Big Bend - Ernst Tinaja

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Camping in another one of Big Bend's free sites that night, we were visited by an old engineer/christian. We chatted extensively, argued, chatted some more, and then couldn't get rid of him. He was just a bit lonely, but it was time to go to bed, and turning out the lights and cleaning teeth and closing up the car still didn't give him the hint. Oh well :)

Had a bit of a runin with wind and the tent that night too. I even had to get out and add some guy lines. This would be the first of many nights battling high winds. We got pretty good at selecting protected camp sites. It was just so easy to put up the big tent, and so much roomier inside compared to setting up my macpac hiking tent.

Anyway, this was our second day at Big Bend, and we were going to try and get to Ernst Tinaja, a waterhole out on one of the 4wd roads. We'd seen a postcard of it, and it was meant to be beautiful. We were at least going to drive out and have a look at what the road was like anyway.

It wasn't too bad at all at first. We got to a campsite marked ET2, presumably the second Ernst Tinaja site, and just past there we got to a heavily rutted hill that I was highly dubious about getting back up. The gouges and skid marks seemed to confirm that I wasn't the only one. At the bottom of this hill we found an old grave, apparently one of many cases where white texans got away with murder of mexicans. In this case, for the ghastly crime of dating his daughter. There are apparently graves like this all over the texas desert, and they even have a halloween tour to go and visit them. You put coins on the graves, and it's all quite common, not some weird psycho thing to do at all. This grave had money, glass beads, and even a cd by a local band. Quite different to an ordinary western cemetary plot.

We went back to ET2, and followed a track out of the back of it. Off into the distance, up and over a ridge, and down and along the back side, eventually leading us into a wonderful limestone canyon. We followed this down for quite some time, before getting to a point that we thought would potentially trap us unable to return, and entirely dependent on being able to get out the bottom of the canyon.

We never saw the tinaja (waterhole) but it was still a beautiful trip. Quite a bit longer than we'd expected, but wonderful nonetheless. It turned out we needed to just park at the top of the rutted hill, and walk about 500m past the grave. That would take us to ET1, and it was only about 5min walk from ET1 to the tinaja proper. Oh well :) We got pretty sights, and complete solitude.

Saw some beautiful light on the hills, but short of doing a long day or multiday walk through the mountains, or having a more serious car, we were about done here. Headed off to Iraan, and a camp at the Alley Oop city park. More wind :) You really have to plan camping around here, no where near as much national forest, and the towns are very small and spread out.

Grave for murdered mexican

Pretty flowers

Flowers everywhere

About 7" long

More pretty flowers

Katie walking into the canyon

Looking downcanyon

Interesting rock features