Day four, Sunday, August 30, 2015:
We left Fort Davis and headed for the Maverick Ranch RV Park in Lajitas, TX. Our route eventually took us along the Rio Grande river. It never ceases to amaze me how you can travel hundreds of miles through one state and see such diverse landscape.
We arrived at the Maverick Ranch RV Park at Lajitas Golf Resort early in the afternoon. Walt and I went and played golf at Black Jack Crossing while Nana, Pepaw and Lucas explored all that the RV park had to offer.
The Black Jack Crossing golf course “combines the historical features of the land with the stunning setting of Big Bend National Park. Several breathtaking mountain holes set against spectacular mountain vistas make this course a true work of art” and a challenging one.
I have to give props to Walt as he actually made it to the fairway after teeing off from 649 yards, way, way, way above the fairway. There must have been a gale force wind behind him.
Can you believe how GREEN it is in the middle of the desert?!
Day five, Monday, August 31, 2015:
We started our adventure in Big Bend National Park. Big Bend “is a place in Far West Texas where night skies are dark as coal and rivers carve temple-like canyons in ancient limestone. Here, at the end of the road, hundreds of bird species take refuge in a solitary mountain range surrounded by weather-beaten desert. Tenacious cactus bloom in sublime southwestern sun, and diversity of species is the best in the country. This magical place is Big Bend.”
Once in the park, we took the Ross Maxwell scenic drive, which is a “thirty-mile drive that leads to the Castolon Historic District and Santa Elena Canyon. Along the way, the road showcases some of the historic and geologic features this region is famous for.”
Along the way, we picked various places to get out, take photos and allow Lucas to water as MANY bushes as possible. Hey it was August and H-O-T hot! The kid drank a gallon of water every minute! When you gotta go… you gotta go!
We also stopped at Tuff Canyon (photos above) which was carved out of soft volcanic tuff.
We made a pit stop at the Castolon Store and Visitor Center so we could all water the bushes! The Castolon Historic District was “established as a cavalry camp in the early Twentieth Century, Castolon later served as the headquarters of the La Harmonia Company.” There is also a visitor center and store to grab beverages, snacks and souvenirs.
We finally made it to Santa Elena Canyon where the “Rio Grande has sliced a 1,500-foot vertical chasm out of pure limestone to form one of the most magnificent canyons in the park. As you look down Santa Elena Canyon, the left wall of the canyon is in Mexico, while the right wall is in Texas. A fabulous trail follows the river upstream then drops down to the canyon floor.”
We found a nice little picnic area for lunch and for Lucas to throw as many rocks in the Rio Grande river as humanly possible.
We departed Santa Elena and headed towards the Chisos Basin. Along the way we stopped at a few more photo spots – Mule Ears viewpoint and a few others I can’t remember the name of.
Unfortunately the day was a bit hazy so we did not get the full effect of being able to see the changing landscape within the park.
Definitely the highlight of the day’s drive was entering into the Chisos Basin. The “Chisos Basin Campground, perched high in the rugged Chisos Mountains, is one of the most sought-after campgrounds in Big Bend National Park. At an altitude of 5,400 ft., it is surrounded on all sides by tall, rocky cliffs and conveniently located near some of the park’s most spectacular and popular trails. Also found in the basin area is the Chisos Basin Visitor Center, a Camp Store and the Chisos Basin Lodge, which offers the only restaurant in Big Bend National Park.”
After spending some time in the visitor center to learn more about the different trails around the basin, we took a short trail that gave us a great overview of the basin itself and the Window.
Tired and hungry we drove to Terlingua, Texas for dinner. Terlingua is famous for the Terlingua Ghost Town, “a real mining town that went bust and the miners walked away, leaving their homes behind.”
We had a great dinner at the Starlight Theatre Restaurant and Saloon and ended our day walking through the ghost town.
The day’s “Trooper Award” goes to Lucas. He spent the entire day getting in and out of the car, watered as many bushes as he could, looked at weird plants, threw rocks, looked at endless mountain ranges, was scared shitless by a Terlingua ghost (AKA a VERY LARGE Bull Mastif dog that greeted guests as they entered the Terlingua Trading Company store – never knew the kid could scream like that) and walked through a ghost town. Why does he get the “Trooper Award” you ask? Because he’s three and he did all of that with a smile on his face and only had one meltdown… after his encounter with the ghost.