High Desert Grasslands

Times have changed so quickly on us.  In late February, I left for a week in the deserts of west Texas.  I returned to a different world.

So while there is a constant stream of bad news and events flooding the airwaves I thought I might post a few pictures of a simpler time and place.  A place where big sky and huge vistas are all there is and the modern world seems so far away.

I have always found driving in the west to be therapeutic.  A place where the worries of work and life do not seem to matter as much.  If you ever saw the Tom Hank's movie Castaway you may remember the scene of the open road as he is driving through Texas at the end of the movie.  The open road, the big view of Texas and playing Elvis music.  It always made me smile.  I find my own trips like that in a way.  Once you get away from the cities, the towns are farther apart and you cross the Permian Basin, to the Pecos River........then it all changes.

I always stop at the Pecos.  If you saw where I stopped, you might laugh.  It is a small river here despite a big name.  The desert has tried to dry it up and the springs farther downstream have not renewed its life yet.  Maybe 8 feet across and a foot or two deep it runs through the Permian Basin a ribbon of life.    It has always been a symbol or marker for me though as I know I will soon see the mountains.

And soon I do.  At first in the distance.  Then the last town with more than one gas station- Fort Stockton.  Fuel, ice, and burritos are the order of business.  I am now in no hurry.  I may have left Cowtown on a mission but now I am relaxed.  Time to slow down.  Look.  Take it all in.

I climb higher and into the limestone ridges of the Glass Mountains and then pass through into the high desert grasslands around Marathon.  Big open country with views to forever.

I start making stops and taking photos.

Lots of stops.

The light is decent, there are a some clouds and the views keep going on.

This is big ranch country and all privately owned.  Luckily the road passes through here.  The mountains are visible in all directions with nothing between them but an expanse of grass and the occasional hill.

I see cattle, horses, pronghorn and even bison along the way.  On occasion I can even stop and make a photo before they are gone.

Time seems to slow down.  I look.  See. Stop.  Make a few images.  Then make my way another couple of miles where I stop again.  And then again.  And again.  

It is in the afternoon before I am able to truly starting heading down into the desert into El Desplabado.  The end of the road. 


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