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OCTOBER 6 & 7, 2018

Wild West BIRD Fest







your BIG BEND starts here ALPINE’s central location offers easy access to everything the Big Bend has to offer, plus the best variety of guest lodging, dining, shopping and nightlife in the region. See us on Facebook or Twitter for the latest event info.

© J. Griffis Smith

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For hotel & event information, give us a call at (432) 837-2326 or

© J. Griffis Smith

Texas Mountain Trail Visit Big Bend and Visit Alpine proudly present:


This two day event features birding events and opportunities, historical site presentations and itineraries and live raptor shows in Brewster, Jeff Davis and Presidio Counties. 2018 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS AND SITES TO SEE

WINGS OVER ALPINE Historic Kokernot Outdoor Amphitheater, Alpine Saturday, October 6, 11am, 1pm & 3pm Sunday, October 7, 11am, 1pm & 3pm Free As always, expect the unexpected when wild animals are asked to put on a show. Envision the sight of Master Falconer John Karger, the director of Last Chance Forever Bird of Prey Conservancy, as he whirls a baited lure and a hawk swoops and picks it out of midair. Or an enormous raptor dives from the branch of the tree above you, right over your shoulder and gracefully lands on a person’s gloved hand. The birds fly with the precision of a fighter pilot as they zoom through, around and even glide above you. Owls, eagles, falcons and hawks will thrill you with their contained power. Even the not so beautiful vulture will charm you as he dances across the lawn in front of you! Majestic is a word that truly describes these dynamic feathered creatures. You will see up close, unique, educational and entertaining bird of prey shows by Last Chance Forever that will leave you awed, inspired and guaranteed to want more! So…When was the last time you saw an eagle from four feet away, or stared into the eyes of an owl? Ever felt the wind from the wings of a hawk as it flies over the top of your head, or wondered about the history of falconry? Every show is a surprise, come as many times as you like to see what happens, IT’S FREE!!! Each show is approximately 45 minutes to an hour long. Plenty of seating but bring a lawn chair if you like. We love your pets too, but please don’t bring them, these are live birds of prey. All donations are appreciated and go directly to support Last Chance Forever.

HISTORY Kokernot Spring, also known as Burgess Waterhole, Charco de Alsate, La Brocha, San Lorenzo, and Aguaje de San Felipe, was on the northeastern edge of Alpine in northwestern Brewster County. The earliest recorded description of the spring was written by Juan Domínguez de Mendoza, who passed through the area in January 1684. He called it San Lorenzo, because of a fire that threatened his party while they were camped at the spring on the night of January 5 (according to the traditions of the Catholic Church, St. Laurence was martyred in the year 258 by being slowly burned to death). In 1787 Gen. Juan de Ugalde attacked a village of Mescalero Apaches at Aguaje de San Felipe (St. Philip’s Waterhole), believed to be Kokernot Spring. In the nineteenth century the spring was an important water source for local Indians; one of its early names, Charco de Alsate, means the waterhole of Alsate, who was a famous Apache chief of the time. Another name, La Brocha, means either “loaded dice” or “paintbrush.” One historian theorized that this name derived either from gambling activity in the vicinity or from a plant near the spring. The United States cavalry used the spring in 1861, and in the late 1850s and 1860s traildrivers and freighters on the Chihuahua Trail stopped there on their way to Mexico. The Chihuahua Trail usually went through Fort Davis, but the new route, through Paisano Pass to the southwest of Alpine, quickly became popular. Sources credit either of two early freighters, John Burgess or August Santleben, with opening this route, which had reportedly been used by the Jumano Indians and by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and Antonio de Espejoqqv on their earlier wanderings through the Trans-Pecos. The spring was named Burgess Waterhole after Burgess’s wagon train was attacked by Indians there; reportedly, one man slipped away and rode to Presidio, bringing soldiers to the rescue. In 1878 the grass at the spring was said to be knee to belly high on horses. In the 1880s the townsite of Alpine, including the spring, was owned by Daniel Murphy and his son Thomas. The Southern Pacific line, which passed within a mile of the spring in 1882, signed a lease to secure water there until it drilled wells; as part of the lease agreement, the railroad agreed to change the name of the section stop there from Osborne to Murphyville. The spring was ultimately named for the brothers John W. and L. M. Kokernot, who established the Kokernot Ranch in the area in the early 1880s. L. M. Kokernot’s son, Herbert Lee Kokernot, donated thirty-seven acres, including the land on which the spring is located, to the state of Texas in 1929 for use as a state park to be administered by Sul Ross State Teacher’s College (now Sul Ross State University).


