Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Wrapping Up Big Bend National Park

Posted from Willis, TX
(Click on Pics to Enlarge)

I've decided to combine Days 2 and 3 in Big Bend National Park into this one blog. With that being said, Big Bend NP definitely deserves multiple days to even scratch the surface when visiting this fairly large park.

On our second day into the park we visited the Chisos Basin area and wound up finally at the Chisos Basin Visitor's Center. The first part of the drive has some spectacular scenery.

The visitor's center at Chisos Basin is in a developed area with restaurant and even a lodge.  We took a short hike on the Windows Overlook Trail from the Visitor's Center.  This trail is handicapped accessible and only a short distance to the overlook.

The "window" is an area in the rock face which allows a great view of the valley below. In the following picture the "V" is the window.

A short distance back up the Chisos Basin Road and we were at the Lost Mine trailhead.  The full Lost Mine Trail is about 4.8 miles roundtrip, but due to time constraints we decided to hike up to the Overlook which was about 2 miles roundtrip.  Several nice views of Casa Grande Peak can be seen along the trail.

Here's our little group at the Overlook Point on the Lost Mine Trail.

The views from this area were certainly worth the hike up.

By the time we got back to the trailhead it was lunchtime.  We drove back to the Visitor's Center and had a nice picnic in one of the covered pavilions nearby.

Additional photos from Day 2 in Big Bend NP can be viewed in our Google+ Albums.

Our third day into Big Bend NP was probably my favorite day.  We hiked several trails and the views along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive were spectacular.  Just onto the Scenic Drive we came upon the remains of the Sam Nail Ranch.  This was an example of an early ranch in this area in which the desert was partially transformed by the planting of fig and pecan trees. This old windmill actually still works and provides water for this little "oasis" in the desert.

There's not too much left of the adobe ranch house today.  All I can say is these early settlers must have been hardy souls.

The first trail of the day was called Upper Burro Mesa Pour-Off Trail.  There was first a short hike thru a relatively flat area leading to a rocky gorge area.

Many more photos are included in our Big Bend Day #3 of our Google+ Albums.  Please be sure and take a look.

Driving further along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive took us to higher elevations and more scenic vistas.  In the far center of this picture is the remains of the Homer Wilson line camp which was part of the Homer Wilson Ranch.  The buildings in the Blue Creek Canyon have not been used since 1945.

A. roadside pull off allowed a view of Mule Ears Peak in the distance. The peaks are actually much larger than they appear from this vantage point.

The Tuff Canyon Trail was only a short 3/4 mile hike, but it gave you a nice look at the dry canyon and the sheer walls running up each side.

As far as I'm concerned, the real gem of this entire Scenic Drive lies at the end in an area named the Santa Elena Canyon.  The trail begins at the Rio Grande water level, heads up to give some great views of the canyon walls, then descends again back to the river level.

The canyon walls in this area stretch to a height of 1500 feet.

This view from one of the higher observation points on the trail show Mexico on the right side of the river and the United States to the left.

The river is a popular place to kayak and canoe.  These folks are taking a guided tour down the river.

As we were hiking back to the trailhead we saw a fair number of Mexican Marines training (or eating lunch) on their side of the river.  A few of them are visible walking along the trail, on the far side of the river, in this picture.

As I said before, Day #3 was my favorite day in the Park, but I certainly enjoyed all of them. If you decide to go for a visit, allow several days for exploration.  Get off the roads and explore the trails.  There are trails of all lengths and difficulty levels to enjoy.

To view additional Day #2 pictures, click here to view our Google+ Albums.
To view additional Day #3 pictures, click here.

For anyone who has read this far I need some advise on the "readability" of  our blog.
I changed the way I display pictures in this blog posting from the way I normally display them.  In today's blog, I placed the pictures beneath the associated text. In previous blog posts I've usually wrapped the text on either the right or left side of the pictures.

Question:  Which format do you prefer?  Please feel free to leave a comment below. I'm always looking for ways to make the blog easier to read.

Thanks for stopping by to take a look!


  1. Nice memories of Big Bend ... and I agree that you have to get off the road to really appreciate the beauty of what the park has to offer. As for the format ... either is fine from my perspective. I use both as a mix at times.

    1. Thanks Erin. I value your opinion as you have such a beautiful layout on your blog.

    2. I use both also but mostly do mine the way you did yours in this blog...

    3. Thanks Larry. From what I've heard, it's about 50/50 so far on the subject.

  2. Your Husband is a Lucky man! To find a beautiful woman that likes to hike and explore gorgeous places is truly a blessing!..May God truly blessed you both as you travel and allow people that can't to live through Your travels...Keep up the great work you guys do!...

  3. Steve, FB filtered a msg from you over a year ago. I just saw it! If I can still help you with RV insurance please email me cryust at yahoo dot com. Thanks Chris Yust

    1. Chris we're good for now, but maybe when renewal time comes up again.

  4. Which were you worried about wearing first, your camera with all the amazing views or your feet that took you to see them? :c)

    1. It's all good Paul. We're pulling for an uneventful and full recovery for you.