Big Bend National Park, TX

Hey Friends! How are you? Hope you’re having a great week!

I am actually in NC right now visiting the fam. πŸ™‚ Just been relaxing so far and have some fun stuff planned for the weekend which I am sure we will share all about later!

For today’s post, I actually wanted to share a bit about a camping trip I went on 2 weekends ago.Β  The Hoch and I planned a trip out to Big Bend National Park, TX and a couple of his buddies flew in from NY to join us. We rented a van to make sure we’d have plenty of room for the 6ish hour drive to the park from San Antonio.

Big Bend is located in southwest Texas right along the Mexican border and is HUGE (hey it’s Texas)! It is mostly desert, but includes the Chisos mountain range, where we hiked and camped, and some of the most scenic drives. I almost felt like we were in the Westworld TV show.

Here is a map with a few pins of the places we visited while there (more on all this in a sec):

Now, this wasn’t car camping (tho it did start out that way)! It was legit, hike several miles, then set up camp type camping. We had to carry everything with us, including food AND water. And since it can get pretty hot, it’s recommended to carry a gallon per day per person. 😳

Here is a recap of our trip:

Day 1: We had decided to drive through the night and arrived super early at the Chisos Basin visitor center. We checked in to claim our campsite for the following night (it’s first come, first serve) and then we ate breakfast at the lodge before heading out for the day.

This was a chill day in which we drove around to see some of the areas in the park that are too far to hike to which included Santa Elena Canyon Overlook. There was a short trail that took you to get to the Rio Grande that was sandwiched between the 2 canyons.

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After some additional stops to take in the amazing views, we headed back to the Basin where we car camped for the night. We had brought some beers and Trader Joe’s Korean BBQ for dinner, so this was the luxurious night. πŸ˜‰

Day 2: We were up bright and early, loaded everything we didn’t need in the van and headed out on the approx. 5-6 mile hike to our camp spot. It was tough, especially with all the water, but it really wasn’t as bad as I was anticipating. We took breaks when needed and still made good time!

Once we got to our campsite, we set up camp, and ate a lunch of quesadillas before heading back out to explore some more.

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The Campsite had a couple of Bear Boxes in which we needed to store all the food.
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Our campsite had a nearby toilet which was actually not too bad. Some of the sites were far from toilets and then you’d have to dig a hole and all that jazz.

We decided to check out Emory Peak that afternoon which is the highest peak in the area (at an elevation of 7,825′).

One the way, I spotted what we thought was a baby mountain lion, but then we saw it’s tail and it was quite poofy, like a raccoon. It just stared at us with curiosity and we thought that if it was a baby mountain lion, the mama was somewhere so we didn’t want to stay around for too long.

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We found out later it was a Ringtail Cat which is in the raccoon family (maybe I should stick with the baby mountain lion story πŸ˜‰ ).

On our hike up to Emory Peak, we pretty much had to scramble and rock climb a bit at the very end to get to the top. It was some of the steepest trails I had ever hiked/climbed before.

I was nervous about it, but I made it up just fine and of course the views were worth it. πŸ™‚

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Hoch climbing to the top
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View from the top

The rest of our day was spent relaxing at the campsite. There was a fire ban since it was so dry so we couldn’t start a wood fire (which was kind of weird, camping without a fire!) and had to use small propane heaters to heat up and prepare our food.

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My Fancy Dinner

Day 3: This was a day of hike, eat, rest, repeat. πŸ™‚ We hiked around 17 miles that day (!) including seeing some of the best views on the south rim of the basin and ending the day with a sunset hike which meant walking back in the dark.

I was hoping we’d see a black bear or something (I know I’m crazy), but no dice.

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The South Rim
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Those Views!

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Day 4: This ended up being such a fun and random day. We woke up early, packed up camp, and headed out. Once we got back to the van, we ate breakfast at the lodge, and drove to some hot springs close to the Mexican border.

Why there are hot springs in TX, I am not sure (I guess it does get a little chilly in the winter), but it was definitely a nice way to relax after all that hiking!

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Looking half asleep on the hike back

After the hot springs (sorry no photo), we actually decided to head into Mexico to a town called Boquillas for lunch (we all brought our passports). We had to take a boat across the river, and had the option to ride a truck or donkeys into town to go to their customs. We opted for the truck. πŸ™‚

It was a tiny, dusty, and a tad colorful town. There were 3 restaurants/bars and not much else. We decided to go to all 3 of them because why not?

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Dusty Roads
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Their Happy Place
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Some really good Mexican Food

After Boquillas, we came back into the states via the same route we left (truck ride and boat) and then hit the road for the 6 hour ride back to San Antonio.


I am proud of how much I was able to handle on this trip. It was hard and I was trying to keep up with the guys (2 of which are avid and super fast hikers). But it was also very rewarding as these challenges always are.

I am definitely looking forward to seeing more National Parks here in the US in the near future!! 😍

Also, I put together the following video of our trip!Β πŸŽ₯

I hope you enjoyed watching/reading about our adventure! And if you ever make it out there, let me know what you think!

Until next time,

Kimberly

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