I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday. It has been four months since I have written a blog entry. Most of you know I have been dealing with the personal tragedy of the passing of my daughter. I thought I would try getting back on the horse writing a review of my recent Big Bend National Park trip.
I have not been on a trip since last January. My family was ready for a traveling distraction. After much thought regarding the pandemic, we decided driving to Big Bend National Park was reasonable.
The park is open, but many of the usual facilities like visitor centers and lodging are closed. I had a bit of a hard time finding a place to stay reasonably close to the park. We stayed in a cabin at the Chisos Mining Co. Motel in Terlingua, Texas. This place was okay; they were Covid-19 aware. Our cabin was rustic but adequate. We brought groceries and ate most of our meals in the cabin. We did eat out one night at the Rio Bravo restaurant. The food was excellent.
On a quick side note, as a fan of Jerry Jeff Walker, visiting Terlingua was special; his 1973 album ¡Viva Terlinqua! is one of my favorites. Terlingua is also home to the world-famous Chili Cook-off. Jerry Jeff Walker recently passed away; if you are not familiar with his music, I encourage you to check it out.
Our plan for Big Bend was to hike, find wildlife, and photograph sunsets. We were successful on all accounts. There are many hikes in Big Bend; a couple of my favorites were the Lost Mine Trail and the Santa Elina Canyon Trail.
The Lost Mine Trail is in the mountains and offers simply breathtaking views. Even though we visited the park in October, it was still hot during mid-day. Starting your hikes early in Big Bend is especially important. Big Bend is desert country, and the sun and heat of mid-day can be overwhelming no matter the time of year.
The Santa Elina Trail was the hiking highlight for me. The trail follows the Rio Grande river up a slot canyon with Mexico right across the river. The slot canyon is beautiful. A few fellow hikers were swimming in the river. I did not swim, but I did wade into the river on a later hike.
In terms of wildlife viewing, Big Bend is not Yellowstone; however, we did see plenty of wildlife. We were able to see a coyote, mule deer, roadrunner, and javelina. We visited a couple of desert oases filled with cottonwood trees. There were plenty of unique birds in these restful areas.
The Big Bend landscape is breathtaking. Particularly in the fading light of sunset. Each evening we drove back into the park to view and photograph the sunset. Every day was different due to the location and clouds.
The absence of light pollution makes Big Bend a great place to view the nighttime sky. The chilly, crisp, clear night presented stars in a way I have rarely observed. It was a great time to be reminded of the glorious majesty of God’s creation.
Big Bend was not crowded during our visit. We saw a few people on the trail. Terlingua, as expected, was sparsely populated. Our isolated cabin added to our feeling of security. Usually, I’m not too fond of long drives associated with vacations. For this trip, we had three drivers, which made the journey much more manageable. Do not be mistaken; Big Bend is a remote place and a long way from Houston, Texas, or anywhere else, for that matter.
Big Bend is a great place to visit during normal times. It was a safe and wonderful place to visit during the pandemic.
Make the most of this day!