Saturday, August 31, 2013

Labor Day Hiatus!

Hey friends, we're taking an unprecedented hiatus during the Labor Day holiday...get out and enjoy the Texas Mountains....we are!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Los Caminos Reales de América” International Symposium in El Paso

El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Trail Association (CARTA) will host the “Los Caminos Reales de América” International Symposium in El Paso, Texas, from Thursday, September 26, 2013, to Sunday, September 29, 2013. Prior to the conference, two public lectures associated with the event will be held at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology. On Friday and Saturday of the conference, the speakers' sessions will be held on the campus of the University of Texas at El Paso. Instant translations will be made during the sessions from Spanish to English and English to Spanish so attendees may enjoy the presentations more fully.

Link to more information on the program and conference on our Texas Mountain Trail events calendar, here.
Learn more about the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro here.

Hotel registrations with the Hilton Garden Inn University should be made by August 31 to receive the conference rate (915-351-2121). Conference registrations may be made on-line through the Office of University Relations at UTEP.

Click HERE to get to a registration page.

Other events are scheduled as well. For more information, please refer to the CARTA webpage: www.caminorealcarta.org.  “Los Caminos Reales de América” International Symposium

El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Trail Association (CARTA)
The University of Texas at El Paso
September 26-29, 2013



Pre-Conference Events
Saturday, September 7
El Paso Museum of Archaeology

10:00-11:00 AM, 2:00-3:30 PM

Vernon Lujan, a member of the CARTA Board of Directors and resident of Pojoaque, New Mexico, will be an in-studio guest with conference organizer R. B. Brown of El Paso, Texas, on the El Paso History Radio Show. The discussion will focus on Pueblo Indians and the Tiguas of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. Additional information can be found at KTSM 690-AM (www.ktsmradio.com), which features a link to listen to the broadcast via Internet, and at El Paso History (www.ephistory.com).

In the afternoon, Lujan will present his paper “Camino Real de Tierra Adentro: Six Centuries of Trade on a Route in Use from the 15th to the 21st Centuries” at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology (4301 Woodrow Bean Transmountain Road, El Paso, TX 79924, 915-755-4332, www.epas.com/museum).

Saturday, September 21
El Paso Museum of Archaeology

10:00-11:00 AM, 2:00-3:30 PM

Mary L. J. T. Ridinger, co-founder, owner, and vice-president of Jades Maya in Antigua, Guatemala, will be an in-studio guest on the El Paso History Radio Show, hosted by Melissa Sargent and Jackson Polk, on KTSM 690-AM. In the afternoon, Ridinger will speak at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology on the topic “Cocoa and Sacbés: Royal Roads Across the Maya Heartland.”

Conference Events
Thursday, September 26

3:00-5:00 PM

Tour of the El Paso Museum of History in downtown El Paso

5:30-7:00 PM

Social meet-and-greet at the Hilton Garden Inn University

7:00-9:00 PM

The conference opening reception will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn University and will feature remarks by Sim Middleton, CARTA President, and Troy Ainsworth, CARTA Executive Director; a ribbon cutting and welcome by the Honorable Jacobo Prado, Consul General of Mexico, and the Honorable Ian Brownlea, Consul General of the United States; and a keynote address by John Kessell, who will speak on “Miera y Pacheco: Dominguez and Escalante’s Unruly Cartographer.” Kessell, an authority on Spanish Colonial history and the American West, is Professor Emeritus of History from the University of New Mexico.

Friday, September 27
El Paso Natural Gas Conference Center
University of Texas at El Paso

8:00-11:00 AM Session I

“The Bumpy Ride from Antiquity to the 16th Century Conquest: An Overview of Premodern Roads, Frontiers, and Trade in Iberia,” Sherill L. Spaar, Santa Fe, New Mexico

“Past, Present, and Future of the Camino Real de (Alta) California,” Julianne Burton-Carvajal, Adjunct Exhibitions Curator, Museum of Monterey, Monterey, California

“Caminos, Rutas, Líneas y Poblados en el Septentrión,” Luis Arnal, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), México City, México

