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Big Bend – 2017

So this wasn’t a planned “thing” – blogging about travel. But I declared in December 2016 that 2017 was going to be the year of travel. Like a trip-a-month of sorts. And honestly, we’ve got something, somewhere almost every month of the year. So I figure I might as well share what we did, where we stayed, would we go back, etc. with y’all. I’m not quite sure how being gone away from the garden & chickens is going to work out, but that’ll be another post I’m sure 🙂

 

 

So…Big Bend, TX. More specifically.. Lajitas, TX. That’s where we spent Spring Break 2017. As the crow fly’s, it’s approximately 7,245,983 7-8 hours away from home if you don’t stop for too many bathroom breaks.

 

And it’s BIG.

 

Y’all, I can’t even wrap my head around how big it is. Or the fact that most of it was once rich, farm land that as a result of overgrazing- is now a barren, desert landscape. Very unforgiving country. I spent more time than I care to admit thinking about all the ways we could attempt to build the soil back up so that it would be useable space. (thanks to reading Folks, This Aint Normal by Joel Salatin the previous week)

 

(Texas on the left, Mexico on the Right, Rio Grande below)

The same BIG place that is right on the Texas/Mexico border. Almost too close for comfort when I realized it. But then you realize that no one in their right mind would actually willingly cross that terrain, and only a handful of people live there. This is not a desert oasis like Arizona. There is practically no water besides the Rio Grande. Holding tanks for roof water run off, composting toilets & solar panels are the norm, and for those that can’t afford it, well…they’re truly “off grid” – but it seems to be the life they love.

But in the midst of everything I’m telling you, there is a REALLY nice RV park/resort in Lajitas, with a really cold swimming pool & beautiful mountainous views looking into Mexico. It’s a place to park it & hang out. If you’re into golfing, their is a really nice golf course across the street. If you’re looking for a Walmart, you’re out of luck. Cell phone service, nadda. The nearest hospital is over an hour away, but the town’s only store has just about everything you could need in the middle of nowhere.

(Sunrise at the RV park)

 

What’d we do? Well, we cooked out. A lot. It’s kind of our thing. Ribs, pulled pork tacos, chicken – slaws, veggies, all the good things. And oddly enough, relatives that live hours away that we never see came to Big Bend for spring break too, so lots of visiting and food was had!

 

(we met the mayor of Lajitas too – Clay Henry the beer drinking goat)

We also hiked. Ernst Tenaja, the Window, Boquillas, and St Elena pass were a few. I thought I was going to meet my death a few times (apparently I have trust issues with people pulling/lifting me up, dangling more than my own height above the ground). Our kids were TROOPERS, man. Some of it didn’t even phase them – which was great because we didn’t want them to hate hiking in general. But man, it got hot, y’all. Like 97 degrees in the middle of March. Surprisingly, the Rio Grande is really cold. We soaked our aching feet in the river, and watched Mexicans waiting on the other side of the river with their donkey’s & dogs to take (willing) American’s into town in Mexico. Though there was a legal port of entry, we hadn’t secured our passports in time – so we skipped Mexico this time around. Oh, and don’t forget “Juan, the singing Mexican”. He’ll serenade your walk into Boquillas Canyon if you tip him. Gotta give it to him for his entrepreneurial drive! We saw some javalinas while driving, bats at dusk every night, but never stumbled across a mountain lion or black bear (we were a little bummed on that).

 

(a hut made from Ocatillo’s that a man raised his family of like *11* in, in the middle of nowhere, and died at 100 years of age…crazy history)

But there was the Terlingua store. Pretty cool place where you can sit, watch people hula hoop with the homemade ones hanging on the porch, visit with locals and drink a cold one. Don’t forget to grab your sugar skull shirt to prove you were there!  And the High Sierra restaurant – very good, though I’m not sure if it seemed especially good because we were really hungry! We also checked out the “community garden”. Not too much happening there, but they were definitely making an effort!

 

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The only downside in the entire trip, is that the word is out. Big Bend for Spring Break is a thing now. While my husband has been several times at other times of the year, and not seen more than a dozen people the whole time – we saw hundreds, if not a thousand people while we were there. If you go, stay somewhere with online reviews (unless you like to pop a tent with no amenities on the side of the road), and don’t go in the summer unless you are acclimated to that weather (seriously, dangerous).

 

But overall, would I go back? YES! I’d love to hike other trails & find the springs to take a dip in. It was a much needed trip to “unplug” and really, you don’t have much choice but to.


 

Have you been to Big Bend? Did you love it or hate it? What are your favorite trails, towns, hole-in-the-wall joints, etc.?

 

 

 

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