Big Bend - Day Trip
The drive from Balmorhea took us about 3 hours. We started the trip with a stop @ Panther Junction. We paid fees, got information, and picked up JR books for the kids to complete. We filled out what we could in the AC of the VC. We had just learned a ton about the Chihuahuan desert the day before at Guadalupe. Cholla, Yucca, Sotol, Lecheguilla, Prickly Pear, Agave......We saw them all. There was a cactus garden just outside of the VC with a guide to learn about the different cacti.
Off to Chisos Basin. We made the stop to the gift shop for shirts, a visor, and whatever. Found a shaded picnic table at the end of the parking lot and had lunch. A pair of young mule ear deer happened by. They must like sandwiches. We took a short hike on Window View trail? I think that was the name. The boy traveling with us got tired of hiking rather quickly. That was a downer. I really wanted to say to him "Dude, we're in Big Bend, what's the big deal? Your feet can't hurt. You've been sitting on your butt for hours. If anything should be hurting, it should be your butt!" The campground looked very nice, and the view amazing. This part of the park was at a higher elevation so it was cooler with taller trees for shade.
Back to the truck. We stopped at a hoodoo of sandstone and the boys went exploring.
Back to the truck. We stopped at an exhibit about fossils. We saw the replicas, looked at the view, but were more fascinated at all the very large black with yellow grass hopppers feasting on a prickly pear fruit.
Back to the truck. We took a driving trail which led us to a 4x4 road. Here's my chance to spice up the ride. Down the trail we go. Nothing to tough. It was like a green slope for skiers, a bunny trail. Funny I should say that. We had a few jackrabbits in the road. Since we weren't traveling to fast, they just hopped along in front of us instead of getting out of the way. We let the kids out to chase them, oh, I mean, get a better look at them.
Back to the truck for a very long drive back to Balmorhea. The kids were grumpy.
I really wish we could have gotten there earlier in the day, hiked more, and stayed overnight. That won't be the last time we go to Big Bend.
Re: Big Bend - Day Trip
Your post brings back fond memories of the trip Justin and I took to Big Bend NP in October 2001. We spent a week or so there, camping in Rio Grande Village (in a rented pop-up camper). We left vowing we would definitely return someday. We haven't made it back, yet, but definitely will... everything you mentioned we checked out, and then some -- we also hiked to The Window in the Basin, hiked the Santa Elena Canyon trails, and so much more that was memorable and fun. Most of all, we want to return with decent cameras. Well, Justin at least had a decent camera back then, but I had a low resolution camera and want to return to properly capture my memories in photographs that can actually be displayed as nice prints.
Re: Big Bend - Day Trip
Thanks for the trip report! Big Bend is a unique and magical part of Texas. I am convinced the High Chisos cast a spell on us mere mortals and that is why we return to the park. Made my first trip in 1979 and then finally returned in 2003 and have been back every year since (and twice last year).