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Big Bend

Big Bend National Park is so remote that chances are you'll never get to see it. It's a eight-hour drive from major cities like Dallas and Houston. I have a brother that lived several years in Texas before ever making it to West Texas. But after hearing his stories of the place, I was determined to make it there myself.

On this trip to Big Bend National Park, I drove 6 hours from El Paso. From this route there really isn't much to see until you get near Terlingua, Texas, about a half-hour from the park. A former movie set where they filmed Contrabando features old western building facades and a Spanish church surrounded by unique red rock formations. See the map below for the exact spot.

Making the way up into the Chisos basin where I planned to stay, I noticed a tarantula crawing its way across the road. I once saw one in southern New Mexico while hiking. Glad I didn't run him over.

Big Bend has a variety of things to see. The rock formations in the Chisos basin feature green-colored spires. About 10 miles from the park center and a mile hike in the Grapevine Mountains is an arch. I guess they call it the Grapevine Mountains due to the violet color of the brush when in bloom. The scenery here was outstanding since it had been raining heavily for the past couple of days and wildflowers were blooming everywhere.

Being short on time, and the threat of more rain on the way, I chose an early morning hike on the Lost Mine Trail. This is a decent trail with great views after hiking up only about 30 minutes.

Another outstanding hike is Santa Elena Canyon trail which hugs a canyon wall and borders Mexico. I am told this fairly level hike has great views of the canyon and Rio Grande River. Unfortunately, I was never able to get there as heavy rains had washed out the access road.

Don't know when I'll ever get back to Big Bend, but there is unfinished business. I have seen pictures of vistas from the Upper Chisos Mountains along the south rim and know I must go back. I wish Big Bend wasn't so far away, more like just around-the-bend.


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