11:00-11:15 AM Break

11:15 AM-1:00 PM Session II

“La presencia indígena tlaxcalteca en el Camino Real de Tierra Adentro,” Juan Antonio Siller Camacho, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), México City, México

“Apache Colleras along los caminos reales, 1770-1810,” Mark Santiago, New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, Las Cruces, New Mexico

“On the Trail in the Jornada del Muerto: Searching for El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro,” Elizabeth A. Oster and David H. Reynolds, Cultural Resources Specialists for the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico

1:00-2:00 PM Lunch Break

2:00-3:45 PM Session III

“Exploring Nature along the Caminos Reales in Texas,” Jesús F. de la Teja, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas

“Traditional Life in Agua Fría Village: One Point along the Camino,” William H. Mee, Santa Fe, New Mexico

“Estrechando Nuestras Manos, Enlazando Nuestras Fronteras,” Clara Payán de Sandoval, Albuquerque, New Mexico

3:45-7:00 PM Break for Sightseeing and Dinner

7:00-8:30 PM Keynote Address, Hilton Garden Inn University

“Intercultural Conflicts and the Camino Real: Borderland Politics and Political Borders,” Joe E. Watkins, National Park Service, Washington, D.C. Subsequent to his work in academia at the University of Oklahoma, Watkins recently embarked on a second career with the National Park Service, currently serving as the Supervisory Anthropologist / Chief, Trial Relations and American Cultures.

Saturday, September 28
Hilton Garden Inn University
University of Texas at El Paso

8:00-11:00 AM Session IV

“The Camino Real in Rural Honduras: A Visual Exploration and a Need for Preservation,” Christopher Talbot, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas

“El Camino Real en Córdoba, Argentina: Itinerario Cultural-Turístico,” Edgardo J. Venturini, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina

“El Qhapaq Ñan: El Sistema Vial Andino en el Noroeste Argentino,” Leticia Raffaele and Diana Rolandi, Instituto Nacional de Antropología y Pensamiento Latinoamericano, Buenos Aires, Argentina

“Colonias Militares y caminos: Emilio Langberg en el siglo XIX,” Alejandro González Milea, Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, Ciudad Juárez, México

11:00-11:15 AM Break

11:15 AM-1:15 PM Session V

“Las Rutas y los productos de intercambio en la Cuenca Baja del Río Chicamocha y su área de influencia: Análisis de su evolución histórica para la valoración de su patrimonio cultural,” Juliana Dávila Gamboa, Universidad Javeriana de Bogotá, Bogotá, Columbia

“Consolidation of Roads: The ‘Camino Real’ to Veracruz and Landscape Archaeology,” Adrián Hernández Santisteban, Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia, México City, México

“El Camino Real de Chiapas a su paso por la Mixteca oaxaqueña como agente organizador del espacio en las congregaciones de pueblos, siglo XVI,” Marta Martín Gabaldón, Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social, México City, México

1:00-2:00 PM Lunch Break

2:00-5:00 PM Session VI

“Conservación de los Sitios Patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad Itinerario Cultural Camino Real Tierra Adentro en Durango,” Alberto Ramírez Ramírez, Centro INAH Durango, Durango, México

“El Patrimonio Gastronómico del Camino Real de Tierra Adentro: Mestizaje de culturas y sabores,” Rocío Marcela Acosta Chávez and Enrique García Blanco, Universidad del Centro de México y Dirección de Patrimonio Cultural de la Secretaría de Cultura de San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí, México

“Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, México: El carácter especial de un itinerario cultural,” Ariadna Deni Hernández Osorio, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

“International Perspectives on Cultural Routes in Context with El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro,” Michael Romero Taylor, National Park Service, Santa Fe, New Mexico

7:00-9:00 PM Banquet Dinner, Hilton Garden Inn University

“Juan de Oñate: Commemoration and Controversy,” Dianne R. Layden, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Since the late 1960s, Layden has taught at University of Guam, University of New Mexico, University of Houston at Clear Lake, University of Redlands, Santa Fe Community College, and Central New Mexico Community College. She was conferred a Ph.D. in American Studies in 1983 from University of New Mexico.

