Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Skies bringing Rain

The summer rains are coming a little earlier this year.  Last night, Marfa was treated to a terrific show of clouds at sunset....enjoy!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Javelina

First time visitors to the region are often delighted with a sighting of perhaps our wildest-looking animal in the Texas Mountains.  We took this photo at the El Paso Zoo, but they live in most corners of the region..in the mountains, grasslands and ranches.  Learn more about the javelina, here.

The Zoo features animals of the Americas, of Africa, and of Asia.  It is a great place to visit, and the staff offers a terrific calendar of special events.

If you'd like to visit birding and wildlife viewing sites in the region, consult the Far West Texas Wildlife Trail, a cooperative effort between Texas Parks and Wildlife and our own Texas Mountain Trail organization.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Van Horn: 1912

Mr. and Mrs. Ponciano Villalobos, Photograph, April 8, 1912; digital image, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth14276/ ), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Clark Hotel Museum, Van Horn, Texas  Dedication at the back of photo reads," Dedico Este Retrato a, Mi Querida Mama, Pas Chacon En, Pruevas de amory y, Respecto. que le Tengo. Ponciano Villalovoz, Van Horn, Texas, April 8, de 1912" 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Clayton's Overlook Trail at Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center

video
One of our favorite trails at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center offers 360 degree views of the Davis Mountains, with full interpretive panels explaining the geology, history and natural history of the area.  Learn how the mountains were formed, how the area was settled, and where Wild Rose Pass REALLY is! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

History along Holland Avenue: Alpine's Granada Theatre

Photo: Granada Theatre website
Visitors to Alpine need to take a leisurely stroll to see a peek back to an earlier time in Far West Texas.  So much of the historic fabric of the town is still evident along Holland Avenue, adjacent to the Amtrak station and the heart of the business district.  Case in point:  the Granada Theatre, open for business as Texas-flavored events space.

The history of the Granada Theatre, from its website:

"Construction started on the Granada Theatre in 1928 by the Johnson Company of Fort Stockton, Texas and was completed in 1929. The theater was utilized over the years for screening movies as well as being a place for community events such as the West Texas Jitterbug Championships in 1941 and The Stars Over Texas war bond drive in 1943. In June of that year over 2,500 gathered outside the Granada to catch a glimpse of Hollywood stars; Gene Autry, Chill Wills and Gayle Storm. The bond tour raised over eighteen million dollars for the United States war efforts against the Axis powers. The bond tour was headed by Granada Theater Manager C.W. “Wally” Davis of Alpine."

Today, the Theatre holds many events--some on our Texas Mountain Trail regional events calendar--for residents and visitors, including the Chuckwagon Show and Viva Big Bend festival.  Food is catered by the Theatre's next door neighbor, the Saddle Club.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Back to Front: Clark Hotel Museum in Van Horn

Van Horn's history is held for residents and visitors in the old Clark Hotel, now the Clark Hotel Museum.  A story about the Clark Hotel from our Texas Mountain Trail website:

"How would you go about turning a building around so its storefront faces a different street? Just change the street name? How about simply building a new fa├žade, complete with a new front door. The Clark Hotel in Van Horn did just that. During a major thoroughfare construction through Van Horn in 1925 automobile routes known as the Bankhead Highway which ran from Washington D.C. to California and the Old Spanish Trail running from Florida to California, became the new U.S. Highway 80. This road paralleled the community’s Front Street which runs along the railroad tracks, becoming the primary commercial avenue. The Clark, as well as many of the other structures along the south side of Front Street, reversed their facades so that they would face the new highway. The transformation symbolized the passing of a horse-drawn era where most travelers arrived by passenger train to one of automobiles and highways, a paradigm shift that would permanently change much of rural Texas.

