Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sauceda Ranch House - Big Bend Ranch State Park

The main road to the interior of the Big Bend Ranch State Park is wide, unpaved and suitable for high ground clearance two wheel drive cars. However, the washboards and the desert washes make it rough.  I recommend only traveling on it with vehicles with sturdy suspensions.  It winds through beautiful volcanic, igneous rock formations.  The roads past the Sauceda Headquarters require high ground clearance rugged 4 wheel drive vehicles as well as special permits from the park.  This is desert country, so plenty of water is critical for travel here.  

After a 27 mile drive on a graded but bumpy washboard road, arrival at the Sauceda Headquarters is a welcome site.  The state park employees offer a cheerful greeting and help you get settled in.  If you are going to go on the true jeep roads, you will need to read through an orientation to the park with all the safety concerns and obtain a permit for travel.  

There are three choices for lodging in the center of the park: the Sauceda Ranch House, the Bunk House and primitive camping along the jeep roads.   

The Sauceda Ranch house was built in 1908 and remodeled in the 1940's. A careful observer will note that the kitchen and one of the bedrooms seems to be an addition to the original structure.  

After entering the adobe fenced area, a delightful screened porch welcomes you to spend time. 

The large living area has a television and games for entertainment.  While there is limited Wifi available at the bunkhouse, this is a good place to disconnect from the outside world and savor a simpler lifestyle for a few days.

The dining room is large enough for families to gather at the end of the day for good food, fellowship, and sharing of the day's adventures.

The kitchen is large and has all the utensils and plates for serving.  If guests plan ahead, prepared food is available in the bunkhouse dining room.

The three bedrooms are tastefully decorated with Texas ranch country themes.

There is one bedroom with one bed and the other two bedrooms have 2 beds.

Each bedroom has a fireplace for cold nights.

Pricing is reasonable. Reservations are made through the Austin state office: 512-389-3919.

I did not see air conditioning for summer months, but the house is true adobe with thick walls and great windows for cross ventilation.

It was a delight to spend one night here.  I hope to come back again with more nights at this elegant historic home.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Big Bend - The Adventure Begins

Today was the first full day in the Big Bend area. I am traveling with, Nancy Damron a photographer friend.

We began the day taking FM 170, the River Road section of Big Bend Ranch State Park.

It was a chilly morning, the vultures were waiting until it warmed off to soar over the valley.

There were cliff swallows over the river. I was hoping to capture one of them visiting the nests. Perhaps tomorrow I will get lucky.
Big horn sheep showed up above us on our way back to Terlingua. 

Going into Big Bend National Park, I added a new bird species to my life list, a Phainopepla.
I added several birds to my year list - Say's Phoebe, White Throated Sparrow, Black Phoebe, etc.

I was really planning on birding around Santa Elena Canyon, but the golden canyon walls beckoned to be photographed.  Not a great photo, but it is a glimpse of my world today.