Sunday, September 29

8:00 AM-2:00 PM

An optional bus tour is available to visit Camino Real-related historic sites in El Paso and the immediate vicinity.

———————

The presentations during the conference will be translated simultaneously from Spanish to English or from English to Spanish so attendees will be able to understand the nature of each speaker’s comments.

This program is made possible in part by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional support is provided by the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Kind acknowledgements are extended in appreciation to the staffs of the El Paso Museum of Archaeology, the Hilton Garden Inn University, the Office of University Relations at the University of Texas at El Paso, the El Paso Museum of History, and the Consulates of México and the United States.

E



l Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Trail Association (CARTA) will host the “Los Caminos Reales de América” International Symposium in El Paso, Texas, from Thursday, September 26, 2013, to Sunday, September 29, 2013. Prior to the conference, two public lectures associated with the event will be held at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology. On Friday and Saturday of the conference, the speakers' sessions will be held on the campus of the University of Texas at El Paso. Instant translations will be made during the sessions from Spanish to English and English to Spanish so attendees may enjoy the presentations more fully. Hotel registrations with the Hilton Garden Inn University should be made by August 31 to receive the conference rate (915-351-2121). Conference registrations may be made on-line through the Office of University Relations at UTEP. Please copy this link into your browser: https://urevent.utep.edu/ei/getdemo.ei?id=113&s=_FBK0ZPNN1. Other events are scheduled as well. For more information, please refer to the CARTA webpage: www.caminorealcarta.org.“Los Caminos Reales de América” International Symposium
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Trail Association (CARTA)
The University of Texas at El Paso
September 26-29, 2013
- See more at: http://texasmountaintrail.com/events/el-paso-%E2%80%9Clos-caminos-reales-de-am%C3%A9rica%E2%80%9D-international-symposium#sthash.et6U0F4j.dpuf


El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Trail Association (CARTA) will host the “Los Caminos Reales de América” International Symposium in El Paso, Texas, from Thursday, September 26, 2013, to Sunday, September 29, 2013. Prior to the conference, two public lectures associated with the event will be held at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology. On Friday and Saturday of the conference, the speakers' sessions will be held on the campus of the University of Texas at El Paso. Instant translations will be made during the sessions from Spanish to English and English to Spanish so attendees may enjoy the presentations more fully. Hotel registrations with the Hilton Garden Inn University should be made by August 31 to receive the conference rate (915-351-2121). Conference registrations may be made on-line through the Office of University Relations at UTEP. Please copy this link into your browser: https://urevent.utep.edu/ei/getdemo.ei?id=113&s=_FBK0ZPNN1. Other events are scheduled as well. For more information, please refer to the CARTA webpage: www.caminorealcarta.org.“Los Caminos Reales de América” International Symposium
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Trail Association (CARTA)
The University of Texas at El Paso
September 26-29, 2013
- See more at: http://texasmountaintrail.com/events/el-paso-%E2%80%9Clos-caminos-reales-de-am%C3%A9rica%E2%80%9D-international-symposium#sthash.et6U0F4j.dpuf
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Trail Association (CARTA) will host the “Los Caminos Reales de América” International Symposium in El Paso, Texas, from Thursday, September 26, 2013, to Sunday, September 29, 2013. Prior to the conference, two public lectures associated with the event will be held at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology. On Friday and Saturday of the conference, the speakers' sessions will be held on the campus of the University of Texas at El Paso. Instant translations will be made during the sessions from Spanish to English and English to Spanish so attendees may enjoy the presentations more fully. Hotel registrations with the Hilton Garden Inn University should be made by August 31 to receive the conference rate (915-351-2121). Conference registrations may be made on-line through the Office of University Relations at UTEP. Please copy this link into your browser: https://urevent.utep.edu/ei/getdemo.ei?id=113&s=_FBK0ZPNN1. Other events are scheduled as well. For more information, please refer to the CARTA webpage: www.caminorealcarta.org.“Los Caminos Reales de América” International Symposium
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Trail Association (CARTA)
The University of Texas at El Paso
September 26-29, 2013
- See more at: http://texasmountaintrail.com/events/el-paso-%E2%80%9Clos-caminos-reales-de-am%C3%A9rica%E2%80%9D-international-symposium#sthash.et6U0F4j.dpuf

