There is so much to see in Big Bend National Park, which is why we're still here. Even after being here a week, we still have about 2/3rds of the park to cover in our small RV. Granted, there are a lot of sites we cannot hit in the park because of the RV. Primitive sites for example require walking and tents, so RVs aren't allowed. But that doesn't mean there aren't a ton of other locations in the park to explore.
Like the beauty that is Chisos Mountains.
We almost didn't make it up, as the restrictions for RVs were pretty intense: no trailers and only RVs under 24ft. This is due to the steep grades and sharp turns. Thank goodness Maude has that baby body, which allowed us to venture up.
Chisos is a bit more populated in comparison to Rio Grande. There are a ton of trails high into the mountains, along with hotel lodging, a restaurant, and a gift shop. This is where experienced backpackers and hikers come to get their fix.
Like Emory Peak for example, the highest peak in the park coming in at 7,825ft in elevation. The trail to the peak itself was noted as one of the most strenuous, with moderate rock climbing at the end. Clocking in at 7 hours travel time, and 11 miles roundtrip, we made this our first trail of Chisos.
Why? Because we're crazy. With everyone else wearing packs, and trekking poles, and gallons of water, we went up with a few clementines and granola bars and 2.5 cups of water each. It's not that preparation isn't our forte, but we see these people lugging all this stuff up a mountain, and they really don't use any of it. So why, really?
Let's just say, the climb was indeed strenuous. We ascended another 2000ft, the temperature dropped, and thick rocks littered our path. But as with most things we invest our time and strength into, it was well worth it. Take a look.
The views from the top were absolutely insane. Truth be told, I almost didn't make it up at the very end because I'm a tad afraid of heights. If it weren't for Vanessa's reassurance, or the fact part of the reason we're even on this journey is to step out of our comfort zone and experience life, I might have stayed at the bottom of the cliff.
The next day, our bones were definitely tired, but we wanted to have a meal in the lodge before heading back down the mountain. We were a bit wary of the menu (which online boasted things like country fried steak and cheeseburgers) but were pleased to find quite a few options for vegetarians. We opted for the endless soup and salad and a portobello burger to split. The waiter informed us that they always have at least one vegetarian soup as an option.... Hallelujah. The portobello burger was tasty, albeit nothing really out of the norm, while the French fries though were absolutely amazing. Spiral cut and cooked to perfection. The salad bar was filled with veggies we loved, all fresh and clean. We had the minestrone soup as well, which I probably could've done without.
All in all, the food was fresh for being so high up in the mountains, probably with difficulty in receiving provisions from the outside cities. Yet, it wasn't anything I would really write home about. Which is a funny phrase to use when you're doing exactly that. 🤔
Next time I'll stick with a Big Bend Breweing Company Porter and a basket of fries.
We left Chisos and headed back down to Rio Grande. We needed water in Maude so showering can be a continual thing. Hah. On the way out we caught a beautiful shot of low-lying clouds rolling into the basin.
Tomorrow we're heading back up, taking the trek to attempt the 12-15 mile hike around the South Rim for Vanessa's birthday. 31 never looked so good 🎉🎈.
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