Closed Canyon, Big Bend State Park, TX, Oct. 18, 2014

Liz and I are on a road trip to the Solar Eclipse Conference in southern New Mexico Oct. 23-26 and are checking out some national parks on the way. As we were driving Friday Liz noted we were passing through Marfa, Texas, home of the Chinati Art Foundation, so we spent a night there and took the morning tour. We left Marfa Saturday ~2PM for our original first objective of Big Bend. On the way we passed Elephant Rock.

From Presidio the road follows the Rio Grande through Big Bend State Park to Lajitas, then on to Terlingua, from where we would explore Big Bend National Park.

Along the State Park road is a hiking trail into a Closed Canyon, a short slot. It was a toasty 95F when we parked at 3:45PM, but within 5 minutes we were at the slot entrance.

The upper part is quite wide and flat, but still tall enough to be mostly in the shade.

Soon the canyon narrows and we encounter our first water features.

The potholes were similar to our first slot Egypt3 in Escalante in 2011.

However, instead of the fine red dust/slick mud in Utah, here the loose sediment was gravel.

There was one other car at the trailhead. We met the 4 guys in it headed out. They turned around before the deepest pothole as they didn’t want to get wet.

From our prior experience we knew to wear swimsuits and river shoes.

Soon we turned back too, due to this 10 foot dropoff.

The picture is taken vertically. There was a large spike driven into the rock, so people with climbing gear could rappel down and continue on to the Rio Grande.

Climbing back up:

And we’re back in the wider part.

Here’s another sign we’re in Texas.

This guy was about 5 inches long.

Closed Canyon is only about a mile to the 10-foot drop off. We were back in the car by 5:30.

Soon we came upon the Contrabando Movie Set. It looks like an abandoned settlement, but it was built for filming a few westerns. Classic look here:

But it’s also next to the river.

I was contemplating an illegal border crossing, but the current was too strong over shallow rocks here.