Sunday, March 14, 2010

Big Bend :: The Window

The day gradually warmed up after the “big snow” on Tuesday but overnight it got even colder than the night before, dropping to a chilling 15 degrees. All of the windows were frosted over. But I had been forewarned, dressing in several layers and wrapped within the sleeping bag I stayed warm all night. The new hiking socks made with “smart wool” kept my feet toasty all night too. But the chill of the morning air was shocking so I turned on the van and let it run for about 15 minutes, I needed some warm air!

About 7:30 I decided it was better to move around rather than sit still so I decided to take the short hike to The Window. Short being a relative term, the trail from the campground is about 2 1/2 miles. If you start from the lodge trailhead you add 6/10 of a mile and a 480 foot descent (which means you have a 480 foot ascent on the way back, ugh). Even from the campground there is a 500 foot descent. Since I was already at the campground, that's where I started from.

About half way to the destination, the little “V” between the sharp peak and the rounded one, it had warmed up considerably. The drop in elevation helped but so did the sun reflecting off the walls of the surrounding mountain sides.

The Window is the exit point for all rain water from the Basin to the desert. As you get closer to the Window, about the last half-mile or so, the trail becomes solid stone that has been eroded by the force of the water flowing over it. There were several areas with pools of standing water.

The end of the trail. When it rains the water flows off the edge 200 feet to the desert floor below. I imagine it is quite an impressive waterfall when there is a lot of rain. On certain days of the year the sun can be seen setting between the opening of the “v” between the two rocks in the center.

The bedrock has been worn smooth, not only by the force of the water flowing over it but also by the many hikers who walk out to the edge. I wasn't quite that brave and only ventured to within 10 feet or so of the edge. The bedrock was quite slippery even though it wasn't wet.

I couldn't get a picture of the full height of the rock on either side, but the view was impressive.

And the obligatory self-portrait at the end of the trail. Perhaps it was because of the other hikes I had taken but this was by far the easiest trail I had been on. Except for a few spots, notably at the beginning, the trail descends gradually so it is a much easier trek back than the other trails.

Photographs taken February 24, 2010

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