Being a National Park lover and living in Houston Texas does not really equal to many opportunities to get to hop in the car and take a quick trip and go to one, I mean Big Bend National Park is 10 hours away. Yes, that’s right TEN and it’s still in the same state! But we weren’t going to let that stop us for a long Labor Day weekend. We packed the car, full to the brim with our camping gear and set out.
We were really hoping to be able to camp in Chisos Basin due to the higher elevation (cooler temps) but unfortunately were not able to book a spot in advance and when we got there all the sites were full. So on we went to Cottonwood Campground, which was practically empty! After we set up camp we made our way to Santa Elena Canyon – only a few miles up the road and started our first hike.
Now we weren’t in BBNP for long and didn’t get to do too many different trails but holy cow this hike… so epic! Standing between those massive canyon walls, Mexico on one side and Texas on the other was probably one of the coolest things I have experienced. It was an easy hike, minus the ankle deep mud getting to the start of the trail but the kids loved it.
I could tell you the story of how it stormed that first night and our campsite flooded and we had to try and find a hotel with no reception in the middle of the night… but i’ll spare you the gory details. Let’s just say that during monsoon season, you need to be very mindful of where you place your tent.
One of the many things that intrigued me about this park was astro-photography. So many people said things like “you’ve will never see as many stars as you will in Big Bend”, so I thought challenge accepted. And I made sure to pack my tripod and remote on this trip into the desert. And holy crap were those people ever right!!! We spent a good hour (with 3 kids) in the pitch black, just parked in the desert staring at the sky, me taking photo after photo… I was determined to get a shot of the milky way in all it’s glory! AND I DID!
We spent the next morning in Terlingua since that’s where we ended up after “the flood”. We had breakfast at a cute little spot next to the Starlight Theater that had the best waffles ever – it was called
Espresso Y Poco Mas. We initially thought it was just a coffee place but it was delicious!!! And from there we walked around Terlingua at some of the old houses before making our way back into the park.
After we got back into the park we stopped off at
Lower Burro Mesa Pour–off Trail for a short little hike – perfect for kiddos to stretch their legs. We saw tons of hawks and cool lizards and cacti…
Then we stumbled upon the highlight of the whole dang trip – BLACK BEARS!! We were making our way into the Chisos Basin, to hike the Lost Mine Trail and a Momma Bear and baby just come walking across the road. And as we parked we saw them cross the road again (be sure to watch the video at the end of this post).
We hiked to the halfway point of Lost Mine but decided to come back and do the whole thing the next day, so we could really enjoy it and then made out way over to Chisos Basin look out to catch sunset between the Window.
On our final day at BBNP we made our way back to the Lost Mine Trail and hiked all the way to the top. We really saved the best for last. We experienced fog, rain, sun and heat all within the few hours it took us to climb to the top (and back down). It was magical – we truly saved the best for last! It was so great that it made the sprint to the car in the pouring rain totally worth it.
I cant wait to go back to this place…