Monday, August 27, 2007

(9) part 1, Del Rio Texas, Amistad & Seminole Canyon

Del Rio Texas
Seminole Canyon State Park
(part 1)

I left San Antonio on Sunday and headed to the western most parts of Texas on hwy 90. The traffic was light along the secondary road, mostly 4 lane divided highway. This was one of my many 150 mile treks that I prefer doing. I can usually get to my next site by noon or 1 PM which gives me plenty of time to check out the area.

Hwy 90 is the southern most highway along the Mexican border and I came across a number of Immigration check points. Noting the high but flimsy fences along many stretches of lonely highway. One handsome Hispanic guard saw my Military sticker and we had a brief chat about his working at McDill Airforce base years ago and that he frequently traveled to Orlando. It’s a small world after all… (hum the Disney song).

The land is mostly flat rolling desert land, scrapple rock, barely an inch of sandy gravel soil, with ranches comprising of thousands of acres, required to support the sheep, goats and some cattle ranching. The goats have easily adapted to this region since they will eat virtually anything including the prickly pear cactus.

I stayed a couple of days in the small border town of Del Rio with Lake Amistad (Friendship) to the north of town and creating a huge lake with great fishing for both Mexico and the U.S. It’s easy to cross the boarder here, but I had no interest in shopping across the border at this time. Lake Amistad was created in the late 60’s from damming the Rio Grande, Pecos and Devil River.

A short 50 miles west of Del Rio and I arrived at Seminole Canyon State Park. Glad to be in a state park again. Being surrounded by an early spring green desert landscape. My campsite is on top of a knoll giving me a great expansive view of the arid country side. With low mountains far off on the horizon. I can’t wait till nightfall to see the stars.

In the morning, I joined up with the tour into the canyon to learn more about the Pecos River Indians who created the pictographs. Very little is know of the tribe that created this art 4,000 years ago on the wall overhangs along the canyons in this area. The name of the park itself reflects the later Indians in the area that met and married black slaves who ran away to freedom and became known as Seminoles.

It was a short mile hike down into the canyon and up to the cliff overhangs that contained the pictographs. The guide is a university student working on his final thesis. Knowledgeable to an extent, but a bit too academic for my liking. However, one learns something everyday. I was amazed to learn the average life span of these Indians was about 30 years. What a short life. Living off of small rodents, rabbits, prickly pear cactus and other desert plants that required baking and steaming in ovens for a couple of days to render them eatable. Although deer was prized, it remained a small part of their daily diet. The majority of their diet being vegetarian.
Many holes were dug in the debris littered caverns from years of poachers digging for arrowheads and other Indian artifacts. This canyon was originally part of a large ranch until the 60’s when Texas acquired it and made it into a protected State Park.

I met a couple from the Netherlands who have purchased a class C camper and have traveled from the east coast out hear to Texas. They plan on going home in about a weeks time and will put the camper in storage, with plans to continue their travels back in the states as time permits. Continuing where they left off. Cool concept.

PS, this report had to be split in two because I had so much going on this week. Hope you enjoy both reports.

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