Saturday, February 19, 2011

Seminole Canyon State Park

Less than an hour away from Amistad National Rec Area, where we stayed two days, is Seminole Canyon where we have enjoyed a couple more days enroute to Big Bend. Seminole -- I thought they were Florida tribe. Well, they were until they were moved west, along with the African-Americans who had assimilated into their ranks, in a “Trail of Tears” forced resettlement. The U.S. Army formed a unit of Seminole-Negro Indian Scouts who protected this area from marauding bands of Apaches and Comanches. Four scouts earned the Medal of Honor. Thus the park name.

There are some nice bike/hiking trails out to the Rio Grande which Penny and I have taken advantage of. It’s rocky or dusty but pretty flat and dry. I carry water and we stop every so often. They cloudiness of the last couple of days helped a great deal. What amazing vistas along the canyon -- well worth the ride. Penny sleeps well at night.
Today, Mary and I each took a tour (hers was in the morning and mine in the afternoon) of the prehistoric rock art -- rock painting called pictographs. This two-mile, guided, walking tour descends into a limestone canyon where we saw Lower Pecos River Style pictographs. We went up to the Fate Bell Rockshelter (named for a former owner) which contains pictographs which are 4,000 years old -- among the oldest, most colorful, complex and distinctive ancient paintings in all of the Americas. It was educational and thought-provoking.

Of course, my small tour group included two instructor pilots from nearby Laughlin AFB who were camping with their young sons. They were both former F-15 pilots and humored a former Naval Aviator as we talked about their T-6 trainers, their students, and other aviation stuff on the way back. Nice guys -- and their sons running along ahead up the steep staircase reminding me of our two guys years ago.

We had snacks this evening looking west as the sun was setting with Lark Buntings and Black-throated Sparrows hopping around the picnic area. A Sage Thrasher commenced a wonderful series of songs and calls. It was a nice Saturday evening in West Texas.

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