In remote southwestern Texas lies Big Bend National Park, named after the horseshoe bend of the Rio Grande river that borders the park. There are three primary sections to this park. The first is the Chinos Mountains, the southernmost range in the continental US. We began our visit there, driving up to higher elevations, twisting our way through a rare lush valley, until reaching the road’s apex that offers views of the park’s iconic castle-like mesa called “Casa Grande”. We skipped a couple hikes along the way, due to temperatures higher than our northern blood is accustomed to.
We then descended to the Rio Grande Village, where the temperature increased further with each mile we drove. We stopped to view the Sierra del Carmen, the mountain range behind Lisa below, which mark the beginning of Mexico’s border. We soon reached the Rio Grande, where we stood just a stone throw away from Mexico. There was actually a group of Mexicans sitting with their boat and horses, just across from us, waiting to rescue their friend, if need be, who had crossed the river to sell handcrafted items to park visitors.
The following day, we drove to the southwestern corner of the park, where the Rio Grande runs through Santa Elena Canyon. The river was so shallow at parts, one could easily wade across if they desired. A few short walks in this area allowed us some closer encounters with the many insects that call this desert home. On our drive out of the park, we finally captured a photo of one of the park’s elusively swift road-runners.
We enjoyed our time at Big Bend National Park, but only the dedicated like us reach it, given its remoteness. If you plan on visiting, know that lodging within 60 miles of the park is hard to find. So, keep your car gassed up and bring plenty of water!