For the Clark, however, it was merely another alteration in a long history of changes, beginning with the structure’s initial construction in 1901. It was, in fact, built upon the razed remains of an earlier 1889 commercial building. The new construction served as commercial center for a variety of unrelated businesses until 1918 when a new owner converted the building into a hotel. The design typifies the two-story hotel of the era, with a lobby and public spaces on the first floor and rooms, some with private baths, on the second. Although simple and relatively unadorned, a detail standout is the mahogany bar in the former saloon, an 1876 import from France. The Clark stands as the oldest building in Van Horn and its “about-face” occurred a year before its final expansion phase in 1929. The building’s history includes service as retail space, commercial offices, opera house, community center, pool hall, saloon, drug store, newspaper printing office, dance hall, and court house throughout the 20th century. In an amusing combination of functions, the rowdy saloon activity on the first floor would often disrupt the sober court sessions in progress on the second. The hotel continued to provide respite to travelers until 1968. Today, the Clark Hotel serves as a regional historical museum for the Van Horn Historical Society and its own storied history."
Photo by Dan Baeza

Friday, June 20, 2014

Homer Wilson Ranch in Big Bend National Park

  We're sharing this post again, from our Texas Mountain Trail Daily Photo blog, January 2013.  Enjoy! Some of this information appears on our Texas Mountain Trail webpage for Big Bend National Park.

Homer Wilson Ranch house far off in the distance
from the scenic overlook from Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
in Big Bend National Park (click on the photo for
a closer view!)
Dwarfed by the majestic scenery, there's a historic ranch house standing in Big Bend National Park that is enormously effective in capturing our imagination.  What was life like on this wild land in the late 1920s when Homer Wilson established his ranching operation here?  Self-reliance, independence...it was a life requiring moxie and strong, strong character.

Even today, those characteristics are required of the backpackers who include a stop to the ranch house on the park's Outer Mountain Loop.  It is a three-day, 30 mile trip on a strenuous primitive trail and significant elevation changes.

From Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive pull-off, the ranch house looks like an oasis.  What was it like?

From the 1975 nomination form to place the ranch in the National Register of Historic Places:

Original Appearance: 

Although Homer Wilson maintained Oak Canyon as his headquarters, he "erected at this location (Blue Creek) a secondary and very substantial ranch house..."! "This house was 24 x 60 feet with 16 x 60-foot screened porch on the south side of the house. The house proper consisted of 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, and a large living room near the middle of the north wall. There is a large fireplace in which the mantle is made by very artistic placement of long slabs of stone placed horizontally. Some of these slabs are up to 8 feet in length and placed in a colorful arrangement.

The double roof is supported separately by large poles. The ceiling is made of reeds in the pattern that has been used for centuries by the inhabitants of the river. The story goes that Mrs. Wilson wanted the reed ceiling with the adobe mud on top, to-which Mr. Wilson agreed. However, since such a roof would leak, he used a 2-inch concrete mixture in place of the adobe mud and above that a sheet metal roof, thus making the house leak-proof. This arrangement not only accomplished its purpose but in addition made the house much cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, as it created an air space between the metal roof and the ceiling. It was a very satisfactory means of insulation.

The interior walls carry little if any support for the roof, as this was done by sturdy poles set in cement and holding up the weight of the ceiling and roof. Practically all materials for the construction of the house came from the area. The stone, sand, and gravel came from Blue Creek Canyon, the timber from the Chisos Mountains, and the reed from the nearby Rio Grande. Thus the Blue Creek line camp ranch house may be said to be indigenous to the area. The floor of the house was made of well-selected flags while that of the porch was 'concrete.

In addition, to the house in the Blue Creek complex,  a small 1-room house for living quarters for additional ranch help, a small storeroom, an outside barbeque fireplace, a cistern to catch and hold fresh rainwater, a circular corral with a snubbing post for the training of young horses, and a nearby dipping vat and chute. There was also a chemical outhouse, a small chicken house, and a combination rock and tin structure likely used for the storage of salt and other equipment and tools,

Access to the Blue Creek house was over a reasonably well-maintained dirt road which came up the valley from Oak Canyon along the flats between Burro Mesa and the Chisos Mountains and then over the ridge into Blue Creek Canyon.


Present Appearance: Of the structures described above, all but the chicken coop still remain* Except for the storeroom and toilet, which are in poor condition, all are "structually sound, but deteriorating in detail."


More about Homer Wilson from the same document:

Homer Wilson was born in Del Rio, Texas, in 1892, studied mining and petroleum engineering at Missouri School of Mines, served in Europe during World War I, and returned to the Rio Grande country after the war. 

In 1929 he purchased ranch land west of the Chisos Mountains, and ultimately expanded his holding to include 44 sections to operate this vast tract he established his home and headquarters at Oak Springs. 