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Casa Grande in Chisos Basin of Big Bend National Park

Casa Grande by Raymond Merrill
Here's another great image of our region from our Facebook and Twitter friend, Raymond Merill.  Today, a dramatic photo of one of our favorite places, the Chisos Basin of Big Bend National Park, and one of its signature views...of Casa Grande!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Big Bend Ranch Rodeo by Raymond Merrill

Big Bend Ranch Rodeo by Raymond Merrill
One of our Facebook and Twitter friends, Raymond Merrill, made us very happy when he shared a group of photos with us of his trips to the region.  Though he lives in Virginia, his family has roots in the Texas Mountains. His great-grandfather, Jessie Merrill, donated land to make way for the development of Indian Lodge and Davis Mountains State Park.  Look for more of his photos in the coming days!

We love his shot of the Big Bend Ranch Rodeo, which takes place in early August every year in Alpine.  VisitAlpineTX  lists the rodeo this way on their website:

"Sanctioned by the Working Ranch Cowboy Association, the Big Bend Ranch Rodeo provides an opportunity for working cowboys to show real cowboy skills and at the same time celebrate our ranching heritage and create exposure for a unique American lifestyle."

To learn more about the Ranch rodeo, check out this article by Big Bend Now.com

Monday, August 26, 2013

Guale Mesa Campsite #2, Big Bend Ranch State Park

Vista near Guale Mesa, Big Bend Ranch State Park
A remote (but TERRIFIC) area of Big Bend Ranch State Park to explore and camp is Guale Mesa.  (But believe them when they say access is only 4 Wheel Drive High Clearance, as it is a slow, slow, slow and rugged trip to the site!)  If you want a wilderness experience all to yourself, far away from everything...this is IT!

The Park's website description of the campsites in the area:

"Located on Guale Mesa and near the edge of a canyon, Guale #2 has dramatic vistas in every direction. This is the most remote and by far, the most spectacular campsite in the entire park. It has it all, millions of years of volcanic geology to study, views into Mexico, solitude that is deafening and sunrises and sunsets that will change the way campers think about color forever. The sheltered fire ring overlooks the canyon and is perfect for small group meetings. The tent pads are perched on the overlook and on a ledge overlooking the canyon.
The Rancherias West Trail that connects to Colorado Canyon on the Rio Grande is nearby. This is very rugged country; hikers should take plenty of water, not travel alone and tell someone where they have gone.
GPS Coordinates:  UTM 593367.8173 E 3251779.2906 N
Access - The site is over two hours' drive from the Sauceda Road turnoff. 4Wheel Drive High Clearance."



Sunday, August 25, 2013

Our Annie Londonderry / El Paso History Teaching Kids about Cycling!

San Antonio and Magoffin, El Paso
When El Paso looked like this, a very special cyclist passed through the city on a grand adventure.  Annie Londonderry was the first woman to cycle around the world, and in 1895 she had the red carpet rolled out for her by El Pasoans.  They loved watching her cycle (it was the height of the Victorian bicycle craze) and hearing about her worldwide exploits.

We've showcased the history surrounding her visit to our region's largest city in this blog, and were most honored when Bike Texas used our research to build their new kids online game, Annie Londonderry's Big Adventure. This is an online educational module that uses technology in a fun way to teach 4th-6th graders bike safety education, digital literacy, and social studies including Texas history and contemporary issues. Click here to get to the game's home page. 

Our original blog posts used by the game are here and here!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

El Paso's Union Station

Just west of downtown El Paso
within walking distance of hotels
and restaurants, Union Station
El Paso is still served by Amtrak, on the Texas Eagle and  Sunset Limited line and passengers heading our way can stop there, or in AlpineEl Paso's Union Station, located just west of downtown is convenient for all travelers.

The Wikipedia article for the station says this:  "The El Paso Union Depot, also known as El Paso Union Passenger Depot, was designed by architect Daniel Burnham, who also designed Washington D.C. Union Station. It was built between 1905 and 1906 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971."

It is still a lovely place to catch a train! 



