Big Bend Bluebonnets with Mule Ear – One last Big Bend bluebonnets photo from our trip to Big Bend National Park in February this year. This show the bluebonnets with an octillo and shrubs with Mule Ear in the background. The bluebonnets were spectacular and this spot with the wildflowers growing in this desert landscape along side the octillo with the Chiso mountains was a nice landscape find. This is a desert so you expect to find octillos and shrubs cactus but the bluebonnet just gave this barren landscape life. The bluebonnets in Big Bend are a special lupine that can grow several feet tall and thrive in this hostile environment and this year was the first time we have seen them like this, just the right amount of rain in the fall and other conditions that were just right led to the best blooms we have ever seen here in the last ten years we have been coming to the park.
Big Bend Bluebonnets Sunrise – The sunrise was just beginning to push through the clouds over the chiso mountain range near the landmark Cerro Castellan. The sky was getting this heavenly glow from the sun rays as they came through the sky just at the peak of the sun rising up. The Texas bluebonnets were flowing down the slope the valley below in this desert landscape scene. It was a cold morning to be standing and waiting for the sunrise to show and very quite till a coyotes pack began to yelp and howing right below us when a sudden sense of fear over came my other half as there were many yelps, all probably no more than 30 feet below us. Luckily for us they were not interested in us. Whew! This is a wild area and you are likely to run across all kinds of animals here including bear, wild hogs and mountain lions. Big Bend National Park was in full bloom with the big bend bluebonnets this year and it was lovely. This was the best year we have seen in our 10 plus years of coming here. The Big Bend bluebonnet or Chisos bluebonnet are the common name of this lupine. It is native to Texas and Chihuahua, where it can be found blooming from January through June. What surprised us were they were all over the hill sides and along the roads in thick patches. We were curious how they got so high up on the mountain sides. In any case it was a wonderful site to see and made us glad we came for this unique show.
Big Bend Bluebonnets Wildflowers- Big Bend bluebonnets in the Big bend National Park as the wildflowers climb up the mountain sides a rare sight. The bluebonnets on this ridge had the Santa Elena Canyon and Cerro Castillian as the distant landscape. There is nothing like a mountain back drop for your bluebonnet images. Bluebonnets were thick on the mountian sides off the ross maxwell scenic drive so we stopped to get some roadside photos and the next thing we know we have walk a mile up the mountain side. It was one of those moments when you look in another direction and there are even more blueboonets on another hill side or along a ridge that you just have to get too. It ws an amazing site. There were so many to be seen and such a short time to get the photos of the bluebonnets on our trip. There is just something about being in the presents of mountain and desert landscape and throw in some bluebonnets and it brings the kid out in you it is kind of a magical event. This species of lupine grows taller than other texas bluebonnets they are several feet tall and there stems and seeds are much larger than other bluebonnet plants. This is what makes them a little more hardy for the harsh weather conditions in west texas. Some of the comman name for these bluebonnet are the big bend bluebonnet, big bend lupine, chiso bluebonnet, and havard bluebonnet to name a few. Regardless of what you call them they are a wonderful site to see in this desert landscape. We have heard about how great these bluebonnets have been in the past but this is the first time in ten years we have seen them like this. In the past we only found a few small patches along the roads. We are glad we made the eight hour drive down to catch them before they are gone.
Chiso Mountains Overlook – Chiso Mountains Overlook in Big Bend National Park. This is one of those awesome views you get when you first drive into Big Bend National Park but timing is crucial to get a good shot from here. Finally we had all the right elements to capture the Chiso mountain range from this area. We have come through many times when the light is not good for a shot but today it worked. After a short hike I was able to find this wonderful prickly pear to help frame my photo so I was more than happy with the results. The Chiso mountains was formed by a volcanic event millions of years ago and in this image you can see the V or window as it is called with a view into the basin. Big Bend National Park is an American national park located in West Texas, bordering Mexico. The park has national significance as the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States. The park was named after a large bend in the river, and the Texas—Chihuahuan Desert is part of Big Bend and includes northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. Chiso is the only mountain range in the United States to be fully contained within the boundary of a national park. It is also the southernmost mountain range in the mainland United States. The highest point in the Chisos Mountain range is Emory Peak at 7,825 ft above sea level.
If you happen to be in the area during your travels checkout the Big Bend Fossil Exhibit in the Big Bend National Park. We came upon the Fossil Discovery exhibit about 8 miles from Panther Junction in an open air pavillian. Also there is a short trail with geologic points of interest that overlooks the area. In this photo you have an large room with a T-Rey bronze cast head of a Tyrannosaurus Rex which ruled the land and a Deinosuchus, a giant alligator or terrible crocodile head as it was called which probably ate T-Rex should he get too close to the waters edge and to cover the sky we had a flying reptile named Xiphactinus with a wing span of 36 feet. The fossil exhibit contains many other creature which were part of the inland sea for exhibit and was opened to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016. It is the first addition to the park in 50 years at a cost of 1.4 million dollars. Also the fossil exhibit is fully accessible with a nearby picnic area and fossil themed play area for children.
