With both visitation and pride in the national parks up this year thanks to the National Park Service’s centennial, how the incoming Trump administration will view the parks and other federal lands is drawing attention, and some concern, from onlookers in the parks community.
When Dan and I started planning our trip to Big Bend National Park, we began asking everyone we came in contact with, “Have you been to Big Bend?”. We were surprised at the number of Texans who had not visited the park but…hey…neither had we! On the other hand, when we asked someone who had been to the park, most could barely contain their excitement and began telling us everything we needed to see while we were there. We learned that hiking the many trails was the best way to see the park so we ordered the book “Hiking Big Bend National Park” from Amazon. This is an excellent guide to the many trails, their level of difficulty, distance, etc. This book, along with all the maps and information they gave us when we entered the park, enabled us to plan our days activities the most efficiently. You should plan on doing a lot of driving when you visit the park. It’s big. Really BIG. TEXAS BIG! It covers 801,163 acres and is the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States. I have heard people complain about this but, we enjoyed every minute of every drive. The landscape looked different in every light and from every angle. With a park speed limit of 45 MPH, we found this to be the most relaxing part of our trip. It was wonderful to just slow down and do some rubber neckin’!
We dry camped at Rio Grande Village Campground for 4 nights and 5 days. We were in the generator area and plugged in once to charge the camera batteries and once to turn on the A/C for a quick cool down. Other than that, our solar panels kept our batteries charged just fine and we still had room in our wast tanks and 12% of fresh water remaining when we pulled out! Our little Safari was very comfortable and did great on her first trip to a National Park!
I can’t tell you how beautiful Big Bend is….you have to see it for yourself. It’s vast, remote, rugged and one of the most peaceful places I have ever been. We Texans, should be very proud to have Big Bend National Park as part of our incredible state. If you haven’t been….GO!
It was a blockbuster the first time it aired, and if you didn’t see it then, tune in to your local PBS television station next week to catch a repeat showing of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan.