December 25, 2012
The Window Trail – Chisos Basin – Big Bend National Park
Yes, I know the title isn’t Newton’s but maybe if I was being suspended upside down high in the sky and saw a ball being throw from earth…maybe that would have been what had been written instead. Okay maybe not.
We woke bright and early this morning to the sun rising and casting a golden glow over the basin ridges. Such a nice way to wake up for Christmas Day. Andrew has surprised me with a beautiful red handbag. It is pretty cool this morning, around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It is meant to be a beautiful day with temps in the mid 60’s. During the night there was quite a bit of vehicle activity. Most of the sites are currently taken now, including this site next to us. Unlike the bear proof food storage receptacles located at all the sites, the covered picnic table is rare and we were lucky enough to snag a site with one. We especially appreciated that one side of the concrete table is void of seating which means we can use our own chairs pulled up to the table. Better to sit on than the cold concrete!
Light lunch consisting of sandwich, chips, and fruit packed and our camel pack filled with plenty of water, we set off down the trail that leads to The Window. The trip is 5.6 miles round trip but we also plan to add an extension to our hike by taking another trail to the top of the window area. The trail is rated moderate, mainly due to the hike being all downhill one way and then of course all uphill on the return. Standing next to this sign I know we should take the warnings seriously but the stick figures used in the warning sign had us in stitches! Luckily we didn’t come across a mountain lion but there was chatter later on that one was basting on a rocky embankment that day somewhere in the basin. Maybe they had already had their fill of the small children we saw running up and down the path by themselves.
Mornings are very busy for the trail so waiting for a couple of hours before heading down was probably a good idea. We pass several sets of hikers as we head down into the basin towards The Window. The sun is very intense at an altitude of 5,400 ft but most of the hike is in shade (or at least it was this time of year).
Along the way we came across some intriguing flora.
As we neared The Window we found several small pools of water created from run-offs. It is amazing how life always finds a way to thrive even in solid rock. During the spring months this area would be hard to pass at times with the rains draining through the basin.
Finally we reach The Window. It was truly worth the walk. There were two other couples taking in the views on our arrival but after they left we were able to take a few shots of the view. Andrew even ventures close to the drop 0ff, against my protests, and I did take a couple of shots. I was so nervous with him on the slick rock and the distance of the drop that I had a hard time getting the settings right. So for now we will skip those photos.
On the way back we passed a trail that forked off and headed up to higher grounds. We decide to take this and see what wonders it provided. The trail is very steep but awarded some break taking views.
As we stopped to eat our lunch we saw a party of 5 far off in the distance below us. They seemed to have found a trail and as we sat and ate we could see them making their way towards us. Either we sat there for awhile or they were extremely fit (or we are just extremely unfit…which is more like it) but they actually made it to us before we finished our lunch. They stopped and had a chat with us before continuing the direction we came from.
We decided not to continue further as it would only mean that we would have to walk up this mountain you see Andrew sitting on and the day was starting to get late. On the trip back down I saw this small little cactus standing at less than 4 inches tall. Very eye-catching with the maroon spikes against the background. The journey back was much more strenuous and took much longer. By the time we got back we definitely had worked up a sweat.
Back at camp we are utilizing the time we have to prepare tonight’s meal. On the menu for us is shrimp tacos with fresh peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Bon Appetite!
Dinner out of the way and cleaned up it is time to relax before bed. We have brought along the IPAD (a new addition to us) and I am trying to write down a few of the highlights of the day in our travel log. It is barely 6pm but already it is pitch dark. There is very limited lighting and as it is so cold most campers are already tucked snugly in their tents. We won’t be far behind them.