Exploring the South Rim, Colima, and Boot Springs

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We woke up feeling refreshed and ready for a day of hiking and exploring. After a quick breakfast, we packed up and headed out. We stashed our backpacks at the campsites near the turnoff for the Blue Creek trail which would take us to where Dad was waiting at the Homer Wilson Ranch. But first, we needed to explore the South Rim! It felt good to dump those heavy backpacks and strap on lighter day-packs. We had plenty of water, though, as the day was shaping up to be a hot one.

Cheryl & Ronna at South Rim Ronna & Mark at South Rim um, I'm outta here "What are you lookin' at?!

Mom and Nathan hiked with Ronna, Mark, and me as far as the turnoff for the Colima Trail. They planned to bird-watch and look for bears, eventually having lunch near Boot Springs. We'd all meet up later on back at the packs to hike out. Ronna, Mark, and I had a great time exploring the Southwest Rim. It was peaceful and beautiful, with clear blue skies and hardly any other hikers. Mark and I had discussed trying to get up to Emory Peak the same day, but I took a wrong turn and cost us about an hour's hiking time, which left us with no buffer for side-trips. That will just have to wait for another visit. We had a great time discovering the Rim and hiking up through Boot Canyon toward the spring. We saw deer, but no bears and no lions. Which was fun, we'd had our fill of being close to wildlife the previous day. We saw some great blooming cactus and the trees at Colima were so pretty, with lots of shade for us to rest in.

bloomers! red & yellow nice assortment of cacti Restful shade at Colima

After a nice lunch and lounge at the campsite, we hauled our big packs back on and headed down the Blue Creek Trail. It was a new trail for me and I was surprised how steep it was. Mom hiked ahead, and she had a good pace going because it took us a long time to catch up to her. The trail goes down in a hurry, with tight switchbacks and no edge, so we stepped very carefully. The sun was **hot** on our heads and I wished that I had remembered my hat. I wound up using my bandana to keep my scalp from burning. We helped each other remember sunscreen and drank lots of water, but there was no way to deny that it was a hot, steep, slick hike down the side of that hill. When we hit the bottom and got into the shade of the trees at the creekbed, we were very relieved. Mom was there waiting for us, and we had a very hard-earned break with her.

looking back at the Basin Nathan chills out for a bit Neat dead tree at Laguna Meadows zoom!!

Is this what Heaven looks like? hot sand, hot air, HOT chillin' with my sis bloomin' Mexican Buckeye tree

We were delighted to discover a new fungus that none of us had ever seen before, in all of our years of hiking Big Bend. Even the rangers weren't sure what it was when we showed them our photos. It happens to be commonly knows as "Mexican Squaw Root" also called "Conopholis alpina", the 'mexicana' varietal. Mom later found some Information about it online but at the time, we sure were stumped! It was such a neat yellow color, and we only saw it one particular area along the trail.

what is this?! looks like a fungus red rocks show us the way If you were a wasp, you'd be home by now

We walked and walked and rested and rested. It was a long way, and we all felt it. But we talked and explored and shared water. It was fun, especially knowing that Dad would be waiting for us with cool drinks and Cheezits (if there were any left) at the Ranch. The red rocks along the way were so interesting, with wasp nests and birds flying in and out of their cracks. I'd love to hike back and explore the rocks some more. I was just so tired that day, and it seemed we had so long to go. But sure enough, we glimpsed the Ranch in the distance. Although it was still a long way off, we felt energized and we steamed ahead. We sure were glad to arrive, but also a little sad. We felt proud, happy, and fulfilled, but also a little sorry that the adventure was done, too.

it's not small, just far away that's our trail waaaaay down there finally, to the truck! the happy campers/hikers

We had a lot to tell Dad, especially about finding the dam and seeing a mountain lion. He had quite a bit to tell us, too, and as we drove to Study Butte to take showers and have dinner at La Kiva, we learned all about how the telescope at the McDonald Observatory worked. It was sure neat to think about all those scientists from all over the world petitioning for their coordinates to be entered into the scope and to get the view back. It's amazing that technology has progressed to the point where the scientists don't have to travel to Texas to 'see' the sky. They just send their information, the 'scope is pointed and a time lapse video or still is taken and electronically transmitted back to the requester. Dad says the backlog for using the telescope is years long and that it's one of the world's best. He promises to take us all to see it someday and really enjoyed their tour a lot.

Next Day: Burro Mesa Pouroff, Sam Nail, Castolon, and Santa Elena Canyon

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