01 March 2006 Wednesday

We had a beautiful sunrise at the picnic area and stayed for breakfast.  We were about an hour from the entrance to Big Bend.  Big Bend National Park is in the Chihuan desert in the southern tip of Texas, at the “big bend” of the Rio Grande River.  We stopped at the park headquarters and they were really busy, so we just sat in the parking and made a soup snack.  While we were there, we heard a big crash.  Someone from the Chisos Mountain Lodge (within the park) had just backed the company van into a parked car’s hitch-mounted bike rack!  They broke out their own back window and then left, with maybe 10 people in the parking lot watching.  One of the rangers did fill out an accident report when the bicyclist got back to his car.  The park office finally slowed down a bit and we went in to layout our stay.  Most people who are here are in large campers, so they are staying at the full service park campground, the Rio Grande Village.   We always go for the backcountry sites, down 4-wheel drive roads, so we pretty much have the place to ourselves.  Most of the backcountry sites here are quite a way from other sites, so you really have some privacy.  

Our first night is at La Clocha, near the hot springs.  The Hot Springs in Big Bend were commercialized in the early 1900’s or so.  There are still several structures standing and the primary foundation for the hot springs building.  The hot springs building is gone, lost in the frequent flooding of the Rio Grande, but the foundation still exists, creating a pool about knee deep to soak in.  We got to our campsite and just relaxed for the afternoon.  A week ago we were freezing in 10 degrees, and now we’re baking in 98 degrees!  It took us a little while to adjust.  We had enough privacy at camp that Andrew was hanging out playing his guitar in the buff.  Around sunset we drove over to the hot springs for a soak and on the way we saw a coyote crossing in front of us.  We met a couple of nice folks, one guy from Alpine and another couple who were school teachers from Texas, but they have a place in Grand Junction, CO.  They told us about how wonderful the city was.  We may have to take a closer look at Grande Junction, CO.

Later that evening we split our last beer and sat out by the Rio Grande watching a zillion stars.  Smile [:)]

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