(GPS: 29.329608, -103.531318)
Sunday: (02/17) We got up early and showered. Granola for breakfast. We drove out the Old Maverick Road to Santa Elena Canyon Trailhead. We stopped along the way to Explore the Terlingua Abajo mining site ruins, some old rancher home site ruins and a church ruins. We had our ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch beside Terlingua Creek and a nice pond. At Santa Elena Canyon, I hike the trail into the canyon alongside the Rio Grande River. The slot canyon that the river passes through is about 100 feet wide with 1500 foot hight canyon walls on either side. A 20 foot border wall won’t do much good here. We continued on past the Cottonwood Campground. We checked it out and we could fit in there, even if they do limit it to 24 foot campers. There were units our size in there. We stopped at the Castolon Visitor Center and Store and had ice creams. Then on the several more vista points, views, and trailheads before getting home. At home in Study Butte / terlingua, we stopped for dinner ant the Red Chili Restaurant. Pretty good home cooking. We extended our stay for two additional nights here. Tomorrow I’ll head off for a hike.
Monday: (02/18) Granola for breakfast. I was off early to a trailhead at Chisos Basin. Lou and Dawn remained at home. The trailhead was over 30 miles into the Big bend NP. I arrived about 0820 and waited for the Visitor center to open to check with a ranger about the trails. The ranger wasn’t very informative. I had loaded some trail GPS routes last night and chose one the took me for a big loop around the peaks. I hiked up to the pinnacles then out to the South Rim and then back over about 14.1 miles. My usual hiking lunch of tuna salad and crackers for lunch. I hiked up to the crest with a girl named Hunter. She was headed up to Emery Peak. That was a 1.5 mile side trip and involved some scrambling at the top. I didn’t do it, just my loop. Most of that loop I hiked with an older guy like me named Carl from Kansas. He was also a long distance hike and did the PCT in 2015. He also did the Continental Divide Trail so I ask lots of questions about it. I finished the hike about 1636 and got an ice cream and drink before driving home. Lou and Dawn made a pot roast which we had with baked potatoes and asparagus.
I was out as the sun was coming up for my hike.
Tuesday: (02/19) We enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the RV park cafe. Pretty good. Today was another drive day. We headed to the East side of the park to look around the Rio Grande Village. We then started our 53 mile journey on the River Road. It’s a gravel, high clearance, 4x4 road connecting the two sides of the park, much of the time near the river. We tour lots of sites including the old Mariscal mine site. Most of the road was good enough for any vehicle but there were some sections that pushed our limits. Lots of flowers in many places. We managed to goof off enough that we didn’t start the road until 1100. We finished about 1900, finally making it to the paved road with about 30 miles more to get home. Long day. Ham and cheese sandwiches beside the Rio Grande. Lou prepared BBQ ribs with peas and smashed potatoes. Amazing what she pulls out of the freezer for a quick meal.