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Thanksgiving in Texas -- Nov. and Dec. 2010

Day 25, December 08. We moved from the Chisos Mountains to Cottonwood Campground along the Rio Grand River in the southwestern park of Big Bend National Park.

We enjoyed an early breakfast at the lodge with big windows looking out on sunrise in the mountains. Driving towards Cottonwood, we stopped at all of the overlooks and did the tourist things along the way. We spent a fair bit of time birding around Sam Nail's old place where an old windmill still spills water on the ground. We also did a fair hike around Lower Burro Canyon, an area where layered volcanic rocks create a high pour-off. The trail went up one arm of the canyon, and after visiting the main pour-off, we forged our own route to a second. The second was not as high as the first, but more wild, full of javelina sign, and every bit as spectacular.

We got into camp near sunset and took the site from where a Great Horned Owl flew up from the ground. The bird moved only to the nearest perch and remained there until nearly dark. Seeming not to care about us, it just sat on a branch looking around all evening. In the darkness, the owl sang on-and-off all night, revealing that it was a she. In the wee hours of the morning, a male joined her in song, and after sunrise, neither were to be found.

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Warm and comfortable campsite
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Birding at Sam Nail's old place
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Adobe wall at Sam Nail Ranch
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They really do make things bigger in Texas
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One of several scenic viewpoints
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Another of several scenic viewpoints
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Hiking in Lower Burro Canyon
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A Lesser Earless Lizard along the trail
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Hiking in Lower Burro Canyon
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Don't get in my way or I'll walk right over you!
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The bottom of the main Burro Canyon Pour-off
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Wild canyon near a second pour-off
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Patchnose Snake along the road
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Rock Squirrel on a rock!
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Cottonwood Campground along Rio Grande River
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This big girl sang for us, then was joined in song by a male
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Evening light in camp
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Hopeful of learning something, we photograph a road-flattened snake

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
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