Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hummingbird at Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center

The pollinators are OUT all over the region!  Taken at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center and Botanical Gardens, this hummingbird takes a rest from his work.  How many other pollinators can you count in this photo?

To learn more about birding in our region, visit:

To get a closer look, double-click on the photo!
To see a slideshow of a hummingbird banding demonstration at the Center, click here!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A tour of Fort Davis' barracks

Matt Walter of Fort Davis National Historic Site gives a tour of the Enlisted Men's Barracks, which were used from 1869 to 1891 by Buffalo Soldiers.  To learn more about African American soliders' defense of the frontier, click here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hummingbird Banding at Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center

Ornithologist and hummingbird researcher, Kelly Bryan demonstrated hummingbird banding at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center in Fort Davis on Saturday.  He'll be doing it again at the center on Saturday, September 11 at 8am.

To view a slideshow of the process, click here.

To learn more about attending the September hummingbird banding demonstration, click here.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Honoring the Working Dogs

This fella was eager to help the workers at the Van Horn Junior Rodeo last summer.  All over the region, dogs are a part of ranch life.  We salute them today! 

Do you have a favorite ranch dog story you'd like to share?  Feel free to put one in our comments section or visit our Facebook page and share your story there!  On facebook, we're "Texas Mountain Trail Region."  Join the fun!

Friday, June 25, 2010

School Ruin at Kent

Travelers on I-10, if they are paying attention, can catch a glimpse of a neat school ruin at the Kent exit, which is the turnoff to get to McDonald Observatory and Fort Davis.  Once a center for this part of ranching country, the school reportedly had two classrooms and an auditorium.  Children living in the area are now bussed to Van Horn Some memories are posted here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Visiting Chinati in Marfa

The Chinati Foundation in Marfa exhibits some of the finest minimialist art in the country, including the work of Dan Flavin (shown here).  To read more about Chinati, including how to make reservations for a tour, click here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Water in El Paso? Yes, and birds, gardens, archaeology, too, at Keystone Heritage Park

Keystone Heritage Park in El Paso's Upper Valley is a huge surprise in the center of the city.  The 52 acre park has wetlands, a botanical garden, an archeological site and birding opportunities. 

Keystone wetlands is home to  many species of birds and is on the migratory route for even more.  According to their website, over 193 species of birds have been found there, including 22 considered rare by the Audubon Society.

The archeological site was first discovered in the 1970s during the construction of flood control dams, when a portion of an ancient pitch house was found.  Later, it was believed to be part of a village, and according to National Geographic magazine, possibly "one of the oldest and largest villages of its kind in the United States."  The site is open to visitors only with a guide.

The botanical gardens feature a xeric demonstration garden, a children's garden, amphitheater, moonlight garden and ethno-botanical garden.

To learn more, visit Keystone's website, here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Butterfield Overland Mail Stage route in Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Here's a couple of locations for all you stagecoach fans:  Guadalupe Mountains National Park was the site of the first meeting of the easternbound and westernbound stages on the inaugural Butterfield Overland Mail Stagecoach in 1868, and visitors can trace the route through the park!  For eleven months from September 1858 to August 1859, stagecoaches rumbled through this land, delivering passangers and the U.S. mail on the route from Missouri to California, a 2800 mile route.  Two sites in the park are marked with the trail--the Williams Ranch Road in the western part of the park, and the Pinery Station (where the stage stopped briefly for food and relief) near the Pine Springs Visitor Center.  To learn more about Guadalupe Mountains National Park, click here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cholla in bloom on the Scenic Loop

Cholla is in bloom all over the region.  Here's a shot from Fort Davis' Scenic Loop.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

DaVinci Exhibit in El Paso

The El Paso Museum of History is the current stop for The Da Vinci Experience, an exhibit like no other. The exhibit is available through the Museum of Leonardo Da Vinci in Florence, Italy. It consists of more than 60 machines described and designed by Leonardo Da Vinci as well as replicas of his paintings; most notably the Mona Lisa. The exhibit will take over the entire first floor of the Museum. It is displayed in four principle galleries focusing on the topics of transportation, military, mechanical devices, and an art gallery.

See it now, through July 10!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fire at Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Last week, lightning started a fire in the remote north end of Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  The fire affected small portions of the Dog Canyon area near the trailhead and the small portions of the upper McKittrick Canyon trail, though thankfully Pratt Cabin and the Grotto area were untouched.  Even those areas affected by fire are now open to visitors.  Park staff tells us the Dog Canyon trailhead area (seen here before and after) will green up quickly with the expected summer rains.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lovely skies from a Facebook Friend

Aren't these great shots of the sky near Fort Davis?  They were taken on Tuesday by our Facebook friend, Carolyn Miller.  Are you following us on Facebook?  If not, find us at "Texas Mountain Trail Region"  and on Twitter, we're "Trailgirl"  We're going to post these lovely photos on our Facebook page today, too, along with other photos submitted by our friends.

Let us know what you like to learn about, and always free free to submit ideas and photos or videos.  You can reach us through our website at  "Contact Us" page is here.

We like to find the undiscovered places in Far West Texas, and share them with you all!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Camp Rice/Fort Hancock

If' you're a fan of military history, you'll enjoy this seldom visited site.  This marker identifies a location near the community of Fort Hancock near the border with Mexico as the site of Camp Rice, a subpost to Fort Davis (now Fort Davis National Historic Site).  Set just off the road in agricultural land, the site feels remote and forgotten.

Texas Escapes says this about the site, "Fort Hancock had been established as Camp Rice in 1881. After the death of Union Major General Winfield Scott Hancock in 1886, the post changed its name to honor the General, who had wounded at Gettysburg and was later the commander of the 5th Military Department (which included Texas)."  To read more, click here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

West Texas Mining History

The Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center in Fort Davis has a great exhibit on mining history in Far West Texas, with plenty of artifacts from area mines. (The photos above are from their exhibits.)  Some of the artifacts come from Shafter, Texas which has its own museum (with plenty of mining history) at the cemetery.  Another place to visit is Big Bend National Park's Mariscal Mine.  You can read about it here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A "Must See" Exhibition in El Paso

The El Paso Museum of Art is one of a few museums worldwide, and the only venue west of the Mississippi that will feature "Bedazzled: 5000 Years of Jewelry" exhibition, which provides examples of stunning jewelry from 5,000 B.C.E. through the early 20th century. Assembled primarily by one of Walters Art Museum’s founders, Henry Walters, during the first three decades of the last century, this renowned collection contains superb examples of expert craftsmanship.

To read more about the exhibition, click here.  See it through July 25!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Exploring Van Horn's Red Rock Ranch

Red Rock Ranch, a private ranch north of Van Horn, offers escorted adventures with incredible views.  Check them out here!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

El Paso's Plaza of the Alligators

Luis JimĂ©nez’s sculpture, titled Plaza de los Lagartos, which means “Plaza of the Alligators.”
The large fiberglass statue and fountain is located near the area where live alligators once roamed in the plaza’s pond. The statue brings back fond memories for many who visit the Plaza. Some older El Pasoans relate stories of childhood visits to the real gator pond in the 1950s and 1960s.

To read more, click here.