Marathon Saturday, October 6, 8 am & 5 pm Sunday, October 7, 8am & 5pm 5 miles south of Marathon on Ave D Free BIRDING AT THE POST Experts Jim & Barbara Hines will be stationed at the Post during Wild West Bird Fest both Saturday and Sunday at 8am and 5pm to help you identify the birds and other wildlife that frequent there. Bring a picnic lunch or an evening wine and cheese basket to enjoy this wonderful desert sanctuary even more. HISTORY THE POST - LOCATED AT CAMP PEÑA COLORADO -The creek and spring at Rainbow Cliffs, five miles southwest of present day Marathon, Texas was a significant water source on the old Comanche Trial. This trail extending south from the Horsehead Crossing on the Pecos River was used by the Indians on their annual trip since about 1780, passing into Mexico. The site is also on the “cutoff road” used by the San Antonio to Chihuahuan freighters passing thru the area from about 1800. Prior to these, the trail was part of the old “salt road” extending from Mexico, used by the Spanish, traveling to the salt lakes located north of the Pecos River? Native Indians had occupied the region and used water from the springs for the past 9,000 years. The rock formations exposed in the region date before four million years ago. During the last one hundred years, the area has been used for ranching. Source: J. Travis Roberts, Jr


Fort Davis Saturday, October 6, 7:15am & 1:30pm Sunday October 7, 7:15am & 1:30pm Guided trips to private bird photography blinds just 30 minutes out of Fort Davis deep in the beautiful Davis Mountains. We are offering (4) half day trips each day for both mornings and evenings with Big Bend Birding & Photo Tours. The morning trips will depart from Fort Davis at 7:15 a.m and return by noon. The afternoon trips will depart Fort Davis at 1:30 p.m. and return by 7:00 p.m. Call 432.386.6855 or visit to reserve your spot for this amazing opportunity. The cost for a half-day shoot is $125 and if you book both sessions for the day it is $185. Transportation to the site is included.


Fort Davis State Hwy 118, 3 miles NW of Fort Davis 432.426.3337 Park admission $6 per adult, children 12 and under free October 6, 9am BIRDING WALK ON THE WILD SIDE Davis Mountains State Park HQ. Join Park Hosts and experienced birders Steve and Sue on a slow 1 mile hike that explores lower Limpia Canyon in our Primitive Area. We’ll go birding, ID plants, talk about the history of the park and more. Bring water, dress for the weather and grab your binoculars! October 7, 9am BIRDING IN THE BLIND Davis Mountains State Park’s Wildlife Viewing Area. Join Park Hosts and experienced birders Steve and Sue and let’s figure out what’s flying by! You just might discover a new hobby! Binoculars recommended. HISTORY The Davis Mountains area has a long history of human occupation dating back at least 10,000 years. Native Americans used the mountains and canyons as a sanctuary through the late 1800s. The lower end of Limpia Creek provided water for them yearround. In 1583, a Spanish expedition led by Antonio de Espejo passed through and camped in Keesey Canyon. Hopes of mineral wealth, pastoral lands, and Christianizing the native peoples drew the Spanish to the area. After the war with Mexico, a wave of gold seekers, settlers and traders arrived. As West Texas settlements increased, raiding in Mexico and along the San Antonio-El Paso Trail became a way of life for Apaches, Kiowas and Comanches. The settlers needed protection. U.S. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis (who later served as president of the Confederacy) ordered the construction of the Fort Davis army post. The mountains carry his name, also. In 1923, the Texas State Legislature directed the State Parks Board to investigate the Davis Mountains region as a major park destination. However, Davis Mountains State Park wasn’t established until 1933 with 560 acres largely donated by local landowners devastated by the Great Depression. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built much of the park.

FOR HISTORY BUFFS: FORT DAVIS NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE Fort Davis Set in the rugged beauty of the Davis Mountains of west Texas, Fort Davis is one of America’s best surviving examples of an Indian Wars frontier military post in the Southwest. From 1854 to 1891, Fort Davis was strategically located to protect emigrants, mail coaches, and freight wagons on the Trans-Pecos portion of the San Antonio-El Paso Road and the Chihuahua Trail, and to control activities on the southern stem of the Great Comanche War Trail and Mescalero Apache war trails. Fort Davis is important in understanding the presence of African Americans in the West and in the frontier military because the 24th and 25th U.S. Infantry and the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry, all-black regiments established after the Civil War, were stationed at the post. Today, twenty-four roofed buildings and over 100 ruins and foundations are part of Fort Davis National Historic Site. Five of the historic buildings have been refurnished to the 1880s, making it easy for visitors to envision themselves being at the fort at the height of its development.

BUILDING 98 AT FORT D. A. RUSSELL Marfa Building 98 is the historic US army base bachelor officer quarters, officers club, and grand ballroom in Marfa, Texas; it was active from 1911 to 1946. Building 98 is Located at Fort David A. Russell’s central fort complex. It is a project of the International Woman’s Foundation and it is the home of the World War II German prisoners of war POW murals.