Later he moved part of his operations to Blue Creek. Wilson developed the ranch and raised his family-there during the years up to 1943 when he died suddenly. In 1942 he deeded the land to the State of Texas during-the early days of park land,-acquisition. 

The family moved from the ranch by the agreed deadline of January l,1945.  As one of the largest ranches in the Big Bend area, the Wilson Ranch has local significance. Its structures along with the natural setting provide opportunities to interpret twentieth century ranch life for this area.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hey, where IS that!?!?

Ron Coleman Trail
Franklin Mountains State Park
photo: Adrianna Weickhardt
Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso recently organized a National Trails Day hike on the Ron Coleman Trail.  It is hard to believe--but you should--that adventure of this magnitude is possible in our largest city of the Texas Mountain Trail region.

Our friends at GeoBetty.com say this about the trail:
"This very difficult hike along the spine of the Franklin Mountains is not for the faint of heart. It starts in McKelligon Canyon and goes up to the ridge before following the ridgeline all the way to Transmountain Road. It is a difficult and dangerous hike that should only be attempted by prepared and experienced hikers who are ready to deal with heights. That said, have fun and take photos."
Ron Coleman Trail
National Trails Day hike, Franklin Mountains State Park
Photo: Adrianna Weickhardt

Photo from Franklin Mountains State Park
by Dan Baeza
 
photo: Texas Mountain Trail

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hoodoos in Big Bend Ranch State Park

Photo: TPWD, Big Bend Ranch State Park
As a part of our recent National Trails Day social media project, our friends at Big Bend Ranch State Park posted this great photo on their Facebook page with the following text:

"One of the easiest, and most interesting hikes in the Big Bend Ranch State Park is the Hoodoos Trail. A large parking area is located right off Hwy 170 and the hike takes you down to the river. But the neatest stuff lies along the way. The soft rocks made during ancient volcanic activity erode in strange and exotic shapes. It’s fun to hike there during the day, but hiking during full moons is just downright weird! I always carry extra water, snacks, and a flashlight when I always seem to spend more time there than I’d planned.

Although the river is beautiful in this area, my favorite thing to do is wander among the hoodoos admiring their odd shapes and watching for lizards and other wildlife living in the cracks and crevices of the rocks."


Monday, June 16, 2014

Finding Henry O. Flipper in El Paso

One of the most remarkable life stories has roots in our region, that of Henry O. Flipper, who was stationed at Fort Davis and lived many years in El Paso.

Who was Henry Flipper?  From our website:

"Lt. Henry Ossian Flipper, engineer and military officer in the Tenth United States Cavalry, lived a remarkably successful life through the late 19th and early 20th century, particularly in light of the fact that he was born a slave in 1856. His education began at the American Missionary Association, an opportunity available to him as a result of the Civil War, and concluded with membership in the 1877 graduating class of West Point, becoming the first African American to do so. As Lieutenant, Flipper served on the front lines of an expanding western settlement, commanding forces in two battles at Eagle Springs and serving as engineer surveyor, construction supervisor, quartermaster, and commissary officer. Flipper was stationed at posts across the frontier including Fort Davis, Fort Concho, Fort Sill in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), Fort Quitman, and Fort Elliott. Later in civilian life, Flipper continued his success as civil engineer, author, translator, and surveyor, and occupied positions on the national stage including agent of the Justice Department, aide to Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and assistant to the Secretary of the Interior with the Alaskan Engineering Commission.  As an authority on mining and land laws of Mexico, Flipper worked with mining and mineral companies in northern Mexico and Venezuela and authored several works, including an autobiography called “The Colored Cadet at West Point” and a memoir titled “Black Frontiersman: The Memoirs of Henry O. Flipper, first Black Graduate of West Point.”


While these accomplishments are laudable by any standard, they are all the more admirable considering the level of prejudice Flipper faced while tackling his aspirations. Flipper suffered a humiliating court-martial in 1882, the result of a manipulative subterfuge perpetrated by his commanding officer Col. William Rufus Shafter at Fort Davis and one that will reside in military history as a disturbing chapter where bigotry derailed an otherwise stellar career. Over a hundred years later, Flipper received a pardon, courtesy of President William Jefferson Clinton, exonerating him of the accusations and conviction that led to his court martial; a posthumous validation of his innocence, a position Flipper maintained his entire life. Today, his story is interpreted throughout the frontier fort history and across the Texas west, including museums at the Fort Concho and Fort Davis National Historic Sites, where his reputation is restored and his service is honored in perpetuity."

