For anyone considering a visit to Big Bend National Park, take it from us: worth it. We were able to find so much wildlife, plants, and amazing views just by driving through the park. Traveling from the entrance to the headquarters took us about 45 minutes, and then another 30 to our campsite. We both were super excited to see a greater roadrunner while driving through the park! It is really remote and beautiful in this underrated park. Immediately people at campsites nearby were greeting us and complimenting our tiny camper (who we have named Scamper for it’s ability to handle rough roads). We came across one man who was from the east as well. Kevin, a video editor, was traveling the country in his 5x8ft, all decked out, $12,000 teardrop camper. He was towing his teardrop with a VW diesel golf, getting 35MPG and cruising in luxury. He made Hunter and I look like amateurs, but again, we spent less than a quarter of what Kevin did and we built it ourselves. We were pretty proud with ourselves after Kevin told us he sprung a leak and had to use silicone to seal it back up (Scamper is probably 60% silicone in itself).
We were lucky enough to move over to another campsite the next day so we could leave Scamper in peace and have the next full day to do whatever we wanted ourselves. We visited the Rio Grande Village visitors center (where we were camping) and talked to a volunteer there. After telling him our main interests being birds and plants, he pulled out a map, looked Hunter in the eye and said, “I’m going to tell you about a special place because you,” points to him, “are a botanist.” The trail wasn’t marked on the map and we had to follow diligent instructions on how to get to a waterfall with magical plant species and orchids. We arrived and traveled to a junction where we turned left (which ended up being the wrong way) all the way up to follow the Chisos Mountain Range. The trail took us up a ridge to an amazing view of the valley below us. We ate lunch on a cliff and descended to the Window Trail, an amazing drop off where water has smoothed the mountain out and created a polished look to the trail. We turned around and traveled back to the junction, turned toward Catskills Falls, and found a small waterfall full of plant life. Unfortunately Hunter’s orchids weren’t in bloom, but the oasis was still something to marvel over. After the entire trek, we hiked 8.5 miles in the hot desert sun. My polish skin burnt and we both craved cheeseburgers and large lemonades after we reached the car.
That night, we heard owls hooing in the trees next to us. I was ecstatic to realized they were Elf Owls, breeding in the trees right next to Scamper. A friendly hare was watching us nearby. Then, we were welcomed by new neighbors at our campsite. Benjamin, a doctor from Edmonton, Alberta asked us for an extra propane tank. Him and his wife were friendly enough to bring us watermelon, chat with us, offer us a place to stay if we were ever in Canada, and asked if we wanted tea and crumpets in the morning. We awoke the next morning to a new propane canister and a business card from Benjamin with his address on it. Canadians really are the nicest people.
We were excited to leave Texas. We packed our things, and with a late start the next day, we finally reached Alamogordo, New Mexico late at night on the 22nd. We are staying at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park while we tour the White Sands National Monument. It’s dark until 8pm, the wind kicks ass, and the Mexican is seriously delicious. Hunter was happy to use the sand dunes as steep ski slopes and we used the opportunity to act like children. Our next destination is Enchanted Tower (similar to a destination in Texas) which has some of the best sport climbing in New Mexico, and then off the Santa Fe by Friday. We hope to be on skis and shredding some slopes by the weekend in Taos. Check out the pictures we have. I’m also trying to upload videos but I am so horrible with that stuff I get impatient. Coming soon (hopefully)!