While in San Antonia for Christmas the couple in the RV next to us told us about their adventure in Big Bend National Park. We decided to head that way to celebrate the New Year. Along the way we stopped in Del Rio, Texas and dropped the Kayaks into Lake Amistad just in time for a beautiful sunset.


Headed to the campground in Big Bend; felt a little like being on Mars. There are full RV hookups at the Rio Grande Village RV Campground; aka the store/laundromat parking lot. A good spot if you are looking for a level spot with full services; but not very interesting. We stayed in the Rio Grande Village campground which has no hookups. Read more about dry camping here.

The campground was great! It was very pretty, right on the Rio Grande River and spacious. We saw our first real roadrunner here, they are very fast. We were warned about the Javelina (wild pigs) that will tear into a tent or attack dogs. We snickered as we watched the Javelina knock over coolers and wander through tents. Then one day we left Max out tied up for just a minute while we stepped into the RV. Then we heard a knock on the front of the RV; it was a neighbor warning us that the Javelina were headed right for Max. Jeff ran out to grab Max. We still wonder what he would have done if he found himself between Max and the pigs. :) 

After a short bicycle ride we really got an appreciation for the vast size of the park. So much land and so little civilization; there are a few campgrounds, one lodge in the Chisos mountains, a post office (believe it or not), and a couple of gas stations. The Rio Grande River runs between the park and Mexico. The Mexicans come across the river in boats to get gas each day. The gas is used to run generators for power at a local restaurant. We heard the food was good, but didn't make it to that one. We did go to a great family restaurant in Terlingua; 60 miles from the campground and the nearest ATM.


From low desert to high mountains all in Big Bend. The Chisos Mountain range is completely contained within the park. It is the only mountain range in the United States completely contained within a National Park. Here we are hiking the Lost Mine trail. It was a beautiful day and ended with a fantastic view from the top.


Big Bend is one of the largest and least visited National Parks in the United States. It covers over 800,000 acres and ranges in altitude from 1800 feet to 7800 feet in the Chisos mountains. In a single day you can experience the desert, mountains, river and canyons. We were fortunate to spend several days here and experience all of the above. We traveled from Boquillas Canyon to Santa Elena Canyon where we did some kayaking, tried a little off-roading in the Saturn (bad idea) and hiked in the Chisos mountains.


A view from the Lost Mine trail; unfortunately the picture doesn't do this view any justice.


Headed out of the Chisos Mountains.


We heard about some great kayaking in Santa Elena Canyon and headed out for the day. We thought this was the 'pull-off' where it was noted as the best spot to put in the kayaks. We were somewhat surprised that we were the only ones there, but it was a big park. So we climbed down the side of the cliff, and *attempted* to kayak the Rio Grande. Jeff's version of the story will be that I tried to drown him on this spot, but that's not quite how it went. It turns out there is a pretty hefty current at this part of the river that pretty much pulled the kayaks away from the bank as we tried to get it. Our digital camera fell in the River, but we were able to save it and had no problems afterwards; yay Sony! Jeff got a little wet too. :) After I got stranded on a pile of rocks and Jeff had to rescue me as he paddled against the current we decided that this wasn't very much fun. We took the kayaks out of the river, which wasn't easy, and decided to turn around and head back to the campground. Bummer.


... continued from above. As we went down the road to turn around we found the spot we were looking for. Off in the distance, towards the canyon, you can see a hint of water. There were other kayakers and hikers here so we figured we had found the spot. We carried our kayaks to the water you see in the distance. This was quite a workout after our earlier adventure in the Rio Grande. But it was worth it! We saw some of the most spectacular views as shown below.


Finally heading into the canyon in our kayaks. The canyon walls are over 1500 feet high. It was spectacular and well worth the effort to get here.


While kayaking in Santa Elena Canyon we saw this 'hole' in the canyon wall. We turned the corner and watched in awe as we went past it. Some time later while sitting in the comfort of our living room we would see this exact spot again on a Chili's commercial. I wish I could find a link to the commercial.


The Javelinas roaming the campground. They are pretty well blind and snort as they sniff their way around, through tents and into coolers.

Yellow Growing Check Mark