Throwback Thursday: Josh at Saguaro National Park

Fellow blogger, Josh, returned to Saguaro National Park this week. Unfortunately this time without yours truly, It looks like he had as nice of weather as we had 2 years ago.

Spring 2018 (like yesterday!)

Spring 2016

Sunday Hikes: Burro Spring Trail

The Burro Spring Trail is a 2 mile out and back trail in Big Bend National Park. It is mostly flat and the trailhead is in the same parking lot as the Lower Burro Mesa Pouroff trail. Despite it’s short length this hike is often looked over and forgotten about.

It takes you into the Chihuahuan desert of Big Bend where in the springtime all of the cactus flowers bloom beautifully. The trail wanders past a small half bowl shaped valley created by the mesa dropping off into the lower desert. There are so many different plants and animals (mainly birds) in this small area that makes you forget you’re in the desert (but then the hot sun reminds you again).

My first time hiking this trail surprised me with the desert beauty it had to show off and I found myself smiling as a looked into the valley with pretty much no one else around. The trail then descends slightly until coming to a dead end above the Burro Spring which is in somewhat of a hole that fills during the rainy season and overflows to the small creek bed below with a couple trees growing among the desert plants. This is a great spot to eat a snack or make some coffee while gazing off at the Santa Elena Canyon in the distance.

Once you’ve had your fill of spring chills, the hike back to the trailhead is a short mile and it it very likely you’ll have that mile all to yourself to really take in the desert and enjoy it. Once back at the trailhead I really recommend hiking the nearby Upper and Lower Burro Mesa Pouroff trails, they are some of my favorite hikes to do in the park. Upper Burro Mesa Trail

Thanks! – Josh

Picture of the Day: Flowers in the Desert

The weather at home in Georgia lately has been chilly and damp. The colors seem muted and gray now that all of the snow from the freak blizzard has finally melted away.

I thought a pop of color and sunshine would be a great way to liven things up and hopefully bring a little cheer to your day.

These pictures were taken in Arizona in March as the cactus flowers bloomed and the sun with its buttery sunshine brought out vivid colors everywhere. rk

Sunday Hikes: Lost Mine Trail

The Lost Mine Trail is one of the first things you will pass driving up the Chisos Basin Road from the desert to the mountains in Big Bend National Park. At 4.8 miles round trip and 1135 feet in elevation change, Lost Mine Trail is a moderately difficult trail but despite that it is one of the most popular trails in Big Bend. The parking lot is very small for how much traffic the trail gets and by noon cars are parked all along the side of the road near the trailhead. So if you want to get a good parking spot, I recommend starting this trail early. We woke up at the Rio Grande Village Campground before sunrise and meandered our way up the 25 mile road to the Chisos Basin (stopping at scenic views and roadside exhibits along the way) and arrived at the trailhead on a slightly overcast Thursday morning. Just before reaching the parking lot, a large mule deer crossed the road right in front of our car. We hopped out of the car, grabbed our backpacks, and excitedly hit the trail for our first hike in the Chisos Basin. The trail begins with long stretches of trail going slightly upward before switching back on itself. Within 5 minutes of hiking, the same mule deer crossed in front of us again on the trail and carried on up into the trees. This part of the trail is very cool because it shows of the diversity of Big Bend’s plant life. There are pines, junipers, and fir trees growing alongside prickly pear cactus and agave as well as wildflowers that I’m sure bloom beautifully in the spring.


Desert and Mountain plants growing alongside one another

After this the trail heads east past the pine canyon before steadily climbing upwards via many switchbacks (this is where most of the elevation change is). The whole hike grows increasingly beautiful as you keep going and every time I stopped to look at the canyons below I was amazed of how the view just kept getting better and better. Once you are about 30 minutes from the top there is a huge rock that lots of people were taking pictures underneath. Pretty soon after that the trail straightens up towards it’s peak. This part of the trail reminded me of Angel’s Landing in Zion the way the trail went across the large rock spine but this trail was much wider than Angel’s Landing. We soon reached the rocky end of the trail and sat down to relax and look at the views around us. After this we descended the trail back to our car, excited for the next hike and well pleased with this one. When in Big Bend this hike is a must do and is worth the effort to reach the top. Also I didn’t find the lost mine so let me know if you do

Thanks for reading. – Josh

Evolution of the trail’s view looking towards the Chisos Basin


Picture of the Day – Purple Prickly Pear Cactus


This is a Purple Prickly Pear Cactus. One of about 60 cactus species contained in Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas. I just spent two weeks in Big Bend, Guadalupe Mountains, and Carlsbad Caverns National Parks so this will be the first of many blogs containing those three parks from me. – Josh