A historic marker in El Paso, at 3231 E. Wyoming at Cebeda Avenue, continues the story of his 10 years in El Paso:


"Henry O. Flipper - Henry O. Flipper Henry Ossian Flipper (1856-1940) was the first African-American graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1877. Born into slavery in Thomasville, Georgia, he came from a family of achievers; his brothers were an African Methodist Episcopal Bishop, a college professor and a farmer. Commissioned as Lieutenant in the 10th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, also known as the Buffalo Soldiers, Flipper was stationed at bases in western states and territories. At Fort Sill, Oklahoma, he designed a drainage system, now a National Historic Landmark known as "Flipper's Ditch," that removed standing water, thus minimizing malaria outbreaks. Despite his many accomplishments, Flipper is most remembered as a victim of racism. In 1882, at Fort Davis, Texas, he was court-martialled on questionable charges. He was eventually acquitted of all charges save one: conduct unbecoming an officer. Dismissed from the army, Flipper went on to become a civil mining engineer, surveyor, translator, newspaper editor, historian and folklorist in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. For 10 years, he lived in El Paso, working for prominent mining companies. He was appointed Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior during the Harding administration. Flipper tried, but was unable, to clear his name before his death in 1940. In 1976, the U.S. Army granted Lt. Flipper an honorable discharge, and he received a full presidential pardon of all charges in 1999."

The El Paso Community College Libraries has a web page on Henry Flipper, including this information about his time in the city:

"From the 1880s to the early years of the 20th century, Flipper spent time in El Paso, arranging work and writing reports. He did contract work for many mining companies in both the United States and northern Mexico. He worked extensively for Colonel William C. Greene and Albert Fall who both promoted his work and became close friends. Flipper also became an authority on Southwestern history and folklore, writing articles for Old Santa Fe (forerunner of the New Mexico Historical Review) and conducting research in New Mexico, Mexico, and Spain. Flipper was well-known and respected in the African-American community of El Paso. During the Mexican Revolution, there was a rumor that Flipper was serving with Pancho Villa’s troops, a rumor that followed him the rest of his life.


Flipper never owned property in El Paso but according to city directories he spent ten years living in two of the city’s many boarding houses. For eight years, from 1910 to 1919, he resided at  803 ½  El Paso Street. This two-story building is still standing and in use at the corner of El Paso Street and Father Rahm Avenue. From 1919 to 1920, Flipper lived at 202 E. Third Street. This two-story brick building stands at the corner of Third and Oregon Streets and houses a few residents and small businesses. Faded lettering on the side of the building advertises furnished rooms and beds available from twenty-five cents." 

Albert Fall's mansion was for many years endangered by neglect, but the City of El Paso saved it from demolition and is now leasing it to Texas Tech University where it houses the administration of their School of Nursing.  The mansion, at 1725 Arizona, was built in 1906.
Photo: Preservation Texas
 Preservation Texas' page on the Albert Fall mansion is here.  The Fall Mansion was on the 2004 list of Preservation Texas' Most Endangered Places.




Friday, June 13, 2014

Texas Horseback Adventures

If you're looking for a Texas tradition....a riding trip on horseback in our mountains....Texas Horseback Adventures of Fort Davis offers fully customized adventures on private ranchland with no set trails, but plenty to see and experience...waterfalls, canyons, rimrock and grasslands.
Cozy tents used for overnight trips
Riders of all skill and experience levels are welcomed, the trips are tailored to you and your group.  Lunches are packed in saddle bags; dinner is cooked on the trail by your guide!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Balanced Rock in Big Bend National Park

photo courtesy Visit Big Bend
This great photo of Balanced Rock in Big Bend National Park is courtesy of our friends at Visit Big Bend; provided to us for our recent National Trails Day social media project.