Friday, August 23, 2013

Missing What is Now Gone, the Culberson County Courthouse

Culberson County Courthouse, Postcard, n.d.; digital image,
(http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth14007/),
University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,
http://texashistory.unt.edu;
crediting Clark Hotel Museum, Van Horn, Texas.
Sometimes, perhaps often, a community regrets taking down a building for "progress."  Over and over in Van Horn, we hear such regret from the people of Van Horn about their Culberson County Courthouse.  It wasn't the first courthouse for the county; some feel the Clark Hotel Museum building was the original courthouse.  But it was the courthouse that stood from 1912 to the 1960s, when it was torn down to make way for the current building.

As is the case with many Texas courthouses, it was a center of activity for the community.  (Click on any of the images for a closer view.)
Centennial Pioneers Dance at Culberson County Courthouse, 1936,
Photograph, 1936; digital image, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth14149/),
University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,
http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Clark Hotel Museum, Van Horn, Texas
Click on the photo for a closer view!
Order of the Rainbow for Girls, Photograph, n.d.;
digital image, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth14281/ ),
University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,
http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Clark Hotel Museum, Van Horn, Texas.
. L to R, Rosetta O'Nan, Rose Chapel, Mrs. Grace Breed (Mother Adviser),
Linda Mitchell (Worthy Adviser), Minnie Henderson, Barbara Binkley
Frances Hurt Walker at Culberson County
Courthouse
, Photograph, n.d.; digital image,
(http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth14104/),
University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,
http://texashistory.unt.edu;
crediting Clark Hotel Museum, Van Horn, Texas.
Demolition of Courthouse, Photograph, 1967;
digital image, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth14017/ ),
University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,
http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Clark Hotel Museum,
Van Horn, Texas.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Guadalupe Mountains National Park - Dog Canyon, Bush Mountain and Marcus Trails by Drew Stuart


Bush Mountain Trail beyond Manzanita Ridge
by Drew Stuart

Here's another blog entry from one of our Texas Mountain Trail board members, Drew Stuart, of Salt Flat.  Drew is also the Editor of the Hudspeth County Herald and Dell Valley Review

From Drew:

Adventures in the Guadalupes – Dog Canyon, the Bush Mountain and Marcus trails

This is the eighth installment in a series on hikes in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Other stories in the series can be found on the website, by searching "Adventures in the Guadalupes."

A few weeks ago, at a campground in Big Bend NationalPark, I found myself listening to a Dutch artist telling me about a trip he had taken across the West, a trip that had included visits to various national parks and wilderness areas. He was struck, he said, by the fact that pieces of land had been set aside, not primarily, as he saw it, for the land itself or its non-human inhabitants, but for people. At the time I didn’t have the language ready at hand, but I did recall that providing for human recreation was only half of the two-fold mission of the National Park Service. (The mission, specified in the legislation that created it, is to “conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wild life therein” and to “provide for the enjoyment of the same” by the people. He was talking pretty fast anyways.) I did remember the phrase “outstanding opportunities for solitude”; he said he was stunned that such a notion could play a part in national legislation or public policy, as it did in the Wilderness Act of 1964. (While we were talking, I thought he found this fact merely fascinating, but looking back I suspect he thought it was perverse, part of an American mania for individualism.)

Horned Lizard by Drew Stuart
Yes, at some point, a persuasive, or at least influential, segment of the population, as well as Congress and the president of the United States, agreed that the opportunity to be deeply lonesome, isolated in an environment that “retain(s) its primeval character and influence,” was a precious thing, an opportunity that needed to be preserved for Americans in perpetuity.

Solitude in land where “man and his own works” are dwarfed by “the earth and its community of life.” However fraught and contradictory the Wilderness Act and its application, the intuition that access to that kind of solitude is valuable, even needful, is certainly not confined to ardent backpackers or environmental activists. Though the intuition may be, as my Dutch conversationalist in Big Bend suggested, a conspicuously American one.

