Entering Big Bend National Park
We pulled into Big Bend National Park at about 1:00 in the afternoon; it was a beautiful sunny warm day. The park is huge 30 miles from the park entrance to the visitor’s center and then another 20 miles to our campgrounds at Rio Grande Village, as soon as we left the visitors center two javelins (wild pigs) ran out in front of the RV it looked like it might have been a mom and baby.
We found a very nice campsite, there are no amenities like electricity, water, showers, cell coverage or Wi-Fi we couldn’t even use our generator in this section of the park. We had to learned how to live off the grid for the week. We had a quick lunch and took the nature trail down to the Rio Grande River. You could actually walk across the river at this point and be in Mexico. The town of Boquillas sits on the hill across the river. There is no legal entry to or from Mexico in the entire park since 9-11 so to make a little money the men come across the river on horseback and place their walking sticks and trinkets to sell along the trails, there are signs warning Americans that if they purchase any items from the Mexicans we could face a $5000.00 fine and up to a year in jail and the Mexicans if caught will face arrest and deportation at a location more than a 100 miles away. We ended our day with a BBQ and went to bed early because no electricy means no lights and it’s very dark here.
Rio Grande Trail
Mexican men plowing their field
River access from Mexican side
Mexican goods for sale along the trail
Today we woke up to a very chilly morning 36 degrees but as soon as the sun rises it warms up fast, little did we know how warm that sun can get. We packed a picnic lunch and two bottles of water a piece and set off on a six mile hike to the hot springs. The first half of the trip went smoothly. We reached the hot springs and decided to just sit and relax and soak our tired feet and visit with the people who were soaking in the pool. The water reaches a temperature of 105 degrees and is just a natural pool that sits right on the Rio Grande River, very pretty. We spent about an hour there and then set off on our return trip around noon. It had really warmed up and the first part of our climb out didn’t go well, we both got very dizzy and sick at almost the same time we were very overheated from the hot springs and the sun, plus we didn’t bring enough water. It was a very tedious trip back but we did make it out OK and learned a good lesson about how much water you need in the desert heat. The rest of the day was spent recovering.
Trail to the Hot Spring
Along the Hot Spring trail
Chris at the edge of the Hot Spring standing in the Rio Grande river
This morning was very chilly and windy and we decided to take it easy on the hiking so we took a drive up into the Chisos Mountains, the scenery was just beautiful, very different from the desert where we are staying. There is a campground up here but it is restricted to vehicles 24 feet and shorter. The higher elevation also means a much cooler temperature, up to 20 degrees cooler. After looking around this area for awhile we continued our drive through the park another 35 miles to yet another campground. From here it was a short drive to a very popular site, Santa Elena Canyon, where we took one of the most scenic hikes we have ever been on. The canyon was fantastic. We decided to call it a day and went back to the camper for a BBQ and some down time.
The weather is getting better, it’s not so cold this morning and we ate our breakfast outside. We took another drive this morning and ended up at the Boquillas Canyon. At the overlook you can get a good look at the little village of Boquillas Mexico, its definitely not the typical border town, it looks like a town that you would see in an old western movie, there is only one dirt road going into the town. We walked down into the Canyon and met and talked to one of the Mexican men that crosses the river and sells or at least tries to sell his goods. While I would loved to have bought some souvenirs we didn't but we did give him a small donation. We then continued our walk along the Rio Grande to another beautiful canyon. We then returned to the hot springs again, but this time we drove. We saw the area that we missed by hiking in from the other side, the ruins are of the store and other historic buildings that are no longer in use.
Today we visited the town of Terlingua Texas, it’s just outside of the park on the west side. Part of the town is an old quick silver mining ghost town that hippies and artists have rejuvenated. They have bought up many of the ruins and converted them into art galleries, restaurants; little stores, hotels, and homes. It was interesting but the same shopping that you see everywhere. We had a picnic lunch at a cute park in town, then stopped for coffee and did a little catching up at a cafe that had Wi-Fi. We than took the long ride back to the park for supper and bed by dark.
Our last full day here, I sure hate to think about leaving. The weather has been just about perfect, it’s a little too early in the year for all the birds that are normally seen in the spring at the park but we have been lucky enough to see quite a few. Today we did the Lost Mine Trail hike which is back in the Chisos Basin, a 4.8 mile hike. The first half of the hike is a steep climb, uphill all the way to 7600 feet. The views at the top were amazing and well worth the trip. The trip down was a piece of cake, going downhill is so much easier that going up. We than had a picnic lunch at a pretty little picnic area then back to the RV for some rest and relaxation. In the evening it still hadn’t cooled down so we sat outside and looked at the stairs and listened to an old cowboy singing country western songs with his guitar till we were ready for bed.
Lost mine trail leads to the top
Views along the way to the lost mine
Saw this guy along the way
Time to head down
The following are some of the birds we had in our campsite