This turn in the Rio Grande has hosted volcanoes, dinosaurs, Chisos Indians and a vast array of wild life through the course of 10,000 years. Today Big Bend National Park encompasses more than 800,000 acres along 118 miles of the Rio Grande that also marks the border between Mexico and the United States. Big Bend protects the largest area of Chihuahuan Desert and ecology in the U.S. and invites visitors to hike, backpack and raft through this remarkable landscape.
Big Bend National Park 2021 monthly wall calendar features: 24 full-color images | Large blocks for notes | Beautiful reproduction | Quality heavy-weight paper | Deluxe 11- by 14-inch size
Pictures of locales, fauna and flora featured in the 2021 calendar include:
• Snow covers the Basin in Big Bend National Park on a cold January day.
• Coyote are often seen in the park, and if left alone pose no danger to humans.
• Green Gulch is the area along the Chisos Basin Road. Yucca, prickly pear, sotol, wildflowers, and other plants carpet the landscape.
• Greater roadrunner can be seen on park roads. They often turn their back to the sun and fluff their feathers.
• Big Bend bluebonnets are one of five species of lupines in Texas. Bluebonnets are the Texas state flower, but the Big Bend bluebonnet is the state’s tallest lupine.
• Large rocks are a great place to spot greater earless lizards on warm days.
• The Window View is the iconic view in Big Bend National Park. The notch is formed by drainage from the Chisos Mountains Basin.
• Brown Flowered Cactus bloom in places throughout the park in the spring.
• The cliffs of Santa Elena Canyon rise 1,500 feet above the desert floor. Mexico is on the right and the United States is on the left with the Rio Grande in the middle.
• Solidified volcanic ash in Tuff Canyon forms a magical landscape at the base of Cerro Castellan on Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive.
• The Trans-Pecos area of Texas, including Big Bend, has 16 species of Opuntia cactus. Prickly pear blooms reach their peak during the middle of the day.
• The summer monsoon rains bring lightning to the Big Bend region. The wide-open spaces allow spectacular views of the show.
• The nature trail at Dugout Wells is a great place to see blooming cactus in the summer.
• A clear, starry night above Big Bend reveals the earth’s rotation in this long-exposure image. Big Bend National Park is a “dark sky park” and has the least amount of light pollution of any national park unit in the lower 48 states.
• Carmen White-tailed deer evolved from deer isolated in the Chisos Mountains during the last ice age.
• Balanced Rock marks the end of the Grapevine Hills Trail in Big Bend. The easy, 2.2-mile round-trip trail is a favorite with park visitors.
• Ocotillo leaf-out and bloom with the rains. They are found throughout the park.
• Light from the morning sun illuminates peaks in the Chisos Mountains along Green Gulch.
• Vermilion flycatcher can be found in the trees along the Rio Grande throughout the year.
• The Chisos Mountains rise majestically along the horizon with the Rio Grande in the foreground.
• Black bear found their way back to Big Bend from Mexico in the 1980s. Today the park’s restored habitat supports a healthy population of bears.
• Cottonwoods at Daniels Ranch in Rio Grande Village put on a show in December. Mexico’s Sierra Del Carmen range rises in the distance.
• Green-tailed towhee are commonly found in Big Bend from autumn through spring.
About Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park encompasses more than 800,000 acres in West Texas. The park protects the largest segment of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in America. The park is host to more than 75 mammal species, 56 types of reptile, 450 different bird species, and more than 1,200 plant species. The Rio Grande/Rio Bravo streams along the southern edge of the park and a large bend in the river provided the park’s name.
Nomadic hunter-gatherers lived in the area of the park for thousands of years, eventually establishing groups we know as the Chisos, Mescaleros and Comanche tribes. The first efforts to survey the desert followed at the end of Mexican-American War in 1848. The U.S. Army established forts and outposts across Trans-Pecos to protect migrating settlers from Indian attacks. Ranchers began settling in Big Bend in the 1880s. The discovery of mineral deposits brought mining and additional settlement to Big Bend.
In the 1930s farming and mining were in decline, but Texans wanted to preserve the land and the state legislature established Texas Canyons State Park there in 1933. The State of Texas deeded the state park land to the federal government and Big Bend National Park was established in June of 1944.
Big Bend remains one of America’s largest and most remote national parks. Still, its unique landscape attracts thousands of hikers and backpackers every year. The park also provides recreational access to the Rio Grande through river outfitters that provide river tours and float trips.
In addition to exploring the landscape, along with the park’s flora and fauna, Big Bend is an ideal place to explore the night sky. The park was designated an international dark-sky park in 2012 by the International Dark-Sky Association. Studies by the National Park Service show that Big Bend has the darkest skies in the contiguous United States. On a clear, dark night Big Bend invites you to see into the universe.
About Author Kathy Adams Clark
Kathy Adams Clark has been a professional nature photographer since 1995. Her photos have been published in hundreds of publications, including: Family Fun, Nature's Best, New York Times, Birder's World, and Ranger Rick. AAA Journey, Texas Parks & Wildlife and Texas Highways magazines have used Kathy’s photos on covers. Her photos have also appeared in a numerous books and calendars.
Every week one of Kathy’s pictures accompanies the "Nature" column in the Houston Chronicle written by her husband, Gary Clark. Kathy and Gary have worked with national publishing houses to produce ten books that combine their photography and writing skills. Their latest books are Book of Texas Birds, published by Texas A&M University Press, and Backroads of Texas, published by Voyageur Press.
Kathy is past-president of the North American Nature Photography Association. She teaches photography and leads photo excursions with Strabo Tours to countries including Costa Rica, Spain, Africa, Italy, Peru, Morocco, and Bhutan.
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