FINALLY!!!!! It pays to persevere. The stars were in alignment and I finally got to go! I rented a jeep and took off for the 9 hour drive to Big Bend National park. The alone time was very enjoyable and then turned a little scary as I went through the town of Marathon. From Marathon it was 90 miles until the park and there is absolutely nothing around and no cell service. No gas stations, hardly any cars, just vast open spaces. Desert with mountains. The desert has it’s own beauty. There is alone and then there is really being alone. I haven’t quite felt the sense of that until that particular stretch of drive. It reminded me of how much we really need each other to survive.
I made it to the park and paid my $25 entry fee at the Panther crossing stop in the park. I got my map and headed to the group campsite. The group is Hill Country Outdoors and most people were arriving around the same time to setup camp. I’m sure everyone had in mind to get their tents setup before dark. I met up with some ladies who wanted to check out the lodge where there is a store and wifi. It’s a .6 mile hike, you can drive, but who wants to use any more gas! Our campsite had a fantastic view of “the Window” which is amazing at sunset and behind my tent was “Casa Grande”.
We had bathrooms with flushable toilets and actually there was an electric outlet in the restroom. They even had a spigot for water at the campsite, even though I brought my own water. There were no showers but we had rented two rooms at the lodge for showers during our stay. It didn’t get too cold either. It was in the 50s at the lowest. Dinner was at 6PM, frito pie. The moon was full, so the dark skies were well lit and hid the many stars that you would normally see.
On day one the plan was to hike the Lost Mine trail. We carpooled to the trail head and began our 5 mile hike. We were given lunches to bring which consisted of protein bars, trail mix, crackers and fruit. Hiking up the trail we were able to meet and find out more about the people in the group which was really enjoyable to find out a little bit about everyone. I was so happy to find there are people around my age that enjoy this kind of adventure. Once we climbed for a ways we had an amazing view of the valley.
and then we lunched at the top. Joe had binoculars and shared them so we could try and spot bears, but we didn’t see any. It was fun looking.
After heading back to the campsite we decided to rest then hike to the edge of the window to see the sunset. It is a 2 mile hike. A small group of us went and it was not a disappointment. On the hike we saw deer and traversed the pretty trail. At the end it was challenging to navigate the rocks and the water, lots of climbing. And then the reward! There is a pool of water that is low right now and falls off the edge I’m guessing into the abyss because you can’t see where it goes.
The hike back in the dark was fun. We got lost and we spotted eyes…everyone believes it was a fox, we made it!