Hike-of-the-day was the Lost Mine Canyon Trail, 5 miles round-trip, and easily the best trail we’ve hiked yet. Traversing desert, mountain woodlands and high canyon rim, it offered breathtaking views around every bend. We saw vegetation that exists nowhere else in the park (mountain juniper, Spanish madrone, Mexican piñon and a rare prickly pear variant) plus lots of warblers, a pyrrhuloxia (relative to the northern Cardinal) western bluebirds, a blue grosbeak, three javelinas and enough grey fox scat to fill a good-sized bowl. The views were just the best, and breathtaking in every direction. We saw all the way to the south rim of the Chisos Basin, clear to our next camping ground in the west, Terlingua, and into Pine Canyon and Juniper Canyon, both heavily treed and sporting impressive geology.
We crossed paths for a second time with the Dallas Episcopal schoolkids who are field-tripping here on a curriculum called Classroom of the Earth. They were at the trail summit, camped out on the rocks having lunch and lecture. They are so much fun to meet on the trail, we hope our grandkids can have a similar experience, as well (when they are 7th-graders, that is!)
To relax our weary, blistered feet and sore legs, we took a dip in the Hot Springs on the drive home. Lots of people also had that idea, as the spot was full, and 105-degree water felt divine to all of us.
We’ve met wonderful people in this park. So very many from Michigan, but also Quebec, Oregon, New York, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Texas. National Park people are our people!