A Texas sunrise just before the sun pop over the nearby mountains from this vantage point in Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park. Even before sunrise it rewarded me with these beautiful colorful clouds over the Rio Grande landscape from my vantage point high in the Santa Elena Canyon. Another good capture of some great Texas landscape scenery. Big Bend is an isolated area and for us it is an eight hour drive just to get there but it has always rewarded us with some magical scenery. Big Bend National Park is located in southwest Texas and includes the Chisos mountain range and a large swath of the Chihuahuan Desert. The area gets very little rainfall so don’t expect a lush scenery it is a desert landscape. In Texas you don’t have a lot of mountains and this is one of the few areas you can see them. The Chiso mountain range are some of the tallest mountains in Texas second only to the Guadalupe Mountains. The Santa Elena Canyon were carved out by the Rio Grande river with it soft limestone rock wall which allowed the waters to carve out a path downstream towards the gulf of mexico. On this day the pre sunrise was spectacular with the colorful clouds over the Rio Grande river and Big Bend Landscape from this vantage point looking through the octillo along the limestone cliffs.
Captured this wonderful west Texas landscape panorama sunrise at Santa Elena Canyon just as the sun rays pop over the nearby mountains over the Rio Grande River from this vantage point in Big Bend National Park. It is not a too difficult a climb and you get a great view looking south. Santa Elena Canyon is one of the most impressive in Big Bend National Park it is visible for many miles away up to ten miles it can been seen. The Rio Grande changes direction abruptly after following beneath the straight Sierra Ponce cliffs for several miles heading west, cutting through the mountains via a deep, narrow canyon gorge in the mountain. It has national significance as the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States. It contains more than 1,200 species of plants, more than 450 species of birds, 56 species of reptiles, and 75 species of mammals. The park has many geological features including sea fossils and dinosaur bones, as well as previous volcanic activity. The park just recently open a Fossil Discovery Exhibit to display the dinosarurs that would of live there in the past when there was an inland sea. The national park covers 801,163 acres for more than 1,000 miles, the Rio Grande forms the boundary between Mexico and the United States, and Big Bend National Park administers approximately 118 miles along that boundary. The park was named after a large bend in the river and Texas—Mexico border. The park is bordered by the protected areas of Parque Nacional Canon de Santa Elena and the Maderas del Carment in Mexico.
Check out this wonderful sunset over the Santa Elena Canyon from the Sotol Vista Overlook in Big Bend National Park. You can see Santa Elena canyon throught the sotols as the sun went over the mountains in the distance view looking toward Mexico from Big Bend Park. The Santa Elena Canyon are some of the tallest cliffs in the area and rise up to 1500 ft down to the Rio Grande river below. Santa Elena Canyon is the most impressive in Big Bend National Park and can be seen from ten miles away. It is a good distance from the main area of the park and will take about an hour drive. Sotol Vista Overlook is one of the places to capture the canyon which is located off the Ross Maxwel scenic drive and from this view point you can see the entire western side of Big Bend Naitonal Park. This is one of my favorite images we captured on this trip to Big Bend, we have tried to capture a good sunset from the Sotal Vista Overlook in Big Bend National Park before from this same location before but the weather and hazy skies just did not coorperate till today. The Santa Elen This evening we were rewarded with a wonderful colorful sunset over the solols at the overlook and we are very happy for that.
In this image in Big Bend National Park and state park out in west Texas and we found a few Bluebonnets patches along the side of the road. There were not many and appeared to be in clumps but what we did notice is they were taller than any other lupine we had ever seen before in Texas. The big bend bluebonnets grow to be 3-4 ft high and are a much deeper blue than other lupine wildflowers. In 1901 the Texas legislature made the bluebonnet the Texas State flower. However, in 1971 the Texas legislature made all Texas lupines as the state flower which include the Big Bend variety. The bluebonnet in Big Bend National Park and Big Bend State Park are a different variety of flowers from the rest of texas wildflowers the are taller and my drought toleriant and have a deeper blue color. http://www.beecreekphoto.com/blog/texas-bluebonnet-sunrise/
Bluebonnets are all along the roadside in Big Bend National Park. These are some of the tallest and deep blue bluebonnets. They are some sort of hybrid wildflowers that will only grow on in this desert area.