This is the last of the National Park photo posts for a little while. Hopefully I’ll have the discipline to return to the short travel essays from my bigger adventures (I haven’t posted anything about this past summer’s PCT section in Oregon). Over Columbus Day Weekend we took advantage of the weather in Texas and our proximity to go to what is, for the other 47 continental states, one of the most remote parks to travel to, Big Bend.
Big Bend is a unique park, housing an entire mountain range within its borders; it also contains desert landscapes, deep canyons, hot springs, and shares an entire southern border with Mexico. Never have the lines on a map seemed as made up as when we sat in the hot spring looking across a 15 foot wide river to Mexico. For those concerned about what that says about border security, don’t worry, there were border patrol officers on every road and patrolling all around the outside of the park.We were asked many times if we were American citizens.
On our first day of hiking we hit the Southeast corner of the park. The trail from Daniels Ranch to Hot Springs was an enjoyable hike along the rim of the Rio Grande with views almost all the way. It ended at an actual hot spring in the river enclosed by a brick wall where we could sit and relax or switch back and forth between cold river and hot spring for a true spa experience. Unfortunately I did not take any pictures because of the older gentleman who was under the impression that white boxers while soaking in a hot spring were an acceptable clothing choice. In the evening we headed over to the Boquillas Canyon Trail.
Views along the Hot Springs Trail
The plant life felt like we were at the bottom of the ocean.
At first we thought they were fallen leaves. These are a small portion of the thousands of butterflies in this tiny watering hole.
The butterflies continue to impress.
On our second day we hiked Emory Peak. At the time I was under the impression that it was the tallest mountain in Texas, and I sent several snapchats to that effect. I later learned that at 7825 feet, Emory Peak is actually the second tallest mountain in Texas and I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to everyone that I misled via snapchat.
Miles and Miles of Texas (and Mexico)
The flora was as impressive as the views.
We also expanded from butterflies to lizards and the coolest grasshopper in the world.
We had originally planned to camp near Chisos Lodge, but the main campground was full which ended up being a blessing in disguise. We camped at the primitive campsites on Grapevine Hills Road where we not only found $40 scattered around the campsite (making the cost of the trip a net profit of $28), we got to enjoy incredible sunrises and sunsets, have privacy and quiet, test the limits of the adventure Prius, and enjoy a peaceful locally brewed beer after dinner.
The Chisos Mountain range from our campsite.