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