Big Bend National Park, Part 1

Big Bend is one of those National Parks that is not so easy to get to. You can’t just fly into a neighboring town, hop in your Rent-a-car and shoot on over…Well, you can, but the shot is about a 5-6 hour drive from either the Houston or El Paso airport. But is it worth the trek? We would say ABSOLUTELY.

Big Bend National Park is 1,252 square miles of Chihuahuan Deserts, Chisos Mountain ranges, and Rio Grande river canyons that will blow your mind with the diversity of plant and animal life that live in these varied environments. It is a vast swathe of land that a body couldn’t see top to bottom in a few years, let alone a few days, which is what Wes and I had before it was time to move on down the road. I think we gave it a good shot, though.

Our First Two Days

Friday

We arrived Friday evening to our home for the next 4 days, BJs RV Park in Terlingua, TX. The owner of the park, Beth, was about as cool as they come regarding where to park (“wherever there’s room”), and when to pay (“just give me a call before you leave and we’ll deal with it”). We picked out our spot and settled in. The views from our selected campsite weren’t too shabby, either. We spent the evening having a cool beverage and enjoying our new desert landscape.

BJs RV Park

Saturday

The Window Trail

On Saturday, we were up and at ’em, starting with the Chisos Mountain Basin trail called “The Window”. Despite it being a predominantly desert region, the basin has generally cooler temperatures that we thought would be a good way to ease into our hikes. A 5.6 mile round trip trail with an elevation change of 980 feet, it was a nice & easy way to start off our trip. And the views were amazing.

Boquillas, Mexico

Another fine feature of Big Bend National Park is that there is a Border Crossing Station within the NP boundary. That’s right, we jumped the border into Mexico Saturday afternoon! This was Laura’s first time in Mexico, in fact, and I can’t think of a more enjoyable–& more innocent–introduction to a border town. Serenaded with “Cielito Lindo” while paddling across the Rio Grande was a pretty fantastic start, followed by dinner in the tiny, purely tourist-economy border town of Boquillas. This beautiful technicolored town has been a tourist destination for decades, and the friendly folks who live there are more than happy to show you around their community, sell you some crafts, and sit down in the shade for a cerveza. The town was lovely, the people were friendly, and the food was delicious. Bring your passport, US dollars and all ages to this destination, and you will not be disappointed.

 

All photos are from Mark, the dapper dude with the beard…he has a much better eye than I do. Thanks for sharing, Mark!

Mark & Cora

While we were in Boquillas, we met a couple who happened to live in Big Bend…That’s right: IN. BIG. BEND. Mark & Cora moved to the park about 2 years ago, and live in one of the NP residences near Panther Junction. We chatted over beers at dinner, and when Wes & I could not get over the incredible life choices that led Mark and Cora to their dream home within the park boundaries, they graciously invited us to their place to check out their awesome digs over another beer. I wish we had brought our camera in with us to give an idea of their backyard views of the Chisos Mountains, but we were too busy enjoying the conversation and company of our new friends. Mark has created a beautiful home with his woodworking talents–he even built a Murphy bed for their guest room!–and added a grey water irrigation system for their backyard garden (a conservation must in the middle of a desert region); Cora has made the lovely home & backyard an oasis with plants and handcrafted fountains that made it hard for us to eventually leave & head back to our house on wheels. Their hospitality and company were amazing, and we are grateful we bumped into these two across the border!

Until Next Time…

That’s it for Part 1 of Big Bend…Part 2 will have to wait until after we hitch up and out of Terlingua for our next stop in Marfa, TX. (Spoiler: it will be a lot more pretty pictures of desert vistas with our silly faces thrown in the mix.) Thanks for stopping by and checking out our recent happenings!

Until next time…lots of love,

Laura

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