Mesa de Anguila Backpack Trip - January 2007
The pictures shown here are from a four day private trip to Mesa de Anguila in Big Bend National Park on January 25-28, 2007. Zeev Saggi and Tom Green contributed to the pictures.
Ze'ev Saggi organized the trip. The other trip participants were John Shannon, David Van Winkle, Kathryn Hurn, Tom Green, Bill Beach, Jay Davison, and me.
Here is what we did...
Wednesday: As we headed toward Big Bend National Park, we drove through a few snow showers. When we got into the park, we saw that the Chisos Mountains were covered in white. We drove up to the Basin to check it out and found, not snow, but ice. Freezing mist had covered all of the vegetation with a coating of ice. It was quite spectacular.
Thursday: We started hiking from the Lajitas trailhead a little before 9:00. We hiked the north route, visiting Tinaja Lujan on the way, to our camp near the wax camp near Tinaja Largo. We camped there three nights, dayhiking on Friday and Saturday and backpacking back to Lajitas on Sunday. We got to camp at about 3:30 after 8.5 miles of hiking.
Friday: We left camp at about 9:00 and hiked to the far eastern end of the Mesa. From there you get a great view of the mouth of Santa Elena Canyon, the Rio Grande River flowing off to the east and Terlingua Creek as it flows into the Rio Grande. We then hiked along the canyon rim for a couple of miles before making our way back to camp. We got back to camp at about 5:30 after hiking about 11.6 miles.
Saturday: We left camp at 9:00 again. We hiked south to the Mesa de Anguila Sinkhole. We climbed down into the sinkhole as far as you can go without climbing gear, about 35 or 40 feet. David, Bill, and Jay did some canyon exploring in the area while the rest of us continued south to the rim of Santa Elena Canyon. Once there, we hiked along the rim, up canyon, for a couple of miles to an excellent overlook of The Rockslide, the only significant rapid on this section of the Rio Grande. We then returned to camp, arriving at 5:20 after 8.5 miles of hard hiking.
Sunday: Our last day, we broke camp about 9:00 again and got ready to head back to Lajitas. We hiked to the north side of Canyon Flag, a small mesa that is the highest point on Mesa de Anguila. We dropped our packs and climbed to the top of Canyon Flag. It is flat and easy walking once you are on top. After returning to our packs and having lunch, we hiked on toward Lajitas, descended The Saddle. We got to our cars at 5:20 after 10.9 miles of hiking. From there it was showers in Lajitas and dinner and beer in Terlingua.
Overall, we covered almost 40 miles on our four-day hike.