Big Bend National Park (NP #7), Texas

“February 10th 2015


I made it through the river road!


There is a 50 mile dirt trail that parallels the Rio Grande through Big Bend National Park (map / wiki). They recommend a gallon of water per day, 4-wheel drive, and high ground clearance. I had plenty of water, the Element has active 4×4.. and 2 out of 3 ain’t bad!


I ended up at the backcountry camp site “Fresno” about 30 miles through the trail from the West.


Fresno Backcountry Campsite. Border Patrol drove the River Road at irregular intervals through the night.


From both days of driving I counted only three trucks (one with a pop up camper in the back) and 5 dual sport bikes. That’s it.


It gave me the “hey I’m doing it! but this is spooky..” feeling. The Honda held up well after all the bottoming out and 3-wheeling I put her through. I wrapped up the trail this morning eager to cross the Rio Grande into the town of Boquillas for a victory margarita and some tacos.




Unfortunately, the customs office that facilitate the river road crossing is closed Monday and Tuesday.


I headed to the riverside hot springs instead. The limestone cliffs along the trail were a great case of the layering found throughout the park. It’s uniform and geometrically angular. All around neat.


Looking up at limestone layers


While enjoying my final cerveza in the springs, I waved hola to the vaquero riding by and snapped a few picture of a group on a canoe tour down the river (Rio Grande flows West to East). I exchanged info with a Michigan Upper Peninsula resident named Gabriel, and he told me to come by his farm when I get up there.






I should mention how big Big Bend is. It’s BIG. It has essentially 3 different environments.


The Chisos Mountains have forested basins that attract Cougars and, surprisingly, black bears. The desert area south of the mountains is where I spent the majority of my time. Then there is the Rio Grande estuary zone, lush and lined with bushes, tall grass, and what I would guess are cat-tail plants.


Also, the Rio Grande -> not so grande.


You could wade across it in the shallow parts, and from what I saw it doesn’t get much wider than 120 feet. The water was refreshing though, and I jumped back and forth from hot to cold and back. The luxury of a bonus shower wasn’t lost on me. Overall, a blast!


Next time a backpacking trip through the peaks and troughs of the Chisos will be top priority.


The Chisos Mountains are the dark peaks to the left.


Lastly, before I forget or dismiss it as too minor of a detail, I was stopped by Border Patrol just south of Fort Stockton and taken through secondary search. Now I’m not saying I was profiled as a long haired hippie who wouldn’t be able to resist stashing a bit of mota for my travels, but I’m not saying I wasn’t.


No worries though. Now I have a funny story to explain the german shepherd claw marks on the wooden platform in my car.”


¡Ay, caramba!


2-10-15 (1)

2-10-15 (2)

Sleeping in a Hostel in Austin tonight. Dallas tomorrow. Yeehaw.

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