Over the weekend I took a roadtrip with 4 girlfriends to Big Bend National Park in far southwest Texas. I’ve lived in Texas over 20 years and have never made it out there. And it was long overdue. It is all that they say it is. Big, beautiful, rugged, inspiring, with mountain, desert and river views to die for.
Six and a half hours by car from Austin, we made it to Ft. Davis by about 7pm Friday night. We had reservations to attend one of the evening Star Parties held 3 times a week at the University of Texas McDonald Observatory, and made it with a little time to spare. The skies were dark and the stars were out. The Milky Way was amazing. The stars and constellations visible to the naked eye were too many to count. Through the telescopes they had placed for visitors, I saw Saturn, the Andromeda Galaxy, M11 star cluster, and the 2 star clusters in the Perseus constellation. If you’re going to make the trip all the way out to Big Bend, you really should combine it with a trip to the observatory. Get tickets ahead of time online. They sell out frequently and have to turn people away.
Saturday morning we drove to Big Bend and hiked inside of Big Bend National Park. Saturday afternoon we did the Window Trail – to experience the Chisos Mountains part of Big Bend. Four hours round trip, a moderately challenging hike, with breathtaking scenery all along the way.
We started Sunday at Santa Elena Canyon at dawn – to experience the Rio Grand river part of Big Bend. It was about an easy 2 hour hike roundtrip – though we had to bushwack a bit to get onto the trail. The Rio Grande has sliced a 1500′ deep canyon through the mountain there. At sunrise, the face of the sheer mountain walls glow in the brightening sunlight.
Sunday afternoon we hiked the Mule Ears Springs trail – to experience the Chihuahuan Desert part of Big Bend. A 3 hour hike, moderate difficulty, mainly due to the rough terrain and 90+ degree temperatures. Packing water with you is a must!
Another very awesome trip. We hiked our butts off.