beds and black, basaltic boulders.





IMG_0014 This store is the oldest building in the park and was used from 1900 to 1925.







Seventeen-mile long Santa Elena Canyon separates the high mesas of the massive LowerIMG_0017 Cretaceous limestone into the Mesa de Anguila on the United States side the Sierra Ponce on the Mexican side. Geologists believe that during the Miocene and Pliocene Epochs (about 50 million years ago), mountain building caused large uplifted faults blocks to form a series of intermundane basins. As the basins filled with water and debris, they overflowed into one another forming interconnecting valleys which eventually established the through-flow drainage of the Rio Grande. Down-cutting by the river cut the narrow gorge of the Santa Elena Canyon.

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