Big Bend Ranch State Park

We visited Big Bend Ranch State Park while staying at Maverick Ranch RV Park.  Big Bend Ranch State Park is Texas’ largest state park, at over 300,000 acres. It extends along the Rio Grande from southeast of Presidio to near Lajitas, in both Brewster and Presidio counties. Just a stone’s throw from Mexico to the south, the park is in an area so remote and rugged that it has been called El Despoblado, or “The Uninhabited.” In spite of that name, this awe-inspiring region boasts a rich human history. Water sustains life in the desert, making a place livable or even welcoming. For over 10,000 years, people have settled in the canyons, mountains and valleys of Big Bend Ranch State Park, typically near water sources. The materials and structures they left behind tell stories of triumph and hardship in the sometimes hospitable but often relentless land.

The state park was much smaller than the national park but the roads there seemed to cut through the mountains more, with the large boulders/mountains seeming closer to us than in the national park. The views there were equally as amazing but time didn’t allow us to do the hiking there that we had been able to do at the national park.

Our journey home has begun and we are now working our way back to North Carolina and our home. Hope you have enjoyed our trip…we enjoyed sharing it with you. Until our next trip, keep living your dream whatever that may be.

 

Final Day at Big Bend

This was our final day at Big Bend National Park. The weather was perfect and so was the temperature. We visited Boquillas Canyon pictured below. The massive cliffs of the Sierra del Carmen appear unyielding, yet the Rio Grande has carved a gorge 1,300 feet deep directly through the escarpment. Boquillas Canyon is so narrow that the entrance is invisible  unless you take the trail right up to the mouth of the canyon. We walked for part of the trail; enough to get good pictures, but the temperature was too high to hike the entire trail. Hard to believe that a river could erode through the surface layers and cut the steep-sided canyons in the limestone rock. There is an entrance in the park to Mexico where you can get a small ferry over the Rio Grande to Mexico to the city of Boquilla but it’s only open on the weekends. I wouldn’t have done it anyway but luckily we were there on a Thursday so it was a mute point!!

The day also allowed us to see the Rio Grande floodplain that was in front of Mexico’s Sierra del Carmen. There we saw lots of cactus plants and the Chihuanhuan Desert.

Our last stop for the day was the trail to the hot springs. Hot spring water is considered old water, fossil water, ancient and irreplaceable. Heated by geothermal processes it emerges at 105 degrees and the water carries dissolved mineral salts reputed to have healing powers. However, when the Rio Grande floods, as it did while we were there, muddy water flows over the spring, often submerging it. Once the flood has receded, the spring may be covered in rocks, mud, or debris (which it was when we were there; so we weren’t able to get into the springs. Enjoy the pictures from our last day at Big Bend.

Grapevine Trail Excitement

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The view from the top of the trail looking down.

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Another view from near the top.

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See the sign pointing to the right? We still had to climb further up .25 miles to get to the rock.

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Beautiful view of the mountainside.

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View from Panthers Junction Rest stop in the park.IMG_4857.jpg

View of the landscape! Amazing.DSC_0442.JPG

Our campground, Maverick Ranch RV Park in Lajitas, Texas. See the Jeep? We’re in front of it.

Sunny Day at Big Bend

This was our second trip into Big Bend and the first with the sun shinning.  What a difference the sun made in our views! They were spectacular. We chose to do the Grapevine Hills Trail this day which is a trail that curves alongside a small, sandy wash. We followed the wash, climbing up the hills and over the boulders until the trail left the wash and entered into a totally rocky area. Our goal was to reach the Balanced Rock, a wonder that many come to Big Bend to see.This area was formed as the result of rising magma within the earth becoming entrapped by overlying sedimentary rock layers. There are granite-like boulders of all shapes and sizes. In certain areas, such as the one near the end of the trail, the boulders have oriented themselves such that they are balanced precariously on top of other rocks. This was truly a sight to see. The climb up was difficult for the last half mile, climbing over boulders and through narrow paths to reach the top but the view was amazing. I tried to capture the view back down the path from the top of the mountain where the Balanced Rock was located. The path wasn’t difficult til the very end and that was challenging and a little unnerving climbing to the top. At the end of the trail the terrain was much more rocky underfoot and more strenuous climbing to the top but with Greg’s help, I made it to the top and the view back down was breathtaking. More pictures on the next blog as they all wouldn’t fit on this one. Enjoy.

Big Bend National Park, Part 2

Our drive through Big Bend National Park was a vertical joinery through such sharply contrasting environments, one minuet there is desert land, the next rocky mountains, and then lush, green Jurassic Park mountains. These pictures show the dreary sky and fog from yesterday but today’s pictures will show beautiful blue skies with white fluffy clouds. Such a different park today.  When we drive through the park the desert flats appear lifeless but when we get out and hike the land we see tarantulas, butterflies, and sand trickling down tiny burrows. The walk to the Santa Elena Canyon overlook was especially amazing with the Rio Grand running along the border of the US and Mexico. Hard to believe that the small river created the Canyon we walked along today.