GUIDED TRIPS WITH MIKE DAVIDSON

TOUR ITINERARY RESERVA NATURAL EL CARMEN

Itinerary for Reserva Natural El Carmen, 4 days and 3 nights

Day 1- 9am Meet at the Boquillas Port of Entry, cross Rio Bravo

             Snack/beverage for the road, depart Boquillas.
Drive by villages of Las Norias and Jaboncillos

Noon  Arrive Pilares, HQ for Reserva Natural El Carmen (RNEC).
Welcome and room assignments. Hot lunch served

2 PM    Depart to view Desert Bighorn Sheep

2:00 pm Depart for Desert Big Horn viewing. Reserva El Carmen maintains a 12,000 acre electrified enclosure to protect growing herds of Desert Big Horn Sheep. Once target herd size is reached, sheep may be captured and released into the open reserve or transferred to other protected areas in Northern Mexico. Currently there are over 100 head inside.

5:00 pm Return to Pilares for free time and social hour. Dinner is served around 7:30 pm, depending on season

Day 2- 7:00 am Coffee and beverage service begins

8:00 am Breakfast is served

9:00 am Depart Pilares headed up San Isidro Canyon. San Isidro Canyon’s massive limestone walls are reminiscent of the spectacular canyons of the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park. We stop at a shelter cave / archeological site that was used for centuries by humans and these days, by wildlife. In this section we may see an elk; our guide/biologist knows how to call them.

We climb to about 6000 feet in elevation and the site of the old Fronterizo Mine, once a source of gold and silver for the miners tough enough to come dig it up. The miners have long since left, but the bears are still around, leaving their pawprints in the delapidated sheet metal miner’s shacks. We will enjoy a nice picnic lunch at this location.

After lunch we descend into a tree lined arroyo and follow an old road that once connected, Muzquiz Coahuila and Ojinaga Chihuahua, which carried traffic to and from the l ocal ranches and mines. This is where history fades into legend. The setting for outlaws and revolutionaries during the early 20th century, our walk begins at an historic cemetery. It is speculated that Mexican president Benito Juarez followed this route as he fled invading French forces in 1863 en route to exile in El Paso, TX. This beautiful streambed waas long ago named Cayon de Juarez

5:00 pm Return to Pilares to relax before happy hour and dinner

Day 3-7:00 am Coffee and beverage service begins

8:00 am Breakfast is served

9:00 am Depart Pilares headed to the high country. This road into the high Maderas del Carmen gains almost 5000 vertical feet, and offers an interesting 4 wheel drive challenge. We stop along the way to take in the magnificent views, and check out the hillsides for bear and other large mammals. It is not uncommon to spot bear along this route; once we are into the wooded areas the animals have more cover to hide from prying human eyes.

Once “on top”, we enter an increasingly wooded landscape, with live streams and a variety of plant and bird life. We stop at several locations for beautiful scenery and historic significance. We have lunch at “Campo 2”, a facility that will soon be available for overnight stays in the Maderas del Carmen high country at 7500 feet above sea level.

5:00 pm Return to Pilares to relax before happy hour and dinner

Day 4- 7:00 am Coffee and beverage service begins

8:00 am Breakfast is served

9:00 am Depart Pilares headed to Arroyo Morteros. A “mortero” is a stone mortar that has been slowly carved into solid rock over centuries of use by indigneous peoples. They were certainly used to grind grains, but may have also been used for storage or even fermentation by natives prior to the introduction of ceramics. It is in the vast rolling grasslands in the area that Reserva El Carmen plans to release a small herd of American Bison in November of 2019. The list of large fauna that may be seen on a tour to Reserva El Carmen will soon include bison as well as black bear, desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, Del Carmen white tail deer, pronghorn and elk.

1:00 pm Hot lunch at Pilares main dining hall.

2:00 pm Depart for Boquillas, drive of approximately 1:45 minutes. Arrive in time to have a cold beverage before crossing the Rio Grande back into the US and Big Bend National Park.

4:30 pm Cross the river to the Boquillas Port of Entry and parking lot

Mule Deer
La Sierra Maderas del Carmen
Desert Bighorn male
Canyon de Juarez