Saturday, May 20, 2017

Seminole Canyon 1

I almost wish I had stayed another day now that the weather had changed at Falcon Lakes.  If I had stayed through Monday probably would have had the place all to myself.  There is 2 loops one with full hook ups and one with electric n water.  I don't need full hookups I took 21 it was 2 spots away from the bathhouse. One of these days I will get to make a trip where there is no "return by" date.  Take my time...and come or go based on my own desires.  Someday right? We all spend a lot of time wondering about someday.  But on this Sunday morning, the last day of April I was back on Hwy 83 heading west. 
This bird made me stop and pull over...he was perched on a telephone pole...The Harris Hawk!

He was not bothered by me, so I took my photo and continued,
up until Laredo, TX.  I didn't spend anytime in Laredo but I stopped at their Visitors Center.  It is located right alongside I-35 where I had to travel north for a while then back to 83, then 277 west.  The visitors center has an amazing building and grounds.  Right away I was greeted by this Hooded Oriole

It was a breezy morning and the birds were busy...doing what birds do, defend nest areas, look for food, and pose for photos!  The Spanish Mission style of the building is very pleasing...

This courtyard was my favorite, with all this splendid tile work and the fountain.  Inside there was a huge saddle on display I thought I took photos but I can't find them.  I was able to get some brochures of interest.  Then back to the road.  This roadside beauty became one of my favorites...the basket flower, there is so much movement in the wind...and it's big! This flower is at least 3 inches across.

If you keep following Hwy 277 you eventually come to Amistad National Recreation Area. This huge reservoir created by daming the Devil's River coming down from the north and the Rio Grande river coming from the west. .  If you travel farther upsteam the Pecos River empties into the Rio Grand  West of Seminole Canyon.  This Reservoir covered up many ancestral lands and cliff dwellings of indigenous people who called the River Valleys home. One thing I noticed is the water is a lovely shade of aqua-blue.

My plan was a stop at Seminole Canyon State Historic Park,  

There is a campground and a guided tour of one of the ledges where rock art from 1,000-4,000 yrs ago can still be seen.  
Another bit of history surrounding this area is the Southern Pacific RR. started  in 1865 and joined the Central Pacific in 1870.   During the time of construction they called this area home...can you imagine how crispy a pizza baked here would be? 

The Railroad bed was built mostly by Chinese immigrants.  When the last spike was driven in 1883 it was put in place on the High Pecos Bridge, today there is a highway bridge...with that same name spanning the Pecos River below. 

Far into the distance you can still see the old RR bridges...

The visors center is also a museum of RR and Archaeologically artifact...

Off the back there is a lovely view of the canyon, and inside a very well done museum. 

Wednesday - Sunday they give Ranger Guided tours of the rock art in the Fate Bell Shelter.  So named after the last private owner the Bell Ranch.  There are 2 shelters in this canyon, they take you to the Eastern one...Fate Bell.  

The tour starts here on this path...then drops down into the canyon, then up to the shelter. There is no ruin up there only the rock art. I had to catch up as the last tour had left the building...and were already in the canyon!

Once on the floor of the canyon the heat was amazing! NO wonder they spent their time in the shade and  cover of the ledge.  Limestone is the prevalent mineral here.  Fossils show this was once covered in ocean.  You can see the Fate Bell Shelter distantly in this shot.  

I finally caught up with the tour...

I was very happy that I got to see the Rock Art... the next tour wouldn't be until Wednesday and I'd be long gone by I was lucky!  

As always the art is open for interpretation.  I hang toward the Ancient Alien Theory myself. This one image lower right looks like the head of the Statue of Liberty! The other some type crustacean?

and the fossils...

this looks like a spaceship landing to me...

the Ranger points out some of the Larger figures on the wall....back in the 1930's artists came and cataloged the drawings and good thing as they are fading. 

Some of the Mortises of the ancients...the ledge is quite large and I can imagine it provided awesome shelter from the heat and other elements of weather back 4,000 yrs ago!

Up in the roof was this bee hive....(video, turn your sound up)

bees in seminole canyon

Water made this honeycomb pattern when this canyon was part of an ancient ocean..

the view out the front of the shelter...and across the canyon


before we left the shelter I found a new to me bird the Say's Phoebe...I wonder if she was bee hunting?

On the way back across the canyon this little oasis provided the welcome cool of fresh water...this ribbon snake tried to get away from the crowd as we approached...

If I had been alone in that canyon I'd have joined him for a swim as it was heating up.  

this really cool sculpture greets visitors to the canyon, it is based on one of the rock art figures in the canyon below...

There's a nice primitive campground or up on the hill are sites with water and electric.  I chose the electric so I could use my fan till the sun set... after the hike I went up to find my spot and then relaxed in camp till time for bed. post is all the cool birds I saw here in the morning...but first this Cactus Wren sang me sleep..

cactus wren

(in real time my sister who just returned from a business trip to China brought her older sisters some wonderful gifts and the Chinese Flu! I've been confined to quarters a few days fighting this flu/cold so I'm using the time to create and schedule posts a day apart.  May as well make good use of my couch potato sick days)

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.


  1. More orioles, great. Nice videos too, they add to the post. Our wren whilst a small bird has a very loud song. We've been at our daughters for a few days and there I saw a male sparrowhawk, take a sparrow bring it to ground to kill it and then fly off. \its only the second time I've seen this. Hope your'e on the way to getting over the flu.

    1. I am still in recovery mode, much improved, but still not up to getting out of the house much yet...thank you for asking...this is a large wren, and he has a loud voice. Wow must have been something to see that small hawk hunt!

  2. Never a disappointment on your posts. Fate Bell Shelter is magnificent, the art and I have to admit Aliens must have played a part in this art work. Honey combs are so unusual. I guess to better enjoy these sites winter would be a better time.
    I sure hope you get to feeling better really soon.

    1. I agree winter would be better for hiking, and camping, but I don't know if I'd have seen as many original plan was to be here April 1, but Mom breaking her arm, then me almost cancelling then sister saying that's how I came to get there so late in the season.

    2. At least you did make the trip and yes you may not have seen so many wonderful birds. This post has so many things to comment about it is all so wonderful

  3. Oh my gosh how great that you caught up with that tour ... those pictos are wonderful -- and I'd agree with you on the alien thing, except for that one which is definitely a great big giant crawfish. (Well, they sort of look like aliens, even today so ....) Very interesting history and thanks for sharing. I love how the birds show up for you even at a rest stop... you are so good!!

    And I read the fine print and hope you are feeling better .

  4. I'm working to catch up on all your posts now! Sorry to hear about the flu, I hope you're feeling better soon. That swimming snake is cool to see in clear water!! There's too much fun stuff for me to remember right now, but I'm enjoying all of your adventures!


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