Want to know more about this trail?  Here's the trail description from the park's website:

Grapevine Hills Trail
Difficulty: Easy; Distance: 2.2 miles round trip
Begin 6 miles down Grapevine Hills improved dirt road at the parking area

This trail leads to a group of balanced rocks in the heart of the Grapevine Hills. Initially, the trail follows a gravel wash, then climbs steeply for the last quarter mile into the boulders. Grapevine Hills is an exposed laccolith, with many giant, rounded boulders that are tempting to climb, but watch for snakes. 

For more information about visiting Big Bend National Park?  Try www.visitbigbend.com

More on desert hikes from the park's website:

"The Chihuahuan Desert covers about 80% of the park and surrounds the Chisos Mountains. Bare, rocky ground and sparse vegetation are hallmarks of the desert, but there is plenty of life here. Look for termite nests along plant stems, exoskeletons of millipedes, animal scat, and rodent and reptile tunnels. Bird life is plentiful, especially in the morning; look for nests hidden in yuccas and cacti. In the spring, bluebonnets, paintbrush, bi-color mustard, desert marigold, yucca, ocotillo, and cacti blossoms add color to the desert landscape."

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Fort Davis National Historic Site

Every Saturday this summer, at 7 pm at the Davis Mountains State Park amphitheater, join a history program presented by Fort Davis National Historic Site.

From our Texas Mountain Trail website, www.texasmountaintrail.com
"The frontier post of Fort Davis, established in 1854 and serving the Texas frontier until 1891, provided a strategic factor in the defense system of the American Southwest. The Fort’s garrison protected settlers, mail coaches, wagon trains, and travelers enduring the San Antonio-El Paso road, and, until 1861, soldiers stayed busy driving Comanche, Kiowa, and Apaches from the region. 

The Fort’s location, at the mouth of a box canyon on the eastern side of the Davis Mountains, provided a suitable advantage for fending off attacks, mustering troops, and staging defenses. Abandoned for a period after the Civil War, the Fort’s primitive structures had little to offer the Ninth U.S. Cavalry who arrived in 1867 to reoccupy the post. 

In two short years, however, permanent quarters, barracks, a guardhouse, and storehouses were raised and by the end of the 1880s Fort Davis harbored more than 100 structures and quartered more than 400 soldiers, including the famed Buffalo Soldiers. 

Today, the Fort and surrounding grounds comprise the Fort Davis National Historic Site, considered one of the country’s best surviving examples of a frontier military post in the Southwest. Twenty-four roofed buildings remain, along with over 100 ruins and foundations. Five of the historic buildings have been restored to their 1880s condition. Self-guided tours, hiking, and special events highlight the Fort’s year-round interpretive program.

The frontier post of Fort Davis, established in 1854 and serving the Texas frontier until 1891, provided a strategic factor in the defense system of the American Southwest. The Fort’s garrison protected settlers, mail coaches, wagon trains, and travelers enduring the San Antonio-El Paso road, and, until 1861, soldiers stayed busy driving Comanche, Kiowa, and Apaches from the region. The Fort’s location, at the mouth of a box canyon on the eastern side of the Davis Mountains, provided a suitable advantage for fending off attacks, mustering troops, and staging defenses. Abandoned for a period after the Civil War, the Fort’s primitive structures had little to offer the Ninth U.S. Cavalry who arrived in 1867 to reoccupy the post. In two short years, however, permanent quarters, barracks, a guardhouse, and storehouses were raised and by the end of the 1880s Fort Davis harbored more than 100 structures and quartered more than 400 soldiers, including the famed Buffalo Soldiers. Today, the Fort and surrounding grounds comprise the Fort Davis National Historic Site, considered one of the country’s best surviving examples of a frontier military post in the Southwest. Twenty-four roofed buildings remain, along with over 100 ruins and foundations. Five of the historic buildings have been restored to their 1880s condition. Self-guided tours, hiking, and special events highlight the Fort’s year-round interpretive program. - See more at: http://texasmountaintrail.com/plan-your-adventure/historic-sites-and-cities/sites/fort-davis-national-historic-site#sthash.wn4vHOXd.dpuf

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

1912, Van Horn

Mr. and Mrs. Ponciano Villalobos, Photograph, April 8, 1912; digital image, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth14276/ : accessed June 07, 2014), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Clark Hotel Museum, Van Horn, Texas
Another photograph from the collection of the Clark Hotel Museum in Van Horn.

