Big Bend Nat’l Park

I guess I’d better catch up on my journal. It’s been so long since I’ve had a cell signal my writing fell into extinction. This section of the southwest, from the Gila National Forest to White Sands National Park and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, down through Guadeloupe National Park all the way to Big Bend Nat’l Park in Texas never once gave me one bar of  AT&T signal. This is not the section of the USA to have an iPhone. 

The Gila Wilderness is the neatest place on earth. I would love to backpack there someday. It took forever to cross through the mountains but it was worth it. The road is so winding and steep it keeps you to about 20 mph all the way through. Finally, you come down from the mountains and skirt the Missile Range on I15 to White Sands Nat’l Monument. 

I took a nature trail through the sand dunes and drove the 8 mi loop around the park. There’s not much to see there except pure white sand. Most of the visitors were sledding down the dunes with there kids like they were on a hill of snow. 

Carlsbad Caverns Nat’l Park is worth the trip all by itself. I never remembered it being so hugh when I was there before. It took me two days to tour only about half what is open to visitors, and then I wanted to do them all over again. Two of the largest and longest cave trails are now self-guided:  the Natural Opening that spirals down a trail for over a mile to a depth 800 ft below ground, and the Big Room, another trail over a mile in length were free with my Golden Pass. I liked them so much that i came back the next day and did them again. I also joined two guided tours, a lantern walk and the Kings Palace. It is just such a place of alien beauty I may stop and do It again on my way back, if it is not too far out of the way. 

Guadeloupe NP was a good place to spend the night while I toured Carlsbad Caverns. I left there with a full tank of gas for what I knew would be a long lonely stretch of barren highway through southern Texas. Texas likes to put up a lot of Historic Markers along it’s highways, and for awhile I stopped at each one to marvel at some fact, but soon I tired of stopping from 70 mph every few miles to read about some cattleman killed by Indians, or where a railroad went through, and passed a few by. 

I’m now spending three days- or maybe more- at Big Bend NP. I’ll have to see how many Mexicans I can get in the back of my van to bring to Phoenix.  Donna says they need a lot more illegals there  That’s the only scary thing about being here, this park is pretty active with smugglers. Most of my hiking has been in the Chisos Mountains though, and the heavy traffic goes through the Rio Grand area twenty miles from here. 

Today I climbed Emory Peak, the highest point in the Chisos Mountains at 7825 ft. My legs are a little tired but otherwise I feel good. I’m not sure what I will do tomorrow

5 Responses to “Big Bend Nat’l Park”

  1. Dick says:

    Sounds like you are having fun. Now you know why we like our satellite internet when traveling to out of the way places. We had a great time exploring Big Bend last year. If you haven’t already done so, check out our blog starting about Nov 2 of last year. There are some great hikes there. I hope you get to see Santa Elena Canyon. Neat place.

  2. Dale says:

    Dick, I will explore the Santa Elena Canyon and Castolon area today. The reason I briefly told about Big Bend was because you described it in such detail in your blog that I didn’t want to repeat a lot of information.

  3. Donna says:

    The Gila wilderness sounds fascinating. It is an wooded forest, or more of a bush area?

    It’s been so long since I’ve been to Carlsbad Caverns I can hardly remember it. But I know it was with Brian and Robin because we have pictures of them in one of the cave entrances.

  4. Mom says:

    Thanks for blogging about places that we zipped through, or ignored altogether in our many years in this area. There is so much beauty and so many unusual places near here that we took too much for granted.

  5. Daryl says:

    I think Carlsbad Caverns is the only place you described that I have spent any time at, and I didn’t see as much of that as you did.

    I’ll have to get over that way again some day.

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