Day 4 (Click
on photo to look at photos)
Today I had planned to drive down
towards Presidio, so I was very happy to wake to a bright and clear
early sunrise. Marfa looked splendid in the morning sun, and the drive
south into the Chinati Mountain region was really nice.
All along the road I wondered whether to get out and explore, but the
fencing was in good condition here, and there were many warning signs.
So I carried on and just near the town of Shaffer, I found an area
which seemed accessible and potentially interesting. As I climbed up
the limestone shale side of a ridge, I could see some plants ahead.
They were Escobaria tuberculosa, otherwise known locally as the
corn-cob cactus because the lower spines often fall off and the stem
looks like a dried corn cob. But there were more plants, and a goodly
number of Ariocarpus fissuratus scattered all around. Once your eye
becomes accustomed to their unusual shape and colour, they quickly
become easy to spot. There were a number of other plants there, which
included Ancistrocactus uncinatus v wrightii, Echinocactus
horizonthalonius, and a seedling that might be Escobaria but doesn't
Onwards into Presidio, and out on the river road towards Lajitas,
stopping at Fort Leaton and then at several places to photograph either
the Rio Grande or other plants. Lajitas was interesting, a resort town
with typical shops in a splendid boardwalk parade.
A bit further along, I took a break at Terlingua Ghost Town to hike off
into the hills behind the town, up past a huge billboard and beyond.
There were lots of great plants, as the photos show, Mammillaria
lasiacantha, Epithelantha bokei and possibly micromeris as well,
Mammillaria pottsii, Escobarias, Echinocerei, Ancistrocacti, and of
course the ubiquitous Ariocarpi. And some great views - I just sat down
and looked at the light on the mountains for ages - what a great way to
pass some time.
On the way back to Alpine, as the sun was setting the sky was
absolutely fantastic. I stopped the car and took a couple of photos,
one of which is included in the selection for the day. The cloud
pattern was spectacular, and did make me wonder what might be in store
weatherwise in the next couple of days.