The road leading to Big Bend gives you a sense of the vastness. It reminded me of Alaska, with a different beautiful vista around every bend.
The similarity ends there. Instead of grizzlies and moose, it was javalinas that ran across the road. By the time I retrieved my camera, you can barely see the back of the last one in the grass.
Entrance to Big Bend
A stop at the Visitor's Center to get maps and info. Later we came back and watched a video.
Our campsites at Rio Grande Village.
The first thing we did after setting up was go take a hike at Boquillas Canyon.
On the way there we stopped at an overlook of Boquillas del Carmen, a Mexican village just across the Rio Grande. There is an official border crossing there, but it is very easy for the Mexicans to cross the river illegally near here too, which they apparently do on a regular basis.
Our first view of the Rio Grande.
Do you see the kayakers in the river? That gave us ideas.
At each overlook there were mini displays of jewelry and crafts for sale by Mexicans. The signs say the money supports their school. There is a jar to put the money.
More crafts and hiking sticks for sale.
This marker describes the mining industry that once existed here with aerial trams across the border.
I noticed horseshoe prints in the dirt.
And a trail leading to Mexico.
More trinkets for sale in the tram car.
But in case you're tempted to buy something, be sure you read and understand this sign.
The trailhead to Boquillas Canyon.
Birdie starts up the trail.
View from the trail.
More stuff for sale by Mexicans.
Looking back at the parking lot.
Our kayakers are coming down the river towards the canyon.
These are ancient grinding holes used by natives to grind corn.
Where the river enters the canyon.
Another form of recreation that's possible here. But this caballero happens to have crossed the river from Mexico.
He's a singing caballero.
Other beautiful horses graze across the river.
The mouth of the canyon. The kayakers got out here and carried their inflatable kayaks over the trail to the parking lot.
Do you see the canoe on the Mexican side of the river?
Rocks for sale. Don't be caught leaving the National Park with any rocks.
Winds create sand dunes up the canyon walls.
I followed the trail along the river as far as it went into the canyon.
Birds nest in crevasses on the canyon walls.
Of course when you hike with Birdie, you are also birding.
Here are a few we saw on this hike: A raptor, possibly a harrier.
A house finch.
A Say's Phoebe
And two ravens.
In the evening we took what I call the sunset trail that leads from the campground. It starts out crossing these boardwalks. We heard birds, but not much to see.
Except these white-winged doves that came here to roost.
Birdie starts up the hill.
Late afternoon sun
Boquillas del Carmen
Climbing to the top.
Looking toward the Chisos Mountains in the distance, the campground below.
The Chisos Mountains
Sunset casting a red glow on the mountains in Mexico.
Coming back down across the boardwalk, sunset reflected in the water...
And back in the campground we heard an owl....maybe an elf owl, says Birdie.
And that was the end of the first day.