Big Bend National Park - Whoa!
They say everything is bigger in Texas and the 800,000-acre Big Bend National Park is no exception. This massive national park extends through 3 diverse habitats -- the Chihuahuan Desert the Rio Grande and the Chisos Mountains!
SANTA ELENA CANYON
Santa Elena Canyon is probably one of the most breathtaking sights in Big Bend National Park.
This 1,500 foot limestone canyon created by the Rio Grande it literally divides the United States from Mexico.
The kids enjoyed the visual contrast; the left wall of the canyon (Sierra Ponce) is part of Mexico, and the right wall (Mesa de Anguilla) is part of Texas.
Santa Elena Canyon is visible for over 10 miles away, as the Rio Grande changes direction abruptly after following beneath the straight Sierra Ponce cliffs for several miles and heads due west, cutting through the mountains via a deep, narrow gorge.
The only mountain range to be completely encapsulated within the bounds of a single national park, the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park in Southwestern Texas is also the southernmost mountain range in the United States.
The beautiful Chihuahuan Desert gives the Chisos Mountains its remote feel.
BOQUILLAS HOT SPRINGS
A short day hike down to the historic Boquillas Hot Spring on the banks of the Rio Grande was a great way to end our day. While it took creative navigating to drive to the hiking trail - the path to the springs was a piece of cake!
Our hot tub days will never be the same! Hot spring water is considered old water, fossil water, ancient and irreplaceable. Heated by geothermal processes at 105° F., the water carries dissolved mineral salts said to have healing powers. Boy did we feel healed!
Oh and you see The Rio Grande - yeah we swam in that as well! The curve of the Rio Grande in west Texas gives the state its unique shape and separates the United States from Mexico, giving Big Bend its namesake!
Shortly after you begin the trail to the springs, you arrive at the original Hot Springs Store. Although J. O. Langford originally settled the area around 1909, he and his family left around 1912 due to bandits making the area unsafe. When he and his family returned in 1927, they built the store and motel you see in this area today.
Since this popular trail is along the river, Mexican Nationals cross the border and place their knick-knack stands here to entice American Tourists to purchase and donate. La Tiendas is what these displays are called. You are not supposed to buy these items (they’re considered contraband by the Border Patrol)
We thoroughly enjoyed this day adventure with the family - haven't quite done anything like it - so it ranks pretty darn high!
A long day - time to turn in, thankfully we are use to the soothing sounds of cyotes and mountain lions....