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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Part 3 - Sunset at the Chisos Mountain Lodge

We went to dinner at the Chisos Mountain Lodge main building. It was a combination reception desk, gift shop, and restaurant. The restaurant had a stunning view of the Window, which is what the gap in the mountains is called. A more perfect view of the beautiful sunset I could not imagine. So I took a few photos.

We had a great dinner at the Lodge, and the only thing that spoiled it was my jumping up every few minutes and rushing out to take "just one more, I promise" photo. Our waiter was young and very friendly and told us about his family and home in Ohio, I believe. He was glad to be on the staff, and this was his first night as a server! He did an excellent job, so I am confident his tenure there will be long.

The sun continued to set and the colors got more beautiful...

I wanted this sunset to last forever, but as we all know, time and sunsets wait for no man.

This last photo was taken from the porch of the restaurant side of the Lodge. I hope you can see the serenity and beauty of the moment. If you look at the lower left corner, there is a couple in the lounge chairs that was enjoying the view as much as I was. We were all very lucky!

We went back to the cabin very refreshed and very eager to get to bed! Our trip up the Lost Mine Trail would start very early. More on that later, my friends.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Part 2 - The Drive Into Big Bend National Park

It looks like this will be a 4 Part series, because there are so many photos to show you. After we left the Gage Hotel in Marathon, we headed south to the Big Bend National Park.

We had not checked any weather reports, and the radio was unhelpful, but I noticed these huge thunderheads coming over the hills from the east. It looked like it was going to be a big storm...

The sun was setting to my back as I got out of the car to take this photo. The dark clouds behind the mountain were getting more ominous looking as we drove south.

double rainbow

The rainbow appeared for a short time as the sun set. It was raining pretty heavily behind us and to the east. I tried for a panorama shot of the rainbow, but the "right hand" photo did not come out well enough to mend the two photos into one.

As I busied myself taking photos, a group of motorcyclists passed us. They were friendly and waved as they passed. We were just about half-way to the main area of the park, and our destination the Chisos Mountain Lodge.

As the sun set it really lit up the rocks and mountains along the road. The rain was staying off to our east, at least for now....

More photos of some of the beautiful sights as we drove

At last we arrived! This was the view from our room the first night, looking towards the Window, a natural gap in the mountains that affords a spectacular view of the sunset from the Main Hall of the lodge complex. The Sunset will be Part 3.

This rock formation was the dominant feature of the landscape looking away from the Window. We were lucky to have had the opportunity to spend the weekend at the Chisos Mountain Lodge.

More in the next post!

Mike Z

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Big Bend Trip Part 1 - Gage Hotel

Hello again! This is Part 1 of what I hope will be a three part series on our recent trip to Big Bend National Park. What I can tell you about the trip is that it was wonderful, relaxing, tiring and FUN all at the same time. We both thought out loud many times, "Why haven't we done this sooner?!?" The area is vast (see Google map at link above), beautiful, and very well kept by the folks at the Park Service. But enough about the Park, you'll see photos of it later. Now for the Gage Hotel.

We had heard about the Gage for a long time, as Jan's sisters and their families had been there several times a few years back. We were never able to go with them on those trips, although now I can't understand why. I guess it was job conflicts, kid conflicts, but for whatever reason we passed. The sisters usually stayed at the Gage Hotel, and had wonderful things to say about it. Located in Marathon, TX, about an hour's drive from Big Bend, it is a very old and historic site, with many cottage-type rooms, as well as the original rooms in the hotel itself.

The dining area has both an indoor and outdoor area, and the menu appeared to be 5-star (with prices to match!). There was light fare, as well as 5 course meals, all available to hotel patrons and passers-by like us. We will have to take advantage of their wonderful facility on another trip, because we were running out of daylight, and just ate at a great little family restaurant down the street.

There seemed to be dried peppers hanging everywhere, which gave the place a distinctive Southwest flavor (pun intended). I wondered several times if they were for show, to eat, or if they had another purpose, but I enjoyed looking at them a lot.

Since I am constantly looking for new bird species in our travels, and very new to birding in general, I learn a lot from friends. Bob Zeller was kind enough to give me the name of these beautiful birds -- the Barn Swallow. They are very pretty, and seemed not to worry about me photographing them.

On the west side of the building is a large courtyard that separates the cabins from the main hotel. I can see many pachangas (bar-b-ques) being held there on special occasions.

Past the pool are the cabins. They look like they're made of adobe, and continue the Southwest look and feel of the place. I think if we stay there at some point, I'd like to be in a cabin rather than the hotel itself. No particular reason, just a preference.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed this photo tour of the Gage. If you are ever out that way, it deserves at least a stop. Next installment will be the road into Big Bend and the sunset at The Window.

All the best,
Mike Z