Sunday, 17 February 2013

Train Trip 2013 -- Big Bend National Park

Following dry stream beds, scrambling over boulders and crawling under fallen logs, bush whacking, many encounters with pant ripping and skin snagging branches, a leg-impaling, blood-drawing thorny cactus, a deer, lots of birds, warm days and very cold nights. This pretty much sums up our first couple days at Big Bend National Park.

Andrew and I had gotten a back country permit to go cross country and camp where ever. Midway through the second day I wondered out loud why we couldn't walk on established trails and stay at one of the many established camp sites like most normal people would. After all, it was my new Patagonia pants that now had a rip in them and my leg that had blood running down it after being stabbed by a homicidal cactus -- I felt I was due a bit of whining. Andrew quipped that if I was looking for normal I'd hooked up with the wrong guy! How true!
Finding water in the desert.
Our "where ever" camp
Sunset from "where ever" camp
Although it was interesting terrain, it was a tough couple of days. Despite his comment above, Andrew was still struggling with a bad cold and cough. Our cross country trek took us from Panther Junction, over a couple high passes, to Chosis Basin.

We camped there for the night and then got another back country pass for one of the established sites about a 40 minute hike up Pinnacle Trail. From there we did day hikes. The South Rim trail, according to the guidebook, is the trail to do in Texas. Despite a somewhat overcast day, the views were incredible. Red rock, grassy and cactus-covered hills and, several miles away, the Rio Grande River with Mexico on the other side. As we sat and ate our lunch from one of the view points a yellow tailed hawk (we think) put on a great show as he glided back and forth on the wind currents.
 South Rim Trail 
From the South Rim Trail
A curious Mexican Jay landed right above me as we stopped for a break.
A shorter but also really nice hike was out to "the window". A downhill and gradual narrowing of a canyon leads to a opening about 10 feet across and a very long drop off. The rock on either side forms the sides of the window out to another amazing view in the distance.
The Window
Shadows at sunset
To get out to Big Bend we'd made arrangements with Tipsy Taxi to drive us out there. The owner, Shannon, was born and raised in the area so he was able to tell us a lot about what we were seeing and provide some history on the drive from Alpine. Not having a car is certainly an oddity as the staff at both Ranger Stations asked us at least two or three times where we'd parked our vehicle!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you survived! I admire your ability to do it. I simply LOVE established trails. Hope Andrew's cold is improving - I got the cough (from Atley, I think) and 2 weeks later I still have it! Happy Trails.