Sunday, May 3, 2009

Deep in Pinto Canyon

With this being my new favorite road, you just know there had to be more than one post.

So while my last post mostly displayed images from the paved part or high in the Cuesta del Burro Mountains, this one will be from deeper in Pinto Canyon.

The elevation drops quickly and the grass of the Cuesta's fades rapidly into the desert. Rock and cactus become the main features here.

The canyon is deep. In places it is cliffs or big peaks that rise within the canyon itself. It is a rough, rugged looking place that is quite different from the grassy ranchlands in the highlands above.

Everything here is based on water and temp. The Marfa Highlands and the Cuseta del Burro Mountains are just high enough to be cooler and get more rain. But as you descend into the depths of Pinto Canyon, the elevation drops, the temps would rise, and the rain would be harder to come by.

I pass by sheer cliffs on the drive. The narrow one lane road passes right beneath them and I stare up at their heights.

There are a few creeks that run through the canyon and they are marked by a thin line of green. Water has that effect. A little moisture and you find life. No water and just rock and cactus.

As you pass through Pinto Canyon you look up at the Chinati Mountains and as you exit the canyon they dominate your view to the east.

There is supposed to a large ranch in the Chinati's that might become a state natural area. It would be nice to see additional parks and natural areas for public access, especially here in the wilds of west Texas.

As I make my way out into the desert and head across the long slope to the Rio Grande I encounter this old truck. I just don't think it will make it up the canyon anymore. I photograph it looking back toward the Chinatis and Pinto Canyon to place it out in the empty desert.

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