Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Big Bend National Park, Day 1

Big Bend was the only park on this itinerary that L hadn't been to before and therefore it was completely new to both of us. Thusly, we had planned to spend the most time at this park. The rive was interesting because the ice storm talked about the night before had definitely hit. We spent a lot of time going sub-speed limit and being awestruck by seeing every plant and tree encased in white. TXDOT had done a decent job of keeping the roads relatively ice-free, all things being considered.

Big Bend National Park    Big Bend National Park

We drove awhile in a icy wonderland and then, just like that, the fog/ice/sleet/snow was gone and we were back to the normal ice-free desert landscape. It was actually pretty amazing. We admired the fairly sizable town of Alpine and ended up lunching at Big Bend Pizza in Marathon, TX. It's a little hole in the wall restaurant but they make a mighty tasty pizza!

We continued on into the park to discover that despite this weather, this is Big Bend's busy season. There were a lot of RVs but not as many crazy tent campers like us. We headed to the Rio Grande campgrounds and managed to secure a spot with trees to protect us from the wind and an overhead shelter over the picnic table. SCORE!

Big Bend National Park

We had time enough to hit a trail before dark and headed to see the Rio Grande while it was also still 38 degrees. It was a nice little hike - the Rio Grand is a pale, dirty turquoise color and warmer than expected.

Big Bend National Park   Big Bend National Park   Big Bend National Park

What surprised us the most was the number of variety of flowers that were in bloom. We saw at least 5 different varieties plus a prickly pear that had reddish orange spines instead of the normal color.

Big Bend National Park   Desert Flowers    Desert Flowers   

Desert Flowers   Desert Flowers   Desert Flowers   Desert Flowers   

Sun was quickly disappearing so we headed back to the campsite to make dinner before we lost all the heat of the day and huddled in the tent for warmth. Dinner was tasty fajitas, eaten in the relative warmth of the car before we packed everything in for the night and played cards in the tent until we fell asleep. Let the record show that I got soundly beat in Phase 10...

Many more pictures in subsequent posts, I might have to break up Day 2 into 2 posts!

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