Chihuahua Desert to Chisos Mountains

Big Bend National Park is a remote and beautiful place to visit. The solitude becomes more and more apparent as you head down the highway from Alpine, TX and the vast and open highway leads to what appears to be no where! Our campsite is currently in the village of Terlingua. Terlingua appears to be home to drifters, raft guides and folks who don’t have much concern about the physical appearance of their homes or selves. Right next to our camper (in what appears to be a dirt parking lot) lies an old cemetery–shallow graves with rocks over the top and wood carved grave markers. A sign of respect, but also a sign of making due with what you’ve got.

If I were a betting guy, they are here because you can gaze out during the day and see some great views; mountains, desert and nature. At night, the stars as as clear as anything I’ve ever seen. The ghost town shanties allow for quick and easy access to something else!

Today we had a great adventure hiking the “Window Trail” and, after a little convincing, we also did part of the “Lost Mine Trail”. The views were well worth the work. Our MREs were sure tasty while looking out over the park! Those things sure taste a lot better when eaten while famished and with a view.

Our hike today was exactly why we were so excited to set off on this adventure with the boys. The abundant beauty our country has to offer along with the priceless time alone on the trail. Tomorrow brings travel to Mexico via a row boat and burro!

Big Bend National Park

We finally made it to this amazing place, though I thought we never would with Jesse constantly pulling over to take another picture of the beautiful terrain we were driving into! We seem to be the only ones on the newly paved road, it was a total trek to get here and we know now that they mean it when they say to get gas any chance you can. With a big F250 pulling a 35′ trailer we rolled into one town with 10 miles to spare! Yikes! Gunner went to a kennel for a couple days. Unfortunately, most Nat’l Parks are not very dog friendly, so this was the best thing for him.

We’re staying in an “RV park” in Study Butte, just outside the park. It’s more like 4 campers parking in some dudes hobby farm parking lot, but that also seems to be the norm for the sparsely populated area were in.

Our first actual official stop was the Big Bend National Park sign. That’s a must for Jesse! We drove to Santa Elena Canyon, right where the Rio Grande is. On the US side, it was flat-ish up to the river, but on the Mexico side, were tall towering 1500′ rock walls for miles! We were giggling in awe of how amazing God’s works are. These are exactly the spaces we are happy about the government protecting!

We took a quick 2 mile hike into the canyon to see a different bend in it. The water was so smooth, reflecting the canyon until a solo kayaker came through with their paddle and made ripples. Someone on the trail told us that the echoes sounded cool, so you could guess what we were doing for the next 20 min!

The Rio Grande isn’t all that big which was surprising to us. Of course, the boys thought it would be cool to swim over to the Mexican side and swim back. A park volunteer said they would have no problem swimming over, but if they tried swimming back, border patrol would come take them to an overnight stay in the klinker! Ok no thanks! We may have a chance to head to Mexico legally later this week though.

We found ourselves back at the camper with a bit of daylight left, so we thought we’d check out what was “in town” which is more like what’s spread across the desert highway. There was a sign for Terlingua Ghost Town that we followed, and it was here that we saw our first real signs of life believe it or not! The Starlight Theater, now a burger joint, was hopping! We later found out that it was locals night and that’s why there was so many gathered! While waiting for our table, we did a quick walking tour of the ghost town. Seems it was a mining community until the 1930’s that had about a population of 2000, now only about 20! Also, the purplish hazy sunset reflection on the mountains was dreamlike! Live music, Texas beer, prickly pear cactus soda pop(we saw lots of pp cactus today!) and a prickly pear margarita and a burger bigger then my head was on the menu; we were so happy we stumbled in after a great day in the park! (MT)