The River’s Sister

POTD-3-26-12 Devils River ViewThere’s been a lot on here lately about the Pecos River, but I just ran across a great article (published nine years ago, actually) about the Devils River. Texas Monthly writer S.C. Gwynne uses vivid description and geographic context to put his readers on one of the most beautiful rivers in the southwest.

The paragraph in Gwynn’s piece that caught my attention would have been a spot on description of the Pecos, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. The two rivers are, after all, sisters, both born of the collision between the Trans-Pecos Mountains and the Edwards Plateau, and there are similarities between the two: they’re both pretty desolate, at least by my standards; both have an abundance of river cane, which I’ve come to hate lately; they both feed Lake Amistad; and both have a tendency to flood on you.

But I digress. In this passage, from his piece Texas Monthly piece titled, Run with the Devils, Gwynn does a nice job of taking you to the rugged area surrounding the river, even if just for a few minutes.

By S.C.Gwynne (Texas Monthly):
“The Devils River is as close as you can get, in Texas, to the middle of nowhere. That is saying something, considering that much of the western part of the state is devoid of human life. In the Big Bend country there are at least familiar landmarks. In the Panhandle there are cities and towns. Here, there is pretty much nothing. The river originates in a series of creeks near the towns of Ozona and Sonora that merge near the ghost town of Juno. Thus formed, the Devils tumbles roughly a hundred miles southward through a gigantic swath of mesquite-dotted emptiness until it dumps into Lake Amistad, north of Del Rio. Because there is hardly any civilization anywhere in its four-thousand-square-mile watershed—there isn’t even much livestock—there is little pollution of any kind. Ecologically speaking, the land is a one-of-a-kind hybrid, a collision of Hill Country limestone river bottoms, Chihuahuan Desert uplands, and what botanists refer to as Tamaulipan thornscrub, basically Mexican brushlands. To me it just looks like John Wayne country—immense cactus- and mesquite-covered mesas cut by twisting, rock-toothed canyons.”

To read Gwynn’s entire account of his trip, click here:

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