***

Guadalupe Mountains National Park couldn’t ever be described as heavily trafficked – annually, Big Bend National Park sees 10 times as many visitors, and Yosemite and Yellowstone each handle 100 times as many people as the Guadalupes every year. Even in busier periods at the park, you can find yourself isolated pretty quickly. (Though, of course, you can also gaze down from parts of this “wild country” on to the traffic on Hwy. 62/180.) But Dog Canyon, where I traveled Saturday (June 8) to continue my project of hiking the trails in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, is even more out-of-the-way, less visited than the other parts of this seldom-visited park. Designated as wilderness like much of the park, in terms of solitude, Dog Canyon fits the description.

It may be “wilderness,” but signs of “man and his works” endure here – signs of millenia of pre-European Native activity, most in evidence around the canyon’s seep springs, and signs of ranching. And it’s no wonder. As I follow the Bush Mountain Trail out of Dog Canyon, beginning what will be a 16- or 17-mile loop, the trail follows a golden stream bed and then leads up into open mountains, an ocean of yellow grass, the yellow broken here and there by the dark green of an isolated pinon or juniper. Ponderosas below me in the draw. Scrub oak adds green to the slopes, and the country stretched out below and before the trail looks like a park or lawn. At couple is hiking the Tejas Trail from Dog Canyon to Lost Peak, but I have this vast section of the park to myself.

Bountiful Valley at Sunset
by Drew Stuart
Cresting Manzanita Ridge, 1,000 feet above the trailhead, I look down at the valley of West Dog Canyon and see a bounteous and graceful place. Perhaps once, not that long ago, water flowed perennially, or at least regularly, in the draws here. Between the sea of burned desert and the ridges and stony slopes of the Guadalupes at their height, this canyon offers itself as the image of abundance – promising fat livestock, a small paradise, where a person, a family could grow fat and happy.

I’ve never traveled to the Mediterranean, but I understand there’s limestone there; looking at the stately outcroppings of exposed rock that ornament the broad plain and the slopes, I half expect to see primordial herdsmen, a la ancient Greece or Italy.

Marcus Trail by Drew Stuart
I arrive at my destination for the night, the Marcus campground, more than an hour before sunset, about three hours after setting out. I make camp, surprisingly drained from the 3.75-mile hike. Night is gathering, and as I lay in my tent there’s a lot of communication going on outside – a bird working through a wild variety of sounds, the ambient hum and drone of cicadas and, to the west, predictably, the howl and answering yaps of coyotes, though more robust, less wary, than I hear them at home.

***




It would have been nicer to have stayed here for the weekend, at the Marcus campground, in the bountiful valley, in the shade. But I’m not that smart, and before 7 a.m. I drive myself out of this bucolic site.
Out, and on to the long, hard climb from the Marcus campground, at about 6,300 feet, to the intersection of the Bush Mountain and Blue Ridge trails, at about 8,200 feet.

Several hours later, sopping, I crest the trail, reach the threshold of the small, circumscribed forest-mountain world. Certainly there is a light here, a certain light. I allow myself to sit quietly and appreciate this wooded place for a time, before I push on eastward, on the Blue Ridge Trail. (Surprisingly, I find the trail not the same as I remember, from my mid-March walk – there are vistas that I recall, but  it’s as if I’m seeing other parts of the trail for the first time. A reminder that hiking all the trails in the park only will only take me so far.)

McKittrick in mists by Drew Stuart
Looking out at the Bowl. Clouds are reaching in fingers over the eastern front of the Guadalupes, mists swirl in McKittrick Canyon, and puffs of cloud slip over the top of Bear Canyon, dance and evaporate there. Then I’m descending again, and reach the Blue Ridge Trail’s junction with the Marcus Trail, which will take me back to West Dog Canyon. Not far from the junction I pause to each lunch.

The Marcus Trail seems to go down forever. I can’t believe I’ve walked up this far. (Though I suspect that I will feel the ground I’ve covered when I make the final 1,000-foot ascent over Manzanita Ridge back to the trailhead.) From the woods, soon I’m walking again on high golden ridges. Though the alpine model – Swiss chalets, postcards from Colorado – may set a popular standard of natural beauty, I prefer, today, these open, grassy slopes, with a single pine or the deep red of an agave’s blooms – the “desert candle” – interrupting the expanse of yellow, fresh and bright.

