16 March 2013

The Road to Presidio,TX

16 Mar 2013--So the day before yesterday, Thursday, was supposed to be a rest day, but after going out the night before to Lajitas and seeing some of the sights we decided to take the 61 mile ride along Highway 170 to Presidio, TX.  Cathy had seen something online where National Geographic rated it one of the best scenic rides in the country, so we figured we couldn't pass it up.  Check out the different types of rock formations along the way.  I wonder what causes such a change in topography in so short a distance?


A rest stop along the way.  The teepees have picnic tables underneath them, with a grill at each site.  Beautiful flowers along the median.

The 1st place we stopped along the way for any length of time was an area the locals call "the big hill" (very imaginative on their part--haha).  Anyway, this 1st video is looking east, the direction we came from.  Notice the landscape in this direction, as opposed to once we look west.


And now from the top of the hill looking west.  Is that beautiful, or what?!  By the way, this hill is a 15% grade, so we were happy not to be in our RV!

Continuing along Hwy 170, our next stop was a place called "Closed Canyon"...it's not closed, it's just called that.

(A little side note:  Hwy 170 parallels the Rio Grande to your left as you are driving west for most of the 61 miles to Presidio, but occasionally turns inland a little so that you have Texas land to both your right and left.  And it seems that unless you are on the highway, everywhere else you turn is part of Big Bend Ranch State Park.  Why all of this isn't part of the National Park we don't know, but the state park is equally as beautiful.  We stopped along the way to get a state park map at the visitor's center, and there are something like 35 miles of trails you can take if you stop along the way to Presidio.)  

So back to Closed Canyon.  This was a short, 1.4 mile hike in and out, through a narrow slot canyon, similar to a lot they have in Utah.  It was 84 degrees out by the time we finished, but well-shaded in the canyon, so quite pleasant.

My eyes are closed in this picture, but it is a good shot to show how narrow it gets.  And you can probably tell from most of the pictures that the floor and lower walls of the canyon in most places are quite smooth, so it can be pretty slippery when wet.  That is caused by the flash flooding that has created these canyons over the years.

And the best part of the hike, here is Cathy trying to go beyond the turnaround point without going in the drink.

She started to go and then I put the video on.  Turn up your volume for the play-by-play.  (I posted 3 videos because the longer they are, the longer they take to upload on the blog site.)

On our way back now...check out the shadow cast far back in pic #1, and then a close-up in pic #2.  Looks like a woman in a medieval-times headdress, leaning back against the rock with her knees, and whistling!  Don't you think?


And just a few more miles to Presidio.  Didn't take any pictures of the city itself.  Actually a small town of about 5000 people, 93% of whom are Hispanic and seemingly a good chunk of that very poor (wouldn't make for pretty pics).  We actually stopped in a grocery store where quite a few of the other customers were openly staring us...like trying to figure out what we were doing there.  I'm embarrassed to say I was a little uncomfortable...haha.

So our "off" day wasn't off, but it was beautifully spent, so that was better than hanging out at the RV.  In the whole 61 miles to Presidio I bet there weren't 5000 residents...just wide open land and beautiful spaces.  Reminded me very much of Utah, Wyoming and Montana.  We are blessed to have such a beautiful country!!!


  1. Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful. One of my favorite Blogs from this trip! Loved the pic of you on the rocks above the cactus. Watching Cathy cross beside the "drink' had me a nervous wreck. She's crazy !!!!!
    Loved the clothes canyon pics!!!

  2. First, I can't believe there is so much open land in this country.
    It makes you wonder why we all stay in this part and let ourselves
    be crammed together.

    Second, I am really aggravated I cannot see the videos, but pics are great.

    Third, I not sure it is fare to just look at the beautiful things....lol
    I think you should have shown us the poor people and let us reflect on
    our good fortune!!!!

  3. Marie and Ellen, I am telling you...you would have LOVED this trip!!! I am not sure everyone "gets" it the way I feel about it, but when I see the beautiful vastness of parts of this country, it is beyond words to describe. You really just have to see it for yourself. Wish you guys could have been here, too!

    And Ellen, you have to do something so you can watch the videos...there are some good ones. And as far as the poor people and their surroundings, I was trying to remain upbeat...it was depressing after the splendor of the 60 mile ride to view what appeared to be abject poverty. A stark contrast between the extremes of our country.