The gift of time – Big Bend – Part 3

After two days of backpacking and the increasingly warming temps, we found ourselves at another backcountry campsite.

Tucked into our little slice of desert paradise, we did not see anyone. And the ample cold drinks and water let us prepare for the nearly 100F temps predicted.

Our first night gave us another Big Bend Light Show Par Excellence (TM)  from our remote campsite.

If Joan and I enjoyed our separate trips to Chisos Basin in the past, I think it is on this trip we started seeing why people get drawn to Big Big Bend. And where did we, dare I say, fall in love with the park? It’s just VAST.

I’ve lived in the American West now for over twenty years. But the wide-open desert engulfs a person. I know a paved road is not that far away, and being a park it does have amenities nearby. But if this area may not be wilderness, it certainly has wildness.

We loved sitting at our campsites, be it by the truck or by hiking in, and taking in the landscape, the setting and rising sun, and the night sky, and all while looking over into the equally vast lands mere miles away on the Mexico side.

While at the Panther Junction visitor center, we peeked at the weather and knew to expect nearly 100F where we planned to spend the next two+ days in the park.

As such, we got an early start in the dawn light the following day and made our way to a trailhead not far from our campsite. This lightly used trailhead climbs somewhat steeply from the desert floor but goes into the higher elevations.

On this hike, we’d see streams(!), pines, oaks, and a downright lush area compared to where we’ve spent the past few days.

Even at the higher elevations, we could feel the oncoming heat.

Luckily our next destination brought us to a short, popular, scenic hike along the Rio Grande.

On the bluffs, not only could we see Mexico mere feet away, but we could see Pre-Columbian mortar holes as well. Generations of people enjoyed this very spot.

We followed the trail and a social path that brought us into the Rio Grande. The calm river felt good as we took photos, wet ourselves down, and thought about how this contentious border did not seem very controversial on a hot, December day.

After our hike/wading, we made our way to the campground that’s so different from our quiet spot. Besides having room for 100 RVs (!), it has laundry, Wifi, showers…and ice cream! Perfect Christmas Day treat.

Joan agrees!

I mention Wifi as we had concerns about a storm front moving in and how it would impact our plans. But that’s a later trip report.

We made use of the amenities on this trip portion and enjoyed a short nature hike before returning to camp.

Homesteaders once used this area that had water and still seem lush today.

Once we made our way to camp, we savored the Christmas light display a bit different from what most people enjoy.

We just spent seven days straight camping out and wanted to spend more. I think we easily could have spent another week here in Big Bend and the nearby state park.

But found it time to start making our way back to our High Desert home.

We woke up in the morning and started to leave the park behind. One last jaunt to an excellent fossil exhibit, let us get in some last looks towards the Chisos Basin. And already had us dreaming of future trips to this memorable land deep in Texas.

We drove to Alpine, TX, bought some supplies for the next stage of the trip, did laundry, and decided with 80 MPH gusts expected in the Guadalupe Mountains, perhaps it’s time for a new plan.

Our new plan and next stop? Davis Mountains State Park.

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