Big Bend National Park is one of our favorites, and one we haven’t visited in 20 years. We were able to snag a great camping spot off a gravel road in the middle of the park, making it not only private, but very convenient to get to wherever we want to go. It’s also much cooler here at the base of the Chisos Mountains than it is down by the river where temperatures reached 100F today.
Yesterday, despite the high temps, we made our way to the Historic Hot Springs which was an active resort in the early 20th century. The climate by the river is about 20º warmer than in the Chisos Mountains, and the flora and fauna reflect the tropical conditions. It was a very rainy September here at Big Bend, and the Rio Grande ran fast and furious by the hot springs.
Boquillas Canyon was not far from the Hot Springs, and we hiked down to the river to experience the grandeur of the canyon wall.
Along the canyon trail, trinkets were left for sale by residents of Boquillas del Carmen, who live just across the river in Mexico.
The Chisos Mountains form the only mountain range that is completely contained within the boundaries of a National Park. Cooler temps and extraordinary views lured us up to the Chisos Basin for a lovely sunset and the rising of a full moon.
This morning’s 4.5 mile hike led us through a meadow (where we saw a rattlesnake), over a boulder field, and into a canyon that ended at a dry waterfall. Despite an early start, we were happy to get back to our air-conditioned truck some 3 hours later.
Santa Elena Canyon is on the west side of the park, and we loved seeing families enjoying the river in this beautiful setting.
We drove to Terlingua and Lajitas in search of lunch and groceries, and found this beautiful cemetery along the way. We’ll spend two more nights in this wild and wonderful park – a magical place in so many ways.
A quick look back at the McDonald Observatory – here’s me moving the 42″ telescope. (Thanks to my sister-in-law, Nancy, for taking the photo!)