There aren’t any quick trips to Big Bend, because it is so distant from virtually anywhere else in Texas. But in the LEAP spirit of making the most of wherever we are, we wanted to make our return trip from Big Bend as fruitful as possible.
For the way home, that included making a quick stop in Marathon to see “Target Marathon,” a bookend to our “Prada Marfa” experience.
The Target Marathon had its own charm, but we partial to the Prada Marfa.
Our more substantial destination on the way home, however, Seminole Canyon State Park, which is located near Del Rio, Texas.
Our first stop was near the Visitor’s Center, which includes trails to the Canyon bottom. These trails are off-limits to casual hikers such as us; they are reserved for scheduled tours led by Rangers, who guide hikers down to ancient ruins, where petroglyphs and other items of archaeological and historical interest can be found.
Our goal was to see the canyon from the rim (which is permitted)…
…and to see the Shaman sculpture created by Bill Worrell.
Following our adventures near the Shaman…
…we headed out for our formal hike.
The rim trail goes on for miles, but our goal was to hike about an 1 and 1/2 miles one way, and to turn around and come back. We had specific canyon views in mind, but we also wanted to see wildlife. We achieved both our goals!
As with most hikes, sunset (or sunrise) is a great time to see animals, and we saw everything from jackrabbits to a seven-legged tarantula…
We stopped along the way to take a few “LEAPster” photo’s and enjoyed the scenery.
The canyon is very interesting because it had been inhabited by Native Americas for over 12,000 years, when the terrain was scattered with lush vegetation in the canyons and grasslands in the upper regions that was rich with ice aged species of elephants, mammoths and bison. Researchers have concluded that about 5,000 years ago the Seminole Canyon region underwent extreme climate change, causing the arid and rocky landscape that we see today.
Thankfully, we had a chance to see up close! We even went into an alcove that may have been used for shelter hundreds of years ago.
The trail also offers several canyon views of note…
…a photogenic bridge…
…and, at least at our time of day, a nice sunset.
It was a fitting coda to a four-day trip filled with hikes, exploration, and small-town charms.