Saturday, September 12, 2015

Number 58: Hueco Tanks State Park

Before we even reached the park back in July.  Before we knew the park's boundaries.  We knew this one was going to be a little different.  It sits outside El Paso in what seems like the middle of nowhere.


The main attractions of the park are the three 450 foot high rock areas that were thrust up out of the desert.  They are dwarfed by the surrounding mountains and much different in their make up.


But like I said, we knew it was going to be different before we reached the gate.  This coyote was a clue.




And so was this road runner.  I was so happy to get pictures of him.  We have seen them in other parks, but I have never been able to snap a shot before they jetted off into the shrubs.


 Before heading out on our hike we were required to watch a video about the park explaining its history and conservation efforts.



But it's not the wildlife the TPWD is trying to protect so much as the amazing 3000 Pictographs and artifacts found throughout the rock dating back 10,000 to 11,000 years.


After the movie, Breck and I got a map from the Ranger and hiked to one of the many locations to see some of the pictographs for ourselves - Kiva Cave.


The opening to the cave is narrow, but once you crawl your way inside the temperature drops and the amazing pictographs are visible above your head.




It's very cool to see something so old.


And if it were not for the pictographs the cave would still be stunning.


Hiking around the rocks was pretty cool too.  So interesting to me all the nooks and crannies the plants find to grow in.



I was happy to get so many wildlife shots here.


I count this park as very special.  Being able to see the pictographs and photograph two animals that have been on my list for so long made it a real treat.



It's too bad that so many people have defaced many of the pictographs and that portions of the park are only open by tours now to protect the history.  Honestly, I find it pretty sad that a sign like this is even necessary.


We only explored a very small section of the park, but with our travels to and from California I have no doubt we will pass this way again and take the tour of the rest of the park and more pictographs.