The National Park Service maintains a good series of web pages on its National parks, including Big Bend.
We reached Big Bend NP from Alpine, Texas, a nice town and quite a nice ride, and left the park by way of Marathon, a straighter road but it may not have been quite as scenic, we don't know, it was dark by then:
The park is very large, it takes time to drive from place to place within the park. The NPS map is useful, and on it there are areas marked in red where we stopped for the photos that we are about to share:
There were several more places we wanted to go see, like Rio Grande Village and the hot springs next to the river near there, but we ran out of daylight, as you will see on the last page. That means we will have to come back, of course!
The National Park Service has a brochure with a simply brilliant explanation of the geological history of the rocks that can be seen throughout the park. (The link is to someone's posting of that brochure on the web, thank you whoever you are!)
I can't compete with that, but maybe it is enough to say that at certain times the land was pushed together from the south and forced mountain uplift, at other times land was pushed apart and huge blocks sand and were covered with seas that laid down limestone formations, then there was another pushing episode followed by a pulling one and that last episode is still happening, and had created mountains by breaking the crust and allowing huge blocks to tilt and slide down on one side to make typically gentle slopes toward the west and cliffs toward the east: Basin and Range topography extends from here to California. Volcanism contributed some of the more spectacular mountains, like the Chisos in the center of the park. Please go to the National Park Service brochure link to get the story right.
We start driving south from the Castalon/Santa Elena junction and get a good look at the Chisos mountains. It is a volcanic ring with a sunken interior, like a caldera but not one. There are several calderas in the park and region, but this is just a basin surrounded by a ring of volcanoes, or so it appears. You can see into the interior of the Chisos Basin in the photo below. Later we will be in that basin looking out through that same gap (it is called The Window):
Making a right turn shows us several volcanic dikes at the foot of the Chisos range:
As we move around the Chisos mountains we come to a pullout with a trail to the Homer Wilson ranch. I found the rocks more interesting than the remnants of a ranch:
So we kept on moving, and stopped again at the Sotol Vista where we could look back at the same volcano remnant. Note the flowers in the foreground, please:
We are now moving away from the Chisos mountains:
Time for a new page!
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