Friday, June 19, 2009

Hidden Desert Oasis

Hidden in the desert of Big Bend are several places that are truly a desert oasis.

Where there is water-there is life.

Water brings, trees, and shade, and plants and animals.

Some places are well known. Others, not so much. And then some are downright secret.

If you want to see a good example of a desert spring hike to Mule Ears Spring. The trail head starts at the Mule Ears Overlook off the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. A walk through the desert takes you to a spring and an acre of green. Sit by the spring and it seems along way from the dry desert that is just 30 yards away.

Then if that experience gets your interest, start looking for others. If you look long enough, you might find this one.

Here a waterfall spills down into a shaded pool. A stream cascades down from there into a small canyon filled with trees, ferns, yellow columbines, etc.

A secret oasis.
It is a place I stumbled upon several years ago and a place I try to make it back to on a regular basis.

I once encountered a mountain lion here. He was about 50 feet away. It was an exciting moment!

Here are a few images from a recent visit. The spring had been rather dry in the Big Bend so only a trickle of water was flowing over the falls, but the pools and shade were all there.

You can see the stream had water in it that gurgled down through the small canyon. You just might make out some of the yellow columbines in the image.
Finally an image of the ferns that grow in in cool moist shade of the canyon.

It is a far cry from the dry desert.

A small place. Maybe three acres. Maybe.

The water runs through this small area and then then desert pulls it into the ground. Quickly the land goes from green trees to scrub to desert.

A fleeting glimpse of life in this harsh dry place. If you can find it.

Keep looking, it is not a mirage.

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