We made it to Big Bend National Park and boy,was it a trek. Just getting into the park was about 2 hours from the nearest town of Fort Stanton (which was unusually awkward yet intriguing as small dilapidated towns go).
We've been here for about 3 days now, and have already explored many miles of hiking and tons of breathtaking views. When we entered the park, we were greeted by a female park ranger who was extremely helpful and provided us with a variety of maps and information. The fee was $25, which we weren't expecting, however, when you're able to stay in over 800,000 acres of preserved land for one full week, $25 doesn't seem to shabby. So, we ventured into Rio Grande Village first....
Granted, there are other fees that you could incur if you so choose. For example, the free camping is $14 a night, and you do not get any hookups. It's basically a plot of land, a picnic table and a grill. That's it.
There is a place for RVs in Rio Grande that offer full hook-ups, but they have been known to be full, often, and also clock in at around $33 a night. We didn't want to be spending money unnecessarily, and since we boondock as much as we can, there is no reason for a hook-up. The weather is gorgeous and AC isn't needed.
There are two options when you enter the park if you don't want to hook-up -- camping at the sites as we mentioned above, OR buying a backcountry camping pass for $12 a week. This pass allows you to camp at any of the park's primitive sites at your own leisure. We opted for this not only because it was the least expensive, but also because we want to be travelling around the park as much as possible and exploring new things whenever we can. It should be noted, however, that the park does offer free water and dump stations, so this is a HUGE help when boondocking your RV.
I don't think we can even begin to describe the views and scenery here at Big Bend. It truly is miraculous to wake up every morning with the Sierra Del Carmen mountains in your backyard. We've hiked mile after mile, as the trails seem endless. Yesterday, we did a 3-mile canyon run and ended up at the Big Bend Hot Springs for a dip in 105 degree water. There's nothing like exhausting your body all day outdoors, then sitting in a natural hot springs to rejuvenate your bones.
So, since I can't describe verbally what we're doing and seeing, I think it's best just to show you. There were some gloomy days, and some beautiful ones so far. We also did mud masks from the Rio Grande:
We will most likely stay in Big Bend for the next week or so. Rio Grande is just a tiny fragment of the park, so we'll probably head to Chisos Mountains soon, which we've heard boast some of the best views in the park.
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