Sunday, May 04, 2008

Big Bend National Park

We've just spent the last 3 days in Big Bend National Park. Right at the bottom of Texas on the border with Mexico. A very remote and beautiful part of the state. The Rio Grande runs along the edge of park creating a natural border with Mexico. We camped down by the river - the hottest place to be! But the other campsite was up in the Chisos Basin - 5500ft up with a small, twisty and steep road with a bunch of switchbacks to contend with - not a road that Harvey could handle! It would've been nice but I don't think we'd have lived to be writing this blog!! Instead we used the bike to get around the park. We did a couple of amazing hikes up in the basin - one out to 'the window' - a gap in the mountains surrounding the basin where you can see out into the surrounding area (slightly spooked at the idea that the trail we used had had a bear sighting only the afternoon before - a bear with 4 cubs no less! - our crazy bear song came into good use once again!! - actually it was a pretty well used trail and we saw a bunch of other people out hiking too) The second hike of the day 'Lost Mine Trail' was way more peaceful - the trailhead had 2 other vehicles parked up and we passed 2 groups of people heading back down within a few minutes of us setting off so it seemed like a safe bet we were the only ones out on that particular trail that evening. We didn't leave till 6pm so we had gorgeous late afternoon light when we got to the top - just amazing views. Back in the basin we watched sunset - conviently it lines itself up just so with the window!! From the basin we had a 20 mile ride back down to the river campsite and here we were ran the gauntlet of sucidal animals that seem to live in Big Bend. We had near misses with 3 birds (added to the 3 birds that met their maker on the 8x12 foot speeding wall that is Harvey!) We saw 3 deer and then 3 javelinas - which we stopped in good time for but the truck coming the other way wasn't so good on the brakes... and lets just say if Javelinas were pigs then I'd be cooking myself a bacon butty right now! Finally the sucidal Jackrabbit so I seriously don't know how we missed - and by this time we were crawling along at a snails pace after all the near misses!!
But besides all the crazy animals there's been a few 'new' animals sightings for us to add to our list! Javelinas (they are NOT pigs!!) and a real live tarantula (not in a zoo!) and though we've seen them before we had a cute little roadrunner hanging around our campsite! The morning we left the winds had come in. Bad for visibility but great for the heat - so much cooler down by the river and we took a nice hike out along the river, through the desert to the Hot Springs. The cooler temperatures made it so much nicer easing yourself into the 100 degree water too of course!

Right now we're staying in Terlingua Ghost town - just a few miles outside of the park on the western side. We came here to meet up with a couch-surfer - Cynta. She lives in a beautiful house she'd rebuilt from the ruins of the ghost town (this was an old Mercury mining town which was abandoned in the mid 1940's). It's a great little place full of funky old ruins and the old Stralight theatre - now a great reaturant/bar/meeting place. The town mercantile with a huge porch full of intersting characters and impromptu music from someone sitting out and stiking up a toon on the banjo! It's so peaceful here! We just whiled away the evening sat on Cynta's porch star-gazing - and boy can you see the stars in a place like this?! There's just no light pollution - the sky just doesn't seem big enough for all these stars!

1 comment:

living.boondockingmexico said...

Great trip report. Big Bend is one of our favorite spots. Have you been out to the ranch? There are rv hookups there.