On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
We left Florida westbound along I-10 with overnights along the way. We made two longer stops for a day trip to New Orleans and to see Austin and the Texas Hill Country.
We spent four days in Big Bend. A friend described it as “the least visited and most revisited National Park.” I’ve always contended you can’t get there until you’re retired because it’s at least a day’s drive away from any other route you’d be taking on a family cross-country vacation, and who’s got the time to spare? The eight pictures that follow are from all four days, from among the 266(!) I took.
This is the Park entrance road, with Chisos Mountains in the background.
On our second day, we drove into the mountains to the Chisos Basin, the heart of the park. Once there, we took a short walk on the Window View trail where there was a great view of the desert through a V-shaped gap in the rocks. This is one of the best places in the park to see a sunset.
The third day was an excursion on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive through the park to the Rio Grande on the west side. There were a number of turnoffs, vistas, and short trails. The Burro Mesa Pouroff was a bit unusual, at least to me. Pouroffs are seasonal waterