Big Bend National Park

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.” – Edward Abbey

My wandering soul constantly yearns for movement.  If I am in one place for too long, I develope a strong itch to go.  My body needs to be moving, my eyes need to see new things, and my soul needs to feel new places.

I would rather own moments than materialistic items.  Luckily my partner in this beautiful life understands this as he feels the same way.  So the best gifts are ones of adventure!

For Valentine’s Day my honey said “we are going on a surprise adventure.”  He refused to tell me where we were heading, all I knew is I need to back a bag for camping and the rest would be taken care of.  Early that Saturday morning we loaded into the van and headed west with no idea when the end destination would be.

A hour and a half into the journey I finally guessed where we were heading to, BIG BEND National Park! I was so excited to finally be exploring that part of Texas including the park! The seed was planted that I wanted to go there after watching a talented artist paint a beautiful wildflower and mountain scenery from the park on our Spring trip to Marfa.

As soon as we pulled into the park it immediately exceeded my expectations. The vast beauty that was there took my breath away! The yuccas were on the brink of blooming, the mountains were in the horizon, and there were so many open trails to explore. Out in the open we spotted a huge black bear on a mission!  He was determined to get somewhere and I was just happy to not have been in his way. It was fascinated watching him roam in his natural habitat.

 
   

Driving throughout the park was just beautiful.  I could not get enough of it all.   There were so many winding roads up the mountains and at every turn there was another jaw dropping view.  We also drove a large portion of the south west side of the park where the Rio Grande River flows through. It was very eye opening being able to touch the river and drive along the border. Seeing and feeling that part of the land created a strong shift inside of my hoping that this border remains open and free.

That evening we set up camp in the Big Bend Ranch State Park which is about 45 minutes away from the national park. It was surprising that the national park did not have more camp spots available and it was best to actually reserve a space ahead of time (good to know for our future trips back).  I wish we could have stayed in the national park instead because it was much more beautiful (with every reason), but with this shift in plans we got to experience two parks in one journey.

As we sat around the campsite that evening the coyotes were howling and were surrounding us.  Kerby the labradoodle was fully alert, ready to protect his people.  It was a bit scary being in bear, mountain lion, and coyote country.   It made me feel a bit anxious because you never know if an animal is close to you.

Sunday was our day of hikes.  On our drive back to the national park we stopped at Closed Canyon Trail in the State Park and boy was that awesome!  We hiked through a slot in the canyon for about 2 miles round trip.  The rocky path was just wide enough to not feel trapped.  I definitely recommend this easy trail.

Back in the national park we hiked the Lost Mine Trail which sits in the Chisos Mountains.  It is about 4.8 miles round trip but we only hiked one mile up to the scenic bend.  It offered extraordinary views of the Casa Grande and Juniper Canyon.  This trail warned all to not bring small kids on this particular trail because mountain lions did roam this mountain range.  SCARY… but oh was it fun!! I would like to come back to the national park and spend more time on the trails.

   
I am kind of obsessed with National Parks… partly because I get in free for having a disability and then also to get the parks stamp to add to my National Park Passport book. I have become obsessed with collecting these stamps and crossing off the parks on the map. I feel so proud of myself for seeing another place that I had not been to the day before. That means I am still alive. I am still well. And most of all that means I am living.

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