We spent 4 days at an RV Park (more of an RV parking Lot) hard against the Rio Grande River. While the RV Facilities were probably the plainest we have seen including many Walmart parking Lots, the surrounding area is SPECTACULAR. Now, we are Midwestern flatlanders. The desert is something new, as are mountains rising to 7,000+feet. Coyotes, Javelinas (looks like a pig but actually more closely related to Hippopotamus) Black Hawks, Road Runners, Mexican Blue Jays. Did I mention Coyotes? One Coyote stops traffic and waits for a handout. Sunset turns the hills from yellow to orange to pink against a vivid blue sky. All of this all around the parking lot. As a package, the best place we have been so far.
The first night it got really cold…AGAIN. About 20 degrees. No, our blood has NOT gotten thin, but our winter coats are back in Chicago! The water hose for the RV actually began to freeze. I caught it in time to extricate the snowcone it was becoming and we left the water running at a trickle. Others were not so lucky. Fortunately, the weather is expected to warm for the rest of the week. I am beginning to think WE are the problem, having the cold follow us from Chicago to everywhere we go.
We spent our first full day hiking. Our neighbor at the RV park gave us a packet of material (we arrived too late to get to the visitor station). From these we picked a short-ish route for our first real hike of our retirement. A little less than 6 miles, and about 800ft elevation change.
Absolutely spectacular in every direction. Virtually alone (very few other hikers). This was the “Window Trail” in the Chissos Mountain Basin. This area is a bowl at about 3000 ft in the center of hills rising to about 7,000 ft. The hike follows the path water takes to the “Window” where it falls (several thousand more feet!) out of the basin. There was very little water, but the hike was great, and the window was really something to see – and imagine with torrents of water after a rain.
After the “Main Course,” we decided to have a little “Dessert” hike in the desert. There is an old Hot Spring that is a short hike off a very rough road, which the Clown Car managed just fine though I think we disappeared in some of the ruts. The Hot Springs used to be a Spa. Actually extends out into the Rio Grande. Dipped feet in the hot water, then spin around and dip in the Cold Rio Grande. Repeat several more times. Many people dipped more than feet. AWESOME.
Lunch at a National park restaurant in the basin where we earned about a new possibility. Apparently, there is a whole transient group of folks that work in National parks…waiters, housekeepers, caretakers. Pay is not great, but it includes accommodations at the national park. Some live in trailers or dorms provided by the Park, others have their own campers and live on camper sites provided by the park. These folks move from park to park almost at will. Our waiter said it is pretty easy to get hired anyplace you go. Our waiter works winters at Big Bend and Summers at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. If this whole retirement thing doesn’t work out, maybe we can become such migrant workers?
We also visited the ghost town of Terlingua. They have a world chili cookoff every year, and not much else. We stopped for lunch…adequate
Spoiler Alert: A Political Thought…Worth considering regardless of your politics.
As we walked on several trails and enjoyed the magnificent vistas in this park, I was more than once struck by this thought: Has Donald ever been to Texas? Has he seen the magnificence of the Rio Grande, the National Park, the desert, etc? Mexico is right across the Rio Grande – you can see it in our pictures, and if you are so inclined, walk across and touch it (no passport required). For several hundred miles.
Whatever your politics (and I try to keep politics OUT OF this website), it is impossible to imagine (or justify) a WALL here. The scale of Texas makes the whole idea comical, and the beauty – places like the Big Bend National park — it would disrupt would make it tragic.