8.03.2010,12:36 PM
Big Bend, Big Clouds
People are astonished when told that Big Bend has a rainy season. "What? But it is a desert!" Well, yes, it is a desert, but it is not the Sahara Desert. 

The average annual precipitation in Big Bend region ranges from 7-10 inches, depending on the area. The average rainfall in the Terlingua area is 8 inches per year. For those who rely on water catchment systems to meet their household water needs, that isn't much. In addition, the annual rainfall usually occurs within a few months of the year: July - August.

This year's precipitation has been well above average. Some places measured 8 inches already by July 4th. The green carpeting the desert floor made that apparent. We had some measurable rain -drizzle to downpours- every day while we were there recently. And it was most pleasurable. It was also the first time I experienced an electrical storm in Big Bend. Icing on the cake was a rainbow while we sat on Sunset Ridge. 

In Big Bend country, everything is big: the mountains, open spaces, thorns, snakes, deer, to name a few.  Sure, small things also share the landscape side by side. Above the landscape, the sky is big. The clouds are enormous. And they change all the time. It is not uncommon to watch shadows chase the sunlight along the desert floor and mountains. This, in fact, is one of my loves of the area, and one of my favorite photographic subjects: shadows. They almost appear alive as they creep across the terrain. 

Clouds often play hide and seek with the mountains

And if one looks closely, you can see the sun hiding in odd places. Such as mud puddles. 

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posted by Macrobe
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