I've always heard that Texas was a big state, and clearly it is when one looks at the map, but driving through it gave us a whole new appreciation of just how vast it is! When we made our itinerary for this trip and Bryce wanted to visit Big Bend National Park, I was dubious. It seemed like a loooong way, and a lot of time in the car, to get there! While it did indeed take a long time, it was ever so worth it!
Big Bend is in southwest Texas where the Rio Grande makes a "big bend" on it's course to the Gulf of Mexico. Primarily a desert fringed by small mountain ranges, the Chisos Mountains are in the center of the park offering cooler temperatures and incredible views. There are also several canyons cut by the Rio Grande River.
As you can imagine, it was ever so HOT! However, it was never miserable as we were able to time the things that we did to avoid the heat. Our first evening there we hiked into Boquillas Canyon for our first glimpse of the Rio Grande!
A Road Runner
After our hike we drove the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive and went to see the Santa Elena Canyon. Every time we stood by the Rio Grande it was pretty crazy to realize that Mexico was literally feet away!
That evening, after dinner, we hiked up a hill near our campsite to view the sun setting. The way the light hits the mountains is absolutely breathtaking and these pictures don't even come close to doing it justice.
We were super fortunate that we ran into a wonderful ranger who recommended that we visit the Hot Springs, but that we go for sunrise as it was too hot any other time of the day. This turned out to be our favorite thing we did in Big Bend. Sitting in the hot springs (it was very warm!) and watching the sun rise over the mountains and the Rio Grande was truly a breathtaking and special moment.
Next up, Carlsbad Caverns...