Searching Seminole Canyon

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.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Marathon Texas, Target Marathon

The Target Marathon had its own charm, but we partial to the Prada Marfa.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Prada Marfa, Big Bend, Marfa Texas

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)…

SHSU, LEAP Center, Seminole Canyon State Park

…and to see the Shaman sculpture created by Bill Worrell.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Seminole Canyon State Park

Following our adventures near the Shaman…

SHSU, LEAP Center, Seminole Canyon State Park, Bill Worrell

…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!

SHSU, LEAP Center, Seminole Canyon State Park

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…

SHSU, LEAP Center, Seminole Canyon State Park

We stopped along the way to take a few “LEAPster” photo’s and enjoyed the scenery.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Seminole Canyon State Park

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.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Seminole Canyon State Park

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.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Seminole Canyon State Park

The trail also offers several canyon views of note…

SHSU, LEAP Center, Seminole Canyon State Park

…a photogenic bridge…

SHSU, LEAP Center, Seminole Canyon State Park

…and, at least at our time of day, a nice sunset.

SHSU, LEAP Center, Seminole Canyon State Park

It was a fitting coda to a four-day trip filled with hikes, exploration, and small-town charms.

Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Huron Daily Tribune, Laredo Morning Times, Beaumont Enterprise, Connecticut Post, and Midland Reporter Telegram. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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