Thursday, June 7, 2012

Big Bend: "A Land Before Time"

K and I recently returned from a quick trip to Lajitas, Texas (i.e., Big Bend National Park).  It was quick in that we were only there for a couple of days, but the trip itself was by no means quick - a 10 hour drive down from Dallas and a 6.5 hour drive home to San Antonio.  Big Bend was beautiful and like nothing I have ever experienced.  In my opinion it was well worth all the driving.  *This is where K would probably like to interject that of course I didn't mind the drive since I slept the whole time.  
For some reason, my only reference point for the desert landscape in Big Bend is the movie The Land Before Time.  At any moment I fully expected to see dinosaurs emerge out of the desert.  Apparently, I'm the only one who fully expected to see dinosaurs.  Upon reading this, K informed me that this comment makes no sense and he did not think that at all.  It was so neat to see the diversity of the landscape in Texas.  In the riparian valley of the Rio Grande, the desert landscape turned lush and green.  In the mountains, the temperatures dropped (from 108 to around 80) and pine trees replaced cactus.  And the desert, well it was hot and dry.

Room with a view.  Our hotel sat about 200 yards away from the Mexican border. 

The "mighty" Rio Grande.  Not looking so mighty thanks to the recent drought.

K checking out the Rio Grande on our first night in Lajitas.  K's thought bubble?  What happened to the fence?  Where are the drones?  For the record, we did not see any evidence of a fence or drones.  So much for securing our borders : )  

We spent our first day in Big Bend canoeing through the Santa Elena Canyon on the Rio Grande.  It was such a unique way to experience the canyon and definitely a highlight of our trip.

On our second day in the park we did lots of hiking.  In the morning we hiked up into the Chisos mountains on the Lost Mine Trail and in the afternoon we braved the heat to hike through the desert to the Cattail Falls (more on our desert misadventures later).

We  even got to experience a little bit of local color.  We dined at the Starlight Theater Cafe, where we met the Mayor of Terlingua (a beer drinking stuffed goat) and watched the sunset from the porch with a crowd of interesting characters.  Then we ventured over to La Kiva to witness open mic night.  It was a blast and confirmed all of our desires to live somewhere a little more urban : )

Sunset from the porch at the Starlight Theater Cafe.  The mountains change color as the sun goes down.

Thanks for the memories Big Bend!

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