March 12, 2013. First of Four-Part Series
The sun glistened through the rear passenger window where I slept. it was about 7:30 am. I tried to cover the blanket over my face but I couldn’t breathe. As when I got up, groggy and unkempt, the car was getting warmer. I peered through the back, seeing no cars.
I got out of the car, looked side by side, running up to the tree, stood behind it and finally emptied the bladder that I held out all night long. It was about 30 degrees and I didn’t want to expose my naked ass to the freezing climate, being groggy and all. To be honest, I was about to explode it within some seconds if I didn’t get out of the car immediately. I bet it would not be a pretty sight. Too bad we don’t have camel bladders. I surely envy the camels. I was scared of the dark. Alone. I didn’t trust any animal that might be creeping up with red glowing eyes, its saliva drooling, fangs ready to be bitten.
It was about 50 degrees out there. Okay. I combed my fingers through my hair, becoming a ponytail. Okay. Yawns. Okay. I checked my cell phone. No emergency calls. Cool. I checked Facebook of course. Nothing much really. Okay. I grabbed my car keys off the car seat organizer. I went on my way to Marathon. It was about 10 miles away from where I parked.
I stopped by at the small convenience store, bought some Monster (yes, save your lecture!) and donuts, changed some clean underwear, washed my face, feeling refreshed before I went on my way to Big Bend National Park. I looked up at the sky, my face warmed up by the sun really close. I felt like I could touch the sun.
On US 385 South off US 90 from Marathon.
It took me there probably about 45 minutes. There is a gate house, the Persimmon Gap, North entrance to Big Bend. The white-haired Ranger, about 60, smiled at me then started to mumble something. I, of course we do all the time, was gesturing that I went “uh what? ” with my face distorting like “I couldn’t hear you.” He instantly recognized that I was Deaf. He registered me with the Access Pass for free without discussing further. That was awesome! He shooed me away with his left hand waving -and with a smile. I drove. It was as easy as a breeze.
The Panther Junction Visitor Center is just right on the spot coming from US 385. The Center has plenty of information, pictures and maps. After having a consultation with the younger Ranger about the sunset location. It would be at Santa Elena Canyon. It’s the west of the Big Bend. I started off driving to the east first ……..to the Rio Grande Village.
The park’s geography can be categorized into three distinct environments: desert, mountain, and river as you can see from the video. This time now, its only focused on the Rio Grande Village.
The selfie (taken from my GoPro, thinking it was turned off but no it was not but it was awesome to see me walking to the tunnel anyhow….)
The Rio Grande Tunnel to the Rio Grande Village
The one and only tunnel in Big Bend National Park, this is the landmark prior to Rio Grande Village, Daniels Ranch and Boquillas Canyon. This iconic tunnel is about two miles north of Rio Grande Village. It was built in 1959.
Although impressive, Boquillas Canyon is perhaps less wow-inducing than the more popular Santa Elena Canyon (but also less crowded) so you may want to consider hiking this trail first if you plan on doing both. I went through the tunnel again, on the way to Rio Grande Overlook. This picture is overlooking the Rio Grande River towards Boquillas Canyon. Oh, I would like to remind you all that the Mexican Nationals leave small trinkets for Americans to purchase. They leave a note requesting donations. They watch the tourists across the river and if money is left they cross the river on horseback to retrieve the money.
Rio Grande Village Center. The campground is one of the most popular campgrounds especially for those traveling in large recreational vehicles. It is conveniently located next to Boquillas Canyon and Hot Springs. It is at an elevation of 1,850-2,000 ft. It also has a gas station, the tanks are old fashioned, you have to get inside and pay the gas, unlike the cities that has to allow us to charge our cards on the tanks. The store is the southeast corner with tourist facilities such as RV park, campground, gas station, store and laundromat. The gas itself is a little higher than normal. Good thing I was driving a small Camry, a rental. The trip was uneventful, really, tranquil and easy-to-go.
Off to Hot Springs…..on the next blog.