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Thanksgiving in Texas -- Nov. and Dec. 2010

Day 24, December 07. We spent a cool night in the Chisos Basin Campground with lots of stars all about and the sounds of javelina tussling over something in the not-to-far distance. In the morning we noticed two piles of fresh poop by the picnic table, and the wildlife camera revealed that coyotes had visited during the night.

The Basin is a caldera, the inside of a collapsed volcano, and the peaks around the Basin are the rim of the old volcano. As such, all water that falls in the basin must evaporate out, get transpired out by plants, or run out through one hole along the rim. They call the hole "The Window," and after a slow breakfast, we hiked about 3-miles to see the Window. The Window is the top of a 200-ft high pour-off; it would be a waterfall, but with no water it is just where water would "pour off" when it can. Along the trail, we caught a Canyon Treefrog and a small snake. We were not sure about the species [juvenile Baird's Rat Snake], but it was gray and brown, with no red, yellow, or black; and it did not bite. We caught a huge beetle too, and it didn't bite either.

After the hike, we got a room at the Chisos Basin Lodge. The lodge seems to have been built in three stages: early cottages likely built by or during the stay of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the late 1930s, later hotel-type building, and finally the fancy modern lodge building. Given the choice and nearly the same prices, we chose to stay in the Roosevelt Cabins. The cabin buildings (4-plexes) were old, but well kept and quite quaint with nice views of the peaks. At the lodge, Liz relaxed and I put on another three miles on the Pinnacles Trail. Later, hot showers, dinner at the lodge, and a long chat with two women we met along the Window Trail were very nice.

The finger continues to improve, with some of the numbness dissipating. However, I now have small bumps at each of the fang entry sites that itch -- not sure what to make of them.

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Basin Campground Site #60
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Camp neighbors (Acorn Woodpeckers in agave)
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Campsite visitor (Canyon Towhee)
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Starting the 2.8-mile hike to The Window
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Middle section of the Window Trail
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Lower section of the Window Trail
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Water pockets in the narrow canyon
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Whirly-gig beetles whirling about in a pool
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Canyon Treefrog
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Approaching The Window
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Liz at The Window
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West Texas desert beyond The Window
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Desert canyon 200-ft below The Window
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Jim always gets too close to the edge
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Tiny spinystar cactus (finger for scale) growing in canyon wall
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Stopping for a rest on the hike out
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Ferocious little friend along the trail (note the scary teeth markings)
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Maybe not so ferocious after all
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Juvenile Baird's Rat Snake on trail (boot for scale)
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Hiking out
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Wondering if the beetle bites, burns, or stings...
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Big beetle on finger
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Roosevelt Cottages at Chisos Basin Lodge (we stayed in right room)
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View from lodge parking
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Afternoon hike for Jim
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Relaxing in the room with a hot shower and a view for Liz

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 101213

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