Back to the Mountains

Trip Start Dec 24, 2010
Trip End Jun 01, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Saturday, February 12, 2011

We left Sandhills State park regretfully.  It’s such a peaceful and relaxing place to stay.  I can only imagine how beautiful it will be in the spring, with all of the cacti and other flora in bloom.  We shopped and gassed up in Monhans and headed south to Big Bend National Park.  It’s located on the border with Mexico, and directly on the Rio Grande river, the border between the two entities.

We lost cell service after we left Marathon, TX, so I’m writing this in a text application and will upload it, along with today’s pictures, at the camp store later.  The amazing thing to me is that when you enter the park, it’s still forty six miles to the campground!  The park itself, is over 400,000 acres in area.  The road to our camp is a narrow, albeit smooth road with a speed limit of forty-five miles per hour.  Plenty fast, since the road is curvy and has many dips in it to facilitate the passage of water during flash floods during the rainy season.  As I mentioned before,  here it is referred to as the Monsoon.  July and August bring the only rain to the southwest.  This is the same moisture that is responsible for the spring flowers.  The weather all over the area has been cold.  The pond in the park actually had nearly an inch of ice on it just this week.  The ranger at the entrance to the Park said that the week of February third is one to remember, since it was so cold.  We remember it.  Poor old Shorty’s plumbing froze then and also up to last night when all was well.  We did try to dump our water storage tanks only to find that they were frozen.  By the time we got here, at Rio Grand Village all was well-thawed due to the nice and summery temperatures.

We are surrounded by huge Motorhomes.  Forty feet long and with numerous slices, they stick out into the driving area and made me wonder if I’d have enough room to back Shorty into our site.  Fortunately, the stagger the sites and getting parked was really no problem.  The folks are friendly, with several of them Texans.  They are known for their gregariousness.  Lynnie met one woman who took her into her “camper” and printed-off some info about a park in Corpus Christi that they really like.  Lynnie said that it was huge, with numerous slides and room for a coffee table no less.  Probably ran about $200,000 or so.  I asked her if she’d like one, to which she answered “I’d have to give up to many of the things I like’.  I responded that it would only be her house… No comment on that.

We did a hike of about two miles, following the Rio Grande Nature Trail.  It spurs out to the river itself and the vistas are amazing!  Along the way we saw several spots where the ancient people had ground  “mortars” into the stone on the trail.  These were used to grind various plant seeds for food.  We also saw two “kiosks” where the Mexicans had left homemade articles for sale.  One photo shows this better than I can explain.  Apparently the Mexicans come across the river at night to check the kiosks to see if they have made any sales.  By law, it’s illegal to purchase anything from them.  Since the border is now closed, the cross-border culture has ceased to exist.  In prior times folks would cross to visit and dine among other things.  The trail is rocky and dusty and demands your attention and requires that you stop often to marvel at the amazing panoramas that unfold at every turn.  I got one picture of the Big Bend Mosquitofish.  There were only three of them left before serious work was begun to increase their numbers.  Now the pond is filled with them and they are easily seen from the bridge.  The large mountains shown are the Sierra del Carmen mountains.  The village along the river is Boquillas, Mexico and is not far from the trail itself.  Tomorrow we’ll head out in the Sooby and see what else we can find to photograph and tell you about.  
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