Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Big Bend National Park

All three environments, desert, river and mountains.
Looking across the desert toward the Hot Springs.
This is HOT!!
The group enjoys the Hot Springs. In the foreground are the Aussies Deb and Joe.
Sunset on the Sierra Del Carmen Mountains in Mexico.
Where the river exits Santa Elena Canyon.
The Rio Grande flowing through Santa Elena Canyon.
Boquillas Canyon
The Mexican Village of Boquillas Del Carmen.
Chisos Mountains
The Chisos Basin from Lost Mine Trail.
Looking through The Window in the basin to the desert.
Casa Grande on a cloudy day.
Mountain Lion Pawprint

For five days we stayed at Rio Grande Village Trailer Park in Big Bend National Park were we had a fabulous time but were out of the reach of all TV, cell phone, radio and Internet (not a bad thing). This is a great park that offers three distinct environments, desert, river and mountain. We went on several hikes, the first of which was a seven mile trek across the desert to a 105 degree hot springs on the banks of the Rio Grande. We had the springs to ourselves for a while before being joined by several others who enjoyed the waters with us while sharing travel stories. One couple was from Australia and are traveling the US in an RV for a year.
We drove to nearby Boquillas Canyon and hiked along the river. On this trail Mexicans were selling walking sticks and other handmade crafts. Unfortunately, this practice which once was a part of the culture of the area is now illegal because of 9-11. They now cross the shallow water on horseback or in a canoe and leave their wares on the beach with a sign hoping enough people will ignore the law and buy. We talked to Singing Victor who sits at the canyon entrance singing for what money visitors put in a jar he has on the ground on the American side. Victor said he used to row people across the river so they could shop in the village, but since this border has been closed the town is slowly dying. It is an 80 mile ride on dirt roads for them to get to a larger village. On the video below you can hear Victor serenading us and see the items that are for sale. A ranger told us he was raised with these Mexicans but never sees them now because of the long drives to open border crossings. That same day we drove almost 70 miles one way to hike in Santa Elena Canyon. On both of these hikes we were rewarded with spectacular views of these deep canyons that the river has carved between the two countries.

We spent two days mountain hiking the Lost Mine and Pinnacle Trails in the Chisos Basin which has a totally different look. These walks where across mountain meadows with long climbs that gave great views of the surrounding land through the trees. As an example of how different the environments within the park are, at the top of the Pinnacle Trail it was 58 degrees and when we returned to the campground near the river it was 91. This area is home to black bears and mountain lions and warning signs are posted everywhere. We did not see either but we did see a LARGE lion pawprint in the dust. We were told that two weeks ago during spring break a lion was seen sitting on the porch of one of the cabins at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Because of its distances from any major population centers Big Bend allows for wonderfully clear star filled night skies and roads and trails that are very uncrowded. There are only three paved roads for the long drive between the four developed areas, but many miles of back country trails and dirt roads gives you the chance to be in real wilderness.

1 comment:

Chasingthe70s said...

We loved that area, and the hot spring was awesome.