The Big Bend Ranch State Park trails out of the Contrabando Trailhead were so much fun the other day that we decided to ride the rest of them another time. Starting from the same place, we rode all the other trails, stopping at the East Trailhead to chat with some folks visiting from Houston before continuing our ride on more singletrack. Our entire loop was 27 miles with 2283’ climbing.
Along the way we stopped to look, but there wasn’t much in the way of remnants from the Fresno Wax Company. Candelilla processing peaked during World War I when the US Army used it to waterproof canvas and ammunition. By the mid 20’s demand and profit fell and the company closed. Candelilla means “little candle” in Spanish and comes from the slender wax-covered stems of the plant. Burros hauled heavy bundles of candelilla stem to the camp’s processing vats where the candelilleros boiled the plants in water and sulfuric acid to release the wax. You can see the plants in the gallery section of this post.
Another unique feature of the day was the Crystal Trail. This is a short section of singletrack leading to Crystal Hill. It’s a spectacularly glittering site completely covered with Calcite Crystal. After Crystal Trail we rode a loop of Dome Trail and then, wanting to repeat the super fun downhill from the previous ride out here, we climbed back UP Dome Trail and came down Fresno Divide Trail. Yep, still fun.