I’m back at my campsite a little after 1. Everything is where I left it, and I pack up for the final 4 miles to the trailhead.

Back up the ridge, in the heat of the afternoon, is indeed a bit brutal. There are two or three trees along the trail, and I have to lay down beneath one of them and take a short nap. When I’m almost at the point of exasperation, I reach the top of the ridge, thankful my upward labors are over. I’m back at the trailhead and parking lot, visiting with Rusty the park ranger, 24 hours after I set out.
***
One could travel for 50 miles in any direction from Dog Canyon and encounter opportunities for solitude equally as outstanding as those within the park. I value them no less – indeed the signs of “man and his works” often make these places more impressive and appealing. The boundary can seem absurd, even comical – an official sign thrown up arbitrarily in a sea of solitude. Still, I am grateful to my elders that they saw fit to give this immoderate, perhaps fanatical obsession of mine – to be alone in rough, open places – a place in the canon of national life.

– Andrew Stuart

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Midsummer Night's Dream Garden Party to benefit the Jeff Davis County Library

Our friends at the Jeff Davis County Library want you to SAVE THE DATE!! 

Sunday, September, 8th, 2013, 4 – 6pm
6th Annual Midsummer Night’s Dream Garden Party
This year’s event, directed by Dona Roman, will feature works not only by William Shakespeare, but also by Oscar “Wilde Man” Wilde and J. B. “Mad Cap” Moliere.  This event is free and open to the public.
As usual, there will be light refreshments provided by the Blue Mountain Bistro, cash bar, plus a drawing for a Kindle Fire HD, donated by Nectar Computers.

Tickets for the drawing will be sold by the Friends of the JDC Library, starting now, and continuing during the event.  Tickets are $3 each, or 2 for $5, or 10 for $20.  If you are interested in helping the Friends’ board members by selling tickets, please contact the Friends.
Sponsors of this event will be given recognition during the program.  If you or your business would like to sponsor the Garden Party this year, please send your contribution to Friends JDC Library, PO Box 425, Fort Davis, TX 79734, or go to our website friendsjdcl.org to donate using paypal or major credit cards.
Your tax deductible donations are welcome and benefit the programs and projects of the Friends of the Jeff Davis County Library, a 501c3 non-profit organization.

Our listing for this event on our regional calendar is here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Terlingua Ghost Town Cemetery

Sometimes travelers just head to Big Bend National Park, and don't explore the region...that's a shame, because while they (without question) can get a GREAT experience in the park, there's just so much more to see and do.

Just west of Terlingua/Study Butte, along Hwy 170 (the River Road), follow the signs to Terlingua Ghost Town and the Starlight Theatre.  Soon you'll approach a small cemetery, the Terlingua Cemetery

The small cemetery located along the downhill slope of the Terlingua Ghost Town, a formerly abandoned quicksilver mining camp turned tourist destination and residential community for desert dwellers, may be one of the most photographed cemeteries in Texas.

No larger-than-life marble angels grace the gravesites here. Instead, modest filigree crosses, simple stonework, and small grottoes with hand-made embellishments highlight this historic burial spot, final resting place for miners who succumbed while digging for the highly toxic rare earth element known as mercury.

This tiny site, just over one acre, contains marked graves beginning in 1903, the year mercury mining production in this region began.

Click here to view an interpretive panel outlining the history of the Terlingua area mining operations, part of a great roadside history project by our partners at Visit Big Bend, and Brewster County Tourism Council.


