Sunday, March 6, 2016

Road Trip to Houston: Big Bend National Park Day 1

Day 13

I had another bad night of coughing, but did get a little more sleep because we bought some cough syrup.  The bad news was that it only lasts about three hours so I was up several times to take a dose which meant we didn’t quite get the early start we wanted to, but were on the road by 9:30.

The mountains ahead are our destination for the day, Big Bend National Park.
Today was the first of two days we’ve set aside for exploring the park.  The first thing we did after driving into the park was to take Old Maverick Road, which is an improved dirt road just inside the western entrance to the park.  The scenery at first was pretty much the same arid landscape we’ve been seeing, but we soon got into a series of mountains, washes and rock formations.  There were very few others on the road, but we did see the ever present border patrol.  I won’t describe everything we saw as it’s easier to do it with photos.

Old Maverick Road
The "home" of an early settler in the area.

A yucca plant.

We took a short side road to an early settlement called Terlingua Abaja.
It's really hard to believe that people tried to settle and ranch this desolate and arid area.

The end of Old Maverick Road intersects the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, which is a paved road leading back to the main park road.  Right where the paved road starts there is a turnoff that leads to the Rio Grande River.  It was very interesting to stand on the shores of the Rio Grande and look across at Mexico.  The terrain is fairly mountainous and rugged here and it was also the start of Santa Elena Canyon, which is a deep canyon 8 miles long that the Rio Grande flows through.  You can hike part way into the canyon, which I started to do, but I really wasn’t up to much hiking today so didn’t get very far.  It’s a very interesting spot.

The Rio Grande River, or what there was of it.
Santa Elena Canyon. The cliff on the left is Mexico, and the cliff on the right is the USA.

I'm up on one of the overlooks.
Looking down at the Rio Grande.  Val is the lowest speck on the shore.
We drove on a little further to Castolon Visitor’s Center and General Store.  We had a pleasant lunch sitting in the shade before continuing on our drive.  Once again rather than describing everything with words, I will do it pictures we took along the way.

An old ranch house.

The temperature today was supposed to get into the low 90's, and by the time we finished our drive it was 85.  By this time it was mid-afternoon and I was getting tired so we decided to head back to the hotel so I could get some rest.

After spending the rest of the afternoon relaxing, we once again went to the hotel restaurant where we had dinner sitting out on the patio enjoying the balmy evening.  That was it for our day, tomorrow we will spend our final day in the park.

The entryway to the restaurant veranda.
Val enjoys another beautiful balmy evening in Lajitas.

No comments:

Post a Comment