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02 April 2015

B Is For Big Bend National Park




During April, we're participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Every day (except Sundays), we’ll be doing an alphabet themed post starting with “A is for Adventurous” and ending with “Z is for Zinc”. We've got a theme for every letter sorted except for Y. If you have any ideas for the letter Y, please leave a comment or email.

I really didn't know much about Big Bend National Park before we went there. To be honest, I had never heard about it. I'm not sure it gets the same name recognition as other National Parks, like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon. Maybe because it isn't one of those places that you can visit while on your way to someplace else. You really need to make an effort to get there. Situated on the Rio Grande River along the Texas-Mexico border, Big Bend has been described as a place of "splendid isolation". A very apt description. The park is a considerable distance from any sizable cities, so you need to stock up on provisions and make sure you have plenty of fuel before you set out. But it is so worth it. It truly is splendid.

We decided to spend Christmas week in Big Bend and took our chances that there would be a campsite available. Everything we read about Big Bend said that there was always room at the inn, except over the holiday period when competition for campsites is fierce. Fortunately, we arrived a few days before Christmas and snagged ourselves a sweet little spot at the Rio Grand Village campground and got Scamper set up. Isn't she cute with her awning up?



Sure we didn't have any electric, water or sewage connections, but we had trees, space and roadrunners frolicking around our site. Nearby, there is a RV park with full hook-ups. Have a look at the picture below - would you want to stay in what is essentially a parking lot just to plug in?



In addition to hopping across the border on Christmas Day (you can read more about that tomorrow), here are some of the highlights from our time in Big Bend.

1. Santa Elena Canyon



Who doesn't love a canyon? While it can't compete with the Grand Canyon, the Santa Elena Canyon has its own special charm. We did a relatively short hike into the canyon (1.7 miles round trip) and saw some spectacular scenery. After climbing up paved steps, you descend down to the canyon floor and meander along for a while until the trail ends at the canyon wall. We also did the Boquillas Canyon trail on the opposite end of the park. A nice walk, but if you only have time for one, go with Santa Elena.

2. The Chisos Mountains




The Chisos are the centerpiece of Big Bend, lying in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert. You climb up 5,400 feet to the basin and then look up at the mountains surrounding you. It is supposed to be very popular place to visit during the summer when things are scorching hot down below. The first day we drove up there, it was snowing. I felt sorry for the folks camping up there. Sometimes a white Christmas isn't all it is cracked up to be. We went back later during our visit, when it wasn't snowing, and hiked on the 5.6 mile round trip Window Trail. You descend down into Oak Creek Canyon, climb up and over a few times and then end up at a pour-off where you can take in some views of the desert. And if you're lucky you'll see a tarantula along the way. 

3. Eating Grilled Meat




It's hard to believe I used to be a vegetarian once upon a time. Because, now I can't get enough grilled meat. Seriously, bring it on - steak, hamburgers, sausages etc. We bought some of the tastiest hamburgers I have ever had at the Rio Grande Village store. Scott worked his magic with the grill and it was delicious. One of the best parts of our stay at Big Bend was hanging out outside, enjoying the stars and eating meat. Yum! 

Have you ever been to Big Bend National Park? What was your favorite part? 

We camped, hiked and pigged out at Big Bend National Park from 22-27 December 2014.

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi! 

 

24 comments:

  1. Found your blog through the comment you left on mine and it's so nice to find a fellow sailor :) We're still relatively new to sailing-bought our boat off of Craigs List several years ago on a whim! We learned how to actually use it by watching Youtube videos lol. We absolutely love our sailboat and spending the summers out on Lake Michigan. We're planning on upgrading when we pay off our house in a few years and then living on it during the summer months :)

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    1. How neat that you guys are sailors! It must be so fun to sail on the Great Lakes. I grew up in Cleveland, but was never into boats back then. Now, I wish I had been as it probably would have been so much fun to be out on Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes!

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  2. I've been wanting to go to Big Bend for AGES. It looks majestic.

    Good luck with the 2015 A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy
    http://pensuasion.blogspot.com

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    1. I didn't know much about it before we went and was so pleasantly surprised. A wonderful place to visit!

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  3. I've never boon to Big Bend but it looks like a place i'd certainly like to visit. I love your trailer. I want to get one but haven't quite convinced my hubby. I trailer-traveled with my grandparents as a child all throughout the western U.S. which is how I caught the travel bug.
    I'll enjoy traveling alphabetically with you.
    Claire
    http://aFieldTripLife.com

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    1. I just checked out your blog - what a fun theme you have for your A to Z posts! Our trailer is small, but adorable! Maybe you could rent one for a week to convince your hubby about what a fun way to travel that it is?

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  4. I agree about your 'parking lot to plug in' comment- that's what my husband and I found when we RV-ed through the Southeast one winter and much preferred spending time in national forests and state parks. You're right, Big Bend doesn't get much attention, but I like that it's off the beaten path and away from the other national parks out west.

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    1. We definitely prefer camping in places where we have space between us and others and nature sprinkled around our camper. Big Bend is a fantastic spot - so glad we went there!

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  5. It's amazing how many gorgeous things there are to see in this country!

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    1. So true! After living overseas for so many years, I was surprised to find how much incredible beauty there is in my own native country. Sometimes, you don't appreciate things until you've been away from them for a while.

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  6. I loved this post! I used to live in San Antonio, not that far away from Big Bend I knew so many who went there though I never made it in the 8 years that I lived there. I always heard it was absolutely awesome from everyone! Loved your layout and photographs. Have fun in your ongoing travels!

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    1. Thanks for your nice feedback about this post Amy! Shame you never made it to Big Bend when you were in San Antonio.

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  7. My folks live in Texas and have been to Big Bend several times. My dad has painted the mountains as well. Lovely photographs. Love that little Scamper!

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    1. Wow - your dad must be talented! I think it would be great to be able to paint where you've been. What a wonderful souvenir that would be of one's travels.

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  8. Looking at the photo for grilling makes me hungry! I can almost imagine the delish smell of grilled fish, my favorite!

    I wonder how it feels to go on a trailer travel and go to new places every time. The closest experience I have is when I had to be on three different places in a span of one week. My colleague and I accomplished that by being on the road for 6-8 driving in between places. It was a great kind of rush to be constantly on the move!

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    1. Driving for 6-8 hours at a time would be so tiring. We try not to do too many miles in a day and when we get someplace new, we tend to spend at least 2-3 days there so we can explore. But having the ability to take your home with you wherever you go is fantastic!

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  9. The place looks nice to marvel at. Pretty sure it is a scenic spot for photography too. I wish i could do this one day. Must be enjoyable to do some dry picnic at the park. Good luck on the A-Z challenge!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! The A to Z challenge certainly is a challenge, but fun!

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  10. Like you before you arrived, I didn't know anything about Big Bend before visiting your blog. That little camper you have is so tiny, you two are so cool.

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    1. Our Scamper is adorable. Amazing how tiny things are always so cute :-) Of course the downside is that only one of us can stand inside at one time as there is very limited floor space.

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  11. I borrowed someone's Scamp once to spend some time in West Virginia! It's such a great little low-maintenance camper! Thank you for sharing your experience at Big Bend!

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    1. Scamps are wonderful little campers - tiny but they have everything you need.

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  12. I had never heard about it either. Thanks for being part of the #AtoZChallenge so I could find your blog.

    --Mee (The Chinese Quest)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! The challenge has been a great way to discover new bloggers!

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