The small cemetery located along the downhill slope of the Terlingua Ghost Town, a formerly abandoned quicksilver mining camp turned tourist destination and residential community for desert dwellers, may be one of the most photographed cemeteries in Texas. No larger-than-life marble angels grace the gravesites here. Instead, modest filigree crosses, simple stonework, and small grottoes with hand-made embellishments highlight this historic burial spot, final resting place for miners who succumbed while digging for the highly toxic rare earth element known as mercury. This tiny site, just over one acre, contains marked graves beginning in 1903, the year mercury mining production in this region began. - See more at: http://texasmountaintrail.com/plan-your-adventure/historic-sites-and-cities/sites/terlingua-cemetery#sthash.pPWYPknh.dpuf
The small cemetery located along the downhill slope of the Terlingua Ghost Town, a formerly abandoned quicksilver mining camp turned tourist destination and residential community for desert dwellers, may be one of the most photographed cemeteries in Texas. No larger-than-life marble angels grace the gravesites here. Instead, modest filigree crosses, simple stonework, and small grottoes with hand-made embellishments highlight this historic burial spot, final resting place for miners who succumbed while digging for the highly toxic rare earth element known as mercury. This tiny site, just over one acre, contains marked graves beginning in 1903, the year mercury mining production in this region began. - See more at: http://texasmountaintrail.com/plan-your-adventure/historic-sites-and-cities/sites/terlingua-cemetery#sthash.pPWYPknh.dpuf
The small cemetery located along the downhill slope of the Terlingua Ghost Town, a formerly abandoned quicksilver mining camp turned tourist destination and residential community for desert dwellers, may be one of the most photographed cemeteries in Texas. No larger-than-life marble angels grace the gravesites here. Instead, modest filigree crosses, simple stonework, and small grottoes with hand-made embellishments highlight this historic burial spot, final resting place for miners who succumbed while digging for the highly toxic rare earth element known as mercury. This tiny site, just over one acre, contains marked graves beginning in 1903, the year mercury mining production in this region began. - See more at: http://texasmountaintrail.com/plan-your-adventure/historic-sites-and-cities/sites/terlingua-cemetery#sthash.pPWYPknh.dpuf
Click here for more photos of the cemetery on the Life Before the Ruins website.

Click here for even more photos of the cemetery on the Big Bend Holiday Hotel website.











Important Announcement:  


FORT DAVIS, TEXAS – Beginning on September 3, 2013, Davis Mountains State Park will begin a temporary closure, which will last through March 1, 2014. Texas Parks & Wildlife staff will be performing major upgrades on the park’s utilities and systems during this time. Many of the park’s amenities, including the campgrounds, trails, and Interpretive Center, will be unavailable to visitors.

In addition to completing much needed utility projects, an extensive new trail system will be put into place in the Limpia Canyon Primitive Area. The current system, which consists of 6.5 miles of trail, will be improved and an additional 6 miles will be added to the existing route. The park’s new bird viewing area, which began construction in May of this year, will be completed, as well.

These improvements will add dimension to our park & provide additional opportunities for outdoor recreation for our park visitors. We are eager to unveil them when we reopen in the spring. 

Please note that the Indian Lodge and Black Bear Restaurant are unaffected by this closure and will remain open during standard business hours. The Indian Lodge office is open 24 hours a day and can be reached at (432) 426-3254. The Black Bear Restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday from 7:00AM to 8:00PM, extending hours until 9:00PM on Fridays and Saturdays. Advanced reservations for the Indian Lodge can be made by calling (512) 389-8900.

Davis Mountains State Park and the Indian Lodge are located four miles north of Fort Davis on Hwy118N.

Monday, August 19, 2013

"Dining Along Historic Highways" Icebox Cookies from Van Horn, 1934

We'll be serving these cookies (with pecans!) at the Hospitality Heroes Award presentation on August 27th!  Come join us!

Click on the images for a closer view!
Van Horn, the Crossroads community for our own Texas Mountain Trail, has its history determined by its location.  Through time, it has always been a place travelers passed through...whether by foot, horseback, wagon, train, bicycle or automobile.  It was also an important stop on the historic highways--the Bankhead Highway and the Old Spanish Trail!  (There will be a November 7th meeting in Van Horn about the Texas Historical Commission's Historic Highways project--specifically, the Bankhead Highway survey.  Click here for details!)

We found this recipe from 1934 in a Van Horn Hospital Auxiliary cookbook, and wanted to share it with you! 

Click here to view a lovely three page .pdf about Van Horn's legacy in welcoming travelers, plus, the entire recipe! 

Eggs, butter, brown sugar!
Mixing in dry ingredients!


Add pecans, form into loaf and rest in the icebox!
Slice, then bake!
 
Hot and ready to eat!