Photograph of Mr. and Mrs. Ponciano Villalovoz (Villalobos), April 8, 1912, in Van Horn, TX. Dedication at the back of photo reads," Dedico Este Retrato a, Mi Querida Mama, Pas Chacon En, Pruevas de amory y, Respecto. que le Tengo. Ponciano Villalovoz, Van Horn, Texas, April 8, de 1912" 

Friday, June 06, 2014

Scenic Driving on Big Bend National Park's Ross Maxwell Drive

While the drive is scenic along Ross Maxwell drive in Big Bend National Park, those who stop and explore are richly rewarded with more to see!  Interested in learning more about the Sam Nail Ranch, the Lower Burro Mesa Pouroff, Mule Ears and more?  Click here for details.


Celebrate National Trails Day with us!
If you post photos and stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr with the two hashtags, #txmountaintrail and #nationaltrailsday, we'll be able to find them online...and we'll select our favorites to include on stories and features about the Texas Mountains all summer long!  Join in the fun and hashtag to your heart's content!

Thursday, June 05, 2014

1940: Love the hat!

From Van Horn's Clark Hotel Museum collection of early images of Culberson County, in the Portal to Texas History.  "Rosa Lee Wylie and Wanda Lenell Baylus, Photograph, ca. 1940; digital image, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth13917/ : accessed May 30, 2014), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Clark Hotel Museum, Van Horn, Texas."

Celebrate National Trails Day with us!
If you post photos and stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr with the two hashtags, #txmountaintrail and #nationaltrailsday, we'll be able to find them online...and we'll select our favorites to include on stories and features about the Texas Mountains all summer long!  Join in the fun and hashtag to your heart's content!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Pollinator Garden at CDRI

Plan to visit Fort Davis' Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center and their Pollinator Garden this season...lots of blooms there this week! 

Celebrate National Trails Day with us!
If you post photos and stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr with the two hashtags, #txmountaintrail and #nationaltrailsday, we'll be able to find them online...and we'll select our favorites to include on stories and features about the Texas Mountains all summer long!  Join in the fun and hashtag to your heart's content!

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Enjoy the Green of the Smith Spring Trail in Guadalupe Mountains National Park!

June is a great time to seek the cooling green of the Smith Spring Trail in Guadalupe Mountains National Park

From the park's website:

"Smith Spring Trail
Begin this hike at the trailhead sign. Look for birds, mule deer, and elk as you walk this loop trail to the shady oasis of Smith Spring. Take a break here and enjoy the gurgling sounds of the tiny waterfall before continuing around to sunny Manzanita Spring. Scars from wildland fires of 1990 and 1993 are evident along the trail. The trail is rated moderate, with a round-trip distance of 2.3 miles. Allow one to two hours."

Celebrate National Trails Day with us!
If you post photos and stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr with the two hashtags, #txmountaintrail and #nationaltrailsday, we'll be able to find them online...and we'll select our favorites to include on stories and features about the Texas Mountains all summer long!  Join in the fun and hashtag to your heart's content!

Monday, June 02, 2014

Big Bend: Luna's Jacal

There are plenty of places inside Big Bend National Park that are remnants of a life before the region became a park.  At the edge of Alamo Creek inside Big Bend National Park is a small home built by Gilberto Luna for his very large family.  Built of earth, stone and plant fiber, the home was well adapted to desert conditions..inside is considerably cooler than outside.  Luna irrigated his crops from the nearby creek. And early park superintendent is quoted, 'Gilberto Luna "survived eleven wives, sired thirty children, and was in his late nineties when he finally moved in with his grandchildren in Fort Stockton."' (Source)   Read more about this special place HERE.  Take the rugged drive on Old Maverick Road at the western section of the park near the Chimneys Trail to visit Luna's Jacal.
Gilberto Luna
Photo: NPS/Big Bend National Park

Celebrate National Trails Day with us!
If you post photos and stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr with the two hashtags, #txmountaintrail and #nationaltrailsday, we'll be able to find them online...and we'll select our favorites to include on stories and features about the Texas Mountains all summer long!  Join in the fun and hashtag to your heart's content!