November 30, 2013

11/27/13 - Amistad NRA

Amistad National Recreation Area looks like it's a really interesting place, but we didn't get to see the good parts.  They're only accessible by water.  (We brought bikes, not a boat.)  If we can’t drive or walk, we need more than a paddle.

Amistad means friendship in Spanish.  The lake just outside Del Rio, Texas, was created by Amistad Dam and is operated by both the US and Mexico. On the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, the lake flooded canyons on the Rio Grande, Pecos and Devils Rivers.  As expected in Texas border country, there’s a big Border Patrol presence.  And since Texas has been in a drought for 3 years, the water level is waaaaay down.
This is why it's called Panther Cave
Since we didn't have a boat, we checked out the Visitor Center to see what we were missing--lots of archaeological sites and some of the coolest rock art in the country.  The one at Panther Cave has a big panel 100’ long with 18’ high panels.  We've seen big panels other places, but haven’t seen any others that big—and we didn't see this one either...

One of the rangers suggested we hike a nearby trail.  He said we’d see deer (and we did—high-tailing it away from us when they heard us clomping through the rocky trail) and listed a bunch of water birds we might see.  Since the trail doesn't go anywhere near the lake anymore, we didn't see the birds.  Well, a few ravens, and something little and brown...
It was a nice little stroll, winding through the prickly pear, blackbrush and mesquite.  This scary looking barrel cactus called “Horse Crippler” was the most interesting part of the hike.
Just so I could get some pictures of the lake, we drove west on US-90 to Governor’s Landing. The railroad bridge is right next to the highway bridge.

Here's a link to a few more pictures:  Amistad NRA

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