Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday: Grapevine Hills with Rain & Terlingua

Our plan for Thursday was to take in a few sites we had not gotten to see as we drove around earlier in the week. Thursday morning it was cold and windy with dark clouds off to the west - not good news. We decided to push on and drove the 6 mile "improved" gravel road to the Grapevine Hills Trail trailhead. Our goal was to make it to the window - a jumble of fallen rocks that form a square.

We hiked the mile into the canyon fine but as we hiked the wind started howling and the rain clouds came closer. We probably got to within 200 yds of the window and decided that trying to balance on the steep cliff face in gale force winds probably wasn't smart. Trying to hike back down in pouring rain wasn't going to work well either. Therefore, we took some photos where we were and headed back out. It drizzled rain and gusted wind on our hike out. The heavier rains came just as we round the last bend to the trailhead. Yeah for warm shelter in the car.

Between our jeep tour and our float trip on Wednesday we ate in a cafe in Terlingua, TX near the outfitters. Che!, the cafe, had a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches, and yummy homemade cookies. Since we wanted to spend some time in Terlinqua checking out the shops and ghost town, we headed back to Che! for lunch again on Thursday.

After driving around and eating lunch, we shopped our way out of town. During lunch we had met the proprietor of Many Stones, a rock and jewelery shop. We spent a good bit of time at Many Stones viewing the vast display of rocks, minerals, fossils, and meteorites on display, chatting with the parrots - who would give some off the wall answer or mimic the smoke alarm beeping, and visiting with the owner. The owner was quite a character - well educated and doing what he enjoys.

On the way back to the Basin we stopped and toured the remains of the Sam Nail ranch. The ranch was built at the site of an oasis and today pecan trees and figs are still growing. Remains of the adobe house and water well are present. We returned to the Basin to begin repacking the car for the trip home. Thursday afternoon late we saw a small herd of mule deer grazing just behind our building of the lodge. The deer moved calmly down the hill behind the lodge towards lower elevations of the Basin. By Thursday evening in the Basin, the cold rain had turned to a sleet/snow type mixture.