The Balanced Rock

My primary purpose for going out to Big Bend National Park was to shoot the night sky as the park is a very dark sky site. But, I got there well before sunset and had time to hike around during the golden hour. I saw on the map a road up to a hiking trail to Balanced Rock in the Grapevine Hills area. So, I drove up this very rough road to the trail head. The drive was very slow to prevent damage to my car, but it was a passable road for my car (a Highlander crossover), but I would not take this road in a sedan or small car.

The hiking trail to balanced rock is an easy walk through a canyon for most of the trail, but ends with a moderate climb to the eponymous balanced rock. Below is a photo looking back down the trail at the distant cliffs lit by the late afternoon sun.

Balanced Rock Hiking Trail at Big Bend National Park
Balanced Rock Hiking Trail at Big Bend National Park

I included a yucca in the foreground to give you something to look at, but the distant cliffs in the evening side-light are the reason I took the photo. I also brought up the exposure in the foreground quite a lot.

After climbing a bit toward the balanced rock, I turned and took this photo looking back down the valley toward the parking lot. I liked the way I could see the trail winding through the valley with all of the boulders on the cliff sides.

Balanced Rock Hiking Trail at Big Bend National Park
Balanced Rock Hiking Trail at Big Bend National Park

This is probably my best photo of this hike. Shot at 35mm instead of wider, I think that it features the distant cliffs and mountains well and the eye can follow the trail. I was actually kind of excited when I saw this view as I thought that it would make a fine photo.

And then at the top of the trail is the balanced rock that you have heard so much about. I guess the boulder tumbled down the mountain and came to rest against the larger boulder there. There were large boulders just laying around everywhere up here, as if they were toys that a kid didn’t put away.

Balanced Rock at Big Bend National Park
Balanced Rock at Big Bend National Park

This was a nice hike that took a little over an hour. I only saw one other person on the trail on this afternoon so I mostly had the place to myself. I did see the occasional colorful lizard. They were pretty but difficult to photograph.

Lizard in Big Bend National Park
Lizard in Big Bend National Park

As I got back to the parking lot, the sun was beginning to set. There were few clouds on the horizon to make a colorful sunset, but I didn’t want to see any clouds – I was out here for the night sky. The following picture was taken from the parking lot for the Balanced Rock hiking trail. It looks across the desert to the sun setting behind the distant mountains.

Sunset at Big Bend National Park
Sunset at Big Bend National Park

There really wasn’t anything in the foreground to worry about bringing up in processing.

So, I slowly retraced my path down the bumpy dirt road as the ambient light faded. As I made it back to the main road, I took another quick photo of the mountains silhouetted against the sunset.

Sunset at Big Bend National Park
Sunset at Big Bend National Park

I then headed for an overlook called Sotol Vista, a high vantage point which looks to the South. The night sky cleared and I had a beautiful view of the heavens. I will post photos from that in my next blog. Thanks for reading and leave a comment if you like.

9 thoughts on “The Balanced Rock

  1. The desert there looks a lot like our desert, out here. I like the framing of the balanced rock, and the description of rocks as being toys that a kid didn’t put away. That’s my favorite kind of desert, where large boulders are scattered around. Looking forward to the night sky pix.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would like to think that I could man-handle a boulder the size of an SUV around like that. I would probably just end up dropping it on my foot.

      I was actually hoping for a very plain and boring sunset. I wanted no clouds. I was watching the silhouetted mountains while driving down the dirt road and had to stop and shoot the last photo out the passenger side window, zoomed in on the mountains. It was hard not to stare.

      On a side note, I am please with myself that I can reliably type the word ‘silhouette’ without the spell-checker underlining it. If you knew my history with spelling and grammar, you’d understand. I’m glad I was given such an easy name to spell.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lmao I think you’re being just a tad hard on yourself, spelling and dropping that rock on your foot wise. The one word that I can never get right is narcissistic, don’t ask me why. I’m sure the sunset was hard not to stare at sometimes they are just so beautiful.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks. If I joke about myself, nobody gets offended with me. I have resisted many temptations for comments in your road-rage comment section.

        Fortunately, I was on a slow dirt road by myself and if I got distracted by the sunset I was only at risk of killing a few suicidal rabbits.

        Liked by 1 person

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