We left Del Rio, Texas on Wednesday, December 14 and drove US 90 to Marathon, Texas and then took 385 south to the National Park. The night before we left we had a nice sunset and a full moon. I just wanted to include these two shots to remember the beautiful evening. Kim loves Christmas and just had to put the lights on the trailer, even though we were only staying two nights.
As we drove along US 90, we came to the Pecos River. There is a nice canyon there and we stopped to take a few pictures. I can see why they talk about the law west of the Pecos. This would have been a significant barrier before this road and bridge were built.
We knew there was an RV park just outside the north entrance. We decided to go into the park first and stop at the visitor center at Persimmon Gap and we are glad we did.
We talked to a nice volunteer and he told us about the back country camping opportunities. We could camp at any of the available sites for up to 14 days for $12. That has to be the best deal in any of the National Parks. We chose Hannold Draw, which is right off of pavement, but is hidden from the road by a bluff. It is a horse area and has a stall, but is plenty large for our rig. We got our permit that would start on Thursday. We decided to go back to the RV park called Stillwell Store and stay just one night. We will fill up water and head back into the park on Thursday and get set up for a week stay with no hookups in the middle of the dessert. The views were pretty nice at Stillwell, the park is just a cleared piece of dessert, but it sure was quiet. The cost was $20 for Water and Electric and they had WiFi. No cell signal as expected.
We got going on Thursday and filled every available container with water. When we arrived at our site, we were surprised that we were adjacent to a maintenance area. Not the best scenery, but we did feel very remote. We could hear a car on the road, but they do not come by often. The amazing thing is we have 3 bars of 3G Verizon, but of course no OTA TV. Here is a shot of our home for a week.
Here is our view of the Chisos Mountains from our site:
We also have a view of Sierra Del Carmen out the other side.
We went to the visitor center at Panther Junction that is only about 5 miles from our site and talked to the volenteers about paddling and hiking in the park. Then we watched the movie. We just love those movies and this one was very well done.
We sat outside that first night and enjoyed the sunset over the Chisos Mountains and then the beautiful stars along with Venus and Mars. I have never seen Venus look that bright. This is one of the darkest places in the country. The moon came up a little after 8 and was spectacular.
It was warm those first few days, but we knew a front was coming in that was going to bring some much colder weather. We knew that if we were going to paddle it needed to happen in the first two days. The best sections of the river are two day floats. I would really like to do one, but I was just not ready to camp in a tent on the river at this point of our trip. We decided to focus on the hiking this trip and save the paddling for another time. We will be back!
I am going to break this visit to BBNP into a 3 entries. There is just so much to see and do. I have taken a bunch of pictures and I will get them sorted and try to keep this as concise as possible. I can tell you now, we LOVE Big Bend National Park. It is an amazing place that much fewer people have visited than the other major parks. We will start the tour in my next entry.