Fairview, Oklahoma – May 2019 – Little Mountain on the Prairie

As you drive across the flatlands of Oklahoma one feature you do not expect is a redish mesa rising 200 feet above the prairie, but that is exactly what Gloss Mountain does.



In fact there are a few of these features in the area just outside of the small, appropriately named town of Fairview.



The hike up the mesa was on some sketchy looking stairs, but they worked – from the top you have a panoramic view of the area.






These unique features were formed long ago when the area was under a sea that left behind layers of shale and siltstone, with a top layer of gypsum. There is something known as selenite in gypsum that is glossy, hence the name.



The mesa’s were formed from erosion over thousands of years.





From here you have a seemingly endless view across the flat lands.





Once you reach the top you pass numerous fields of wild flowers.





Gloss Mountain – an unexpected and fun hike in the middle of Oklahoma.








Roswell, New Mexico – May 2019 – An Alien Town

When fate lands in your lap, or town, use it for all it’s worth. Roswell, New Mexico was handed something in 1947 that they have made a cottage industry off of ever since – an alien spacecraft crash.

Many of the businesses in town celebrate this notoriety in their advertising.










































Easily the biggest tourist spot in town is the UFO Museum. It has a great deal of information on UFOs, both those that prove and those that disprove.

They also have some interesting displays.















Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas – May 2019 – Slot Canyon and Hoodoos

In addition to the national park there is a state park along the Rio Grande in west Texas called Big Bend Ranch State Park. While smaller than the national park, it is still very large.

Our morning in the park took us along the renown River Road, which is very scenic.















Our first hike of the day was through Closed Canyon. The trail through this slot canyon quickly becomes sided by 150′ cliffs.

Eventually you reach a point where you need rappelling equipment to continue over large erosions, so we had to turn around and return to the car.












The HooDoo Trail is another highlight of the park. Being able to get close up gives you a sense of how large they are.

Our time along the Rio Grande ended with this hike. From this point forward it will be north and east towards home.














Big Bend National Park, Texas – May 2019

Big Bend National Park is one of the more remote parks in the continental United States, but with some effort – we arrived!




The early morning drive down from Marathon provided an excellent sunrise, giving the mountains great coloring.








Eventually we made our way back down to the Rio Grande River Valley.



Our west Texas days constantly provided interesting cacti views.



The Rio Grande in this area is really just a decent size creek, but the kayaks were setting out for the day.



Our first choice for hiking along the river, the Santa Elena Canyon Trail, was closed due to wildfires, so we headed instead for the Boquillas Canyon Trail.




As we made our way along the river an elderly man on the Mexico side serenaded us with songs in an effort to get us to come down to the river bank so he could sell his wares.



The canyon walls continually closed in until we couldn’t go any further unless we went in the river.




We returned to cross the border into Mexico (detailed on the next post) passing more colorful mountains along the way.




With wildfires closing a number of the more popular spots in the park, we chose to go up into the basin and check out the Window View Trail. Again we were treated to interesting vegetation.








Being in the basin we were surrounded on all sides by the mountains.




This view is ‘The Window’.




While it was disappointing that the wildfires impacted the park, there was plenty to see and do for the day.






Langtry, Texas – May 2019 – Views of a (Mostly Former) Town

Langtry, Texas is a town in west Texas, but just barely. In the early 1900s it was a busy place as they built the railroad nearby. Today it is a post office and the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center (detailed on another posting).



Most of the buildings in the area have been abandoned.















Those that remain have a sense of humor, as evidenced by a sign pointing toward the Rio Grande that says ‘Mexico’ this way.





The town does have a beautiful view of the Rio Grande Valley, and the cliffs and caverns across in Mexico.









And with that we took the lonely road west.




Langtry, Texas – May 2019 – Judge Roy Bean and a Cactus Garden

In West Texas the story goes there are 3 types of people: Those who know Judge Roy Bean from a 1970s movie, those who know Judge Roy Bean from their Texas schoolbooks, and those who are ignorant to the most important person in the history of West Texas. I come from the first group.

Roy Bean was born in Kentucky in 1825, and lived an adventuresome life that eventually lead him to a small Texas town which he renamed after his favorite actress, Lily Langtry – and became the Justice of the Peace for the ‘Law West of the Pecos’

Today there isn’t much in Langtry except a visitor center with a fantastic cactus garden, as well as the original buildings the Judge built in the 1800s.










The cactus garden is very cool with numerous different types of cacti.





























The Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center & Museum, and Cactus Garden was a very unexpectedly nice stop in the desolation of West Texas.