MUSEUM OF THE BIG BEND Alpine Housed in the remaining native rock structure on the Sul Ross State University Campus, the Museum of the Big Bend provides visitors with an overview of the region’s human occupation that spans the last eleven thousand years. Four distinct cultures emerged across the Big Bend over the course of this period, shaping a rich cultural diversity. The Museum’s mission – to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret the cultural artifacts of the region – began in earnest with the Museum’s construction in 1937, a project funded by the Texas Centennial Commission and assisted by the Works Progress Administration. Since then, the Museum’s unique native stone building has undergone renovations and restoration both inside and out. Today, the Museum’s holdings include artifacts and exhibits exploring the Big Bend Legacy, an extensive archive of early Texas maps called the Yana & Marty Davis Map Collection, late 19th and early 20th century retablos (small, personal devotional paintings on tin), and the intriguing Livermore Cache, a collection of unique arrowheads discovered on top of Mount Livermore, the Davis Mountains’ highest peak. The Museum also hosts the “Trappings of Texas”, a nationally acclaimed tradition, this annual exhibition of cowboy gear and western art attracts visitors from all over the world. Perhaps the Museum’s most popular exhibit with the smallest visitors, however, is its life-size replica of Quetzalcoatulus Northropi. This Pterosaur, with its 36 foot wingspan, was a very early inhabitant of the region. FORT LEATON STATE HISTORIC SITE Presidio Fort Leaton State Historic Site, consisting of 23.4 acres, five of which are the site of a pioneer trading post, is located in Presidio County. The park was acquired Dec. 8, 1967, by deed from a private owner and was opened to the public in 1978. In 1848, Ben Leaton built a fortified adobe trading post known as Fort Leaton. He dominated border trade with the Apache and Comanche Indians before he died in 1851. fort-leaton

FOR THOSE WANTING TO TREK SOUTH: LAJITAS Lajitas is in southwestern Brewster County. It is at an altitude of 2,200 feet on a bluff overlooking the Rio Grande at the San Carlos ford of the old Comanche Trail, in the northern part of the Chihuahuan Desert and at the southern extreme of the Rocky Mountains. The name Lajitas is Spanish for “little flat rocks” and refers to the Boquillas limestone of the area. TERLINGUA

Perhaps the best-kept secret about the Big Bend is the view from the porch in Terlingua Ghost Town. Most afternoons you can see the Santa Fe de Los Pinos mountain range over 80 miles south in Mexico, and of course such local landmarks as the Chisos Mountains and Mule Ears peaks. Visitors will also find a trading company/gift shop, art galleries, unique lodging options, restaurants, and bars. Terlingua was a mining town around the turn of the century and was the site of the first famous championship chili cook off in 1967, that today draws over 10,000 “chili heads” from all over the world. STUDY BUTTE Study Butte is just two miles west of Big Bend National Park. There are outdoor activity outfitters, lodging options, gift shops and galleries, convenience stores, restaurants, auto service, a gas station, churches, a post office, ATM, and a liquor store SHAFTER GHOSTOWN Shafter is on Cibolo Creek and U.S. Highway 67, at the east end of the Chinati Mountains eighteen miles north of Presidio in southern Presidio County. Its history is closely tied to silver mining. There is evidence that the Spaniards prospected for valuable ores in the area during the early 1600s, but Shafter became a mining town only after September 1880, when John W. Spencer, a freighter turned prospector, found silver ore there.

BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK The highlight attraction of the entire region. The 800,000-acre national park contains three basic habitats: river, desert, and mountains. Big Bend National Park encompasses the largest protected area of the Chihuahuan Desert in the United States. 451 species of birds have been documented in Big Bend National Park. Visit here - to see charts and maps to recent bird sightings. BIG BEND RANCH STATE PARK

Although just west of The National Park, Big Bend Ranch State Park offers a completely different experience with rugged volcanic landscapes and many opportunities for backcountry solitude. It offers 275,000 acres of managed wilderness. Much of The Park is high desert uplands and peaks that average over 4000 feet. category/bb-state-park/

SELF-GUIDED/DIY BIRDING The 505 – Hawk Alley Ranch Rd 505 is a must if you love raptors. Go early in the morning and you might see Swainson’s Hawks in migration, prairie falcon, burrowing owl, Northern Harrier, American kestrel, possibly Peregrine or Merlin falcons, ravens and if you are lucky…. Golden Eagles are frequently spotted here. 505 is the cut-off between the Davis Mountains Scenic Loop 166 and Hwy 90. Mimms Unit – Marfa Mimms Unit encompasses 11,000 acres on the northwest edge of Marfa, an area that boasts some of Texas’ finest rangeland. This property is a precious piece of the Chihuahuan Desert region, where desert grasslands are a critical ecosystem for many plants and animals, particularly migratory birds. Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center & Botanical Garden - Fort Davis Over five miles of hiking trails, desert botanical garden, cactus & succulent greenhouse, the Heritage Mining Exhibit, the geologic timeline display and gift shop. Make time to see the new bird blind featuring an enclosed viewing area, screens on both sides for photography and a 30’ long water feature.

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Wild West Bird Fest and Texas Mountain Trail Historic Trek  
Wild West Bird Fest and Texas Mountain Trail Historic Trek