Friday, March 18, 2011

Big Bend: Rio Grande Village

With daytime temperatures well into the 90s, our strategy for visiting Big Bend National Park this week is to get up with the sun and be home by early afternoon. When we left the RV park about 7:30 this morning, the temperature was a comfortable but still slightly dark 59 degrees.

Today's mission was to explore Rio Grande Village, on the eastern side of Big Bend. With 120 miles or so on our itinerary, we were happy (and smart) to make this a sunrise tour. A few miles before reaching Big Bend we stopped to capture this magnificent start to the day.

Could you receive a more picturesque welcome to a National Park? We purchased our new Annual Park Pass and headed into the rising sun.

At the first turnout we just had to get one more shot of sunrise over the Chisos Mountains.

The morning light kept changing the spectacular mountain views, which kept the passenger of our pair very busy. We look forward to coming back to explore the Chisos another morning this week. (It's supposed to be a little cooler up there!)

As we approached the southeastern edge of the park, we stopped at the Rio Grande Overlook. Good Morning, Mexico!

In Rio Grande Village, we found our way through the campground to the trailhead of the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail. After passing through some dense vegetation, the trail opened up to a raised boardwalk across a restored wetlands area. This is a favorite area for birders, but we recommend it for photobugs, too!

We made our way up the trail to a promontory with panaromic views of the Rio Grande River.

And, what's the view across the river?

The Mexican village of Boquillas. Click on the picture and you can see some of the buildings in this very small town of less than 200 residents. Downriver from Boquillas is Boquillas Canyon, our next destination.

When we stopped at the Boquillas Canyon overlook, a man was tending to this small display of trinkets from Boquillas. This is one of many displays we saw as we hiked along the river. Signs are posted at trailheads warning that visitors possessing these items are subject to a fine.

After the man took care of his display, he paddled back across the border. We spotted a couple of Border Patrol planes during our outing. With no legal border crossings in the park, anyone crossing into Mexico can be prosecuted, with up to $5,000 in fines and/or one year in prison. Needless to say, we were happy to stay on American soil.

Our last hike of the day was the Boquillas Canyon Trail. Temperatures were definitely on the rise when we started this short but very scenic trail. We just had to get one more shot of the Rio Grande!

We hiked into the canyon to enjoy the views, a picnic lunch and some very welcome shade!

This cool spot on the border was the perfect spot to enjoy our lunch. Rested and refreshed, we headed back to the Jeep. With Rocky's air conditioner humming, we retraced our route across the park. By the time we returned to Lajitas, the thermometer was at 93 degrees. Good timing!

We spent the rest of the afternoon cooling off and watching the NCAA basketball tournament. The KU-Boston U game just got underway. So, it's time to close. Rock chalk!


Jim and Sandie said...

I keep thinking the Rio Grande should be a much larger river. Gorgeous pictures of the sunrise.

Merikay said...

I can't imagine getting my husband up before dawn, but I can appreciate the reason for your early start. Getting in some hiking before it get to hot would certainly work for me. And the sunrise was fantastic!

John and Sandy said...

Glad to see you enjoyed your day. It looks very familiar:)

Leno said...

Very cool pictures..

Sue and Doug said...

nice blog today!..thanks for sharing your early morning trip with all of us!..

E Squared and Mui said...

Early morning departures would be our plan too ... not only do you beat the heat, but you likely beat the crowds too ... though you probably didn't have to worry about the latter on this outing. And of course, you get the bonus of beautiful sunrises, too.

CeiPui said...

Beautiful places, awesome pictues!