Written by Shirley T
Tuesday, 01 December 2009 14:22
Nature is a Great Gift from God ~ Shirley T
Hi! I am back after being silence for the last 5 days. It was Thanksgiving weekend and we happened to have a longer break. Therefore, my Significant Other (SO) and I escaped for a nature retreat at Big Bend National Park which is located more than 500 miles away from our home in Austin. Geographically located of west Texas, Big Bend National Park is in the Big Bend Country north of Mexico which is bordered by a beautiful and long Rio Grande River that flows to Gulf of Mexico. In short, it was a trip to the wild wild west!
A - Austin
B - Balmorhea
C - Fort Davis
D - Rio Grande Village (Big Bend National Park)
E - Chisos Basin (Big Bend National Park)
F - Santa Elena Canyon (Big Bend National Park)
G - Lajitas
H - Presidio
I - Marfa
J - Alpine
K - Interstate Highway (IH-10 East) to Fort Stockton
Our route (blue line on above Google Map): From A > B > C > J > D > E > F > G > H > I > J > K > A
Our journey began at our Austin home on 26 Nov 2009 7:15am (Day 1) via U.S. Route 290 passing by Dripping Springs, Johnson City, Fredericksburg and Harper before joining IH-10 and continue to Junction, Sonora, Ozona, Fort Stockton and we exited at Balmorhea. Despite there is shorter road to Big Bend National Park exiting IH-10 at Fort Stockton via Marathon, we opted for an extended journey on the road to witness the scenic vista and made a detour to Fort Davis along State Highway 17. At Fort Davis, we went to Mt Davis National Park/Indian Lodge and spent the sunset moments at McDonald Observatory. After sun down, we crossed the winding mountain-desert land via State Highway 118 heading south and spent a night in Alpine.
The light of the following sunrise (Day 2) guided our ride on Texas Mountain Trail (State Highway 118) passing through Chihuahuan Desert grassland heading to Study Butte/Terlingua - the gateway to Big Bend National Park.
With only two full days at Big Bend National Park, we did not miss the highlights which includes Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive (Day 3) that leads to the Castolon Historic District (Day 3) and Santa Elena Canyon (Day 3), Chisos Basin (Day 2) and The Window Trail (Day 2), Rio Grande Village (Day 2) and Bosquillas Canyon (Day 2).
Obviously the above were not all about it. On our return journey to Austin (Day 4), we drove to Lajitas and traveled next to Big Bend Ranch State Park along Ranch Road 170 heading to Presidio - a United States border town where we could enter into Mexico via Ojinaga. Part of the twists and turns steep road is cutting across mountains and some stretch is hugging the cliff. The route runs almost parallel to Rio Grande River and it is one of the prettiest roads we had traveled in Texas!
Even though the weather was forecasted to be 60% rain on Day 4, we gambled our fate and God has been very kind to us. Without a single rain drop and a bonus of beautiful sunny sky right at the moment we needed it most to
capture the scenic vista of nature at the spot a few miles passed Tee Pee Picnic Area.
Right before Presidio, we stumbled upon Fort Leaton State Historic Site and we jumped out for a brief tour. We left Presidio Porters Thriftway Store (where we had our quick lunch) at 12:11pm on 29 Nov 2009.
In total for this trip, we had traveled 1394.3 miles (2243.9 km) on the road but we were not exhausted. In fact, we were recharged. It was as if we had just walked into thousands of picturesque painting!
Stay tuned as I will be sharing more stories and photographs at each stop we made along this fantastic journey!
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