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Mountain Bluejay and Lost Mine Peak

We were headed to the top of Mount Emory. My brother-in-law and I were determined to climb to the highest point in Big Bend National Park, the second tallest peak in Texas.

We had spent the night before fairly comfortable in a wind-blown tent, perched high in the Chisos Mountains on the edge of the Basin. On that high ridge, three thousand feet above our vehicle and campsite, we watched the sun go down through "The Window," a notch in the mountains looking out on the Chihuahuan desert.

Now, with the dawn, we began the hard climb, another three thousand feet up, to the peak.

I saw this photo halfway to the top. Lit by the morning sun against a backdrop of the mist-covered Lost Mine Peak, a mountain bluejay stopped for a moment in the branches of this tree.

I quickly leaned out over a log at the edge of the trail and snapped this photo with my Nikon FA. The bluejay flew, and I was only able to get off a couple of shots.

But the stop gave us a breather, and soon we were scrambling up and over the rocky ledges that made up the last hundred feet to the top.

Was the climb worth it for a couple of old men? Yes, the view was spectacular.

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