Monday, June 20, 2016

Troll & The World's 2nd Largest Roadrunner

On a rainy spring afternoon, Earth Troll found himself in Fort Stockton, Texas. Naturally he had to stop to say "Howdy" to Paisano Pete.

Built in 1979, Paisano Pete was for 23 years the World's Largest Roadrunner. He held the title until a larger one was built in New Mexico in 2002. At 22 feet long and 11 feet tall, he now holds the distinction of being the world's 2nd largest roadrunner.

The good folks of Fort Stockton don't care though. They still proudly claim Paisano Pete as the town's mascot and just recently gave the bird a new coat of paint.


Monday, June 6, 2016

Troll in Big Bend National Park

Entrance sign to the park.
In far southwest Texas on the Mexican border in a bend in the Rio Grande River is a land of contrasts - desert, mountains & lush river bottoms. Big Bend National Park, encompassing over 800,000 acres, is home to a desert amphibian, the Couch spadefoot toad, which lives nowhere else and an even rarer fish that lives in just one pond inside the park. Big Bend is the most ecologically diverse park in the entire national parks system with more species of birds, plants, butterflies, bats, reptiles, and even ants than any other U.S. national park.

From the lowest point in the park at Rio Grande Village (1,850' elevation) to Emory Peak at 7,825', it's not uncommon for the temperature to be 20 F degrees different. There are many recreational opportunities and if you seek solitude, there are numerous hiking trails that are long, rugged, remote and rarely traveled. Over 118 miles of the Rio Grande River borders the park and provides unforgettable river trips by canoe and kayak through dramatic 1,500' canyon walls.

Monk Troll totally enjoyed his visit to Big Bend National Park in the spring of 2016. What he found most enjoyable was the awesome setting for nature to display the splendor and wonders humans have been blessed to have and enjoy if only we would slow down. There were numerous moments of solitude to just sit and feel ever so small as you attempt to take it all in and contemplate your place in the grand picture. John Muir said, Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pry in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”  Big Bend is just such a place.

The mountains known as "Mule Ears"
in the background.

At the remote Castolon Ranger Station
in the park.
Sitting on an old wagon near
Castolon Station.

Overlooking Santa Elena Canyon.
Start of the Santa Elena Canyon Trail.

Mouth of the Santa Elena Canyon
with 1,500' cliffs.
The western park entrance/exit.