|Tejas Trail Panorama|
We were a little lazy and started out about 6:30 am mountain time on the trail. The trail is good enough that you could do a lot of it in the dark if you wanted. I took a GPS reading as we left and it showed the elevation as 5,811 feet. That's about 400 feet higher that the Chisos Basin in Big Bend.
|6,500 feet on the Tejas Trail looking |
back at Pine Springs Campground
Over all the trail isn't bad, I don't think the hike is as hard as the Boot Springs Trail in Big Bend. The views are much more spectacular too because you can see so far.
|Halfway up the Tejas Trail, note the trail in|
front we still had to go, 6,965 feet
|Selfie at the top of the trail|
Down to business, the reason we made this trek was to find Pygmy Nuthatch. We started working our way to the Bowl Loop proper through pines and oaks. White-breasted Nuthatches seemed to be everywhere. Lots and lots of Bushtits. Dave spied a yellow warbler that turned out to be an immature Wilson's Warbler. The next mixed flock yielded Townsend's Warbler for Year Bird 454.
On the Bowl Loop proper we heard some high pitched nuthatches off trail. Like a bloodhound on the trail I went after them, Dave followed. Finally Dave spotted one at the top of a dead pine. Pygmy Nuthatch was Year Bird 455. (ebird checklist for The Bowl)
We finished the loop, 4.7 miles according to one website I consulted. As we were about to start our decent the outflow from a thunderstorm reached us, the wind picking up and dropping the temperature at least 10 degrees in a flash. That was good because we didn't have a lot of water left. Speaking of water, while we passed only a few people on the trail, it seemed I was the only one who didn't have a Camelbak hydration pack on. It looked really convenient to just sip from a tube instead of getting a bottle out every time. I think I'm going to get something like the Camelbak Rim Runner 22 for my next long hot hike.
We made it down to camp in less than 2 hours. Actually I found the scramble down more treacherous than the trip up just because of all the loose rock and gravel. The camp was wet but everything dried in a short time in the West Texas low humidity.
|Black-throated Gray Warbler stares me|
down at the Frijole Ranch, GMNP
So I dipped on the Juniper Titmouse. I will have to make it up when I try to make up Sagebrush Sparrow. Once winter gets here. Winter is going to be crazy. I've now birded Guadalupe Mountains National Park three times this year and I see a forth time in my future.
We discussed diverting to Granger Lake to search for the Sabine's Gull reported there but the reports appeared that it had already moved on, so we headed home while I plotted the end of year route through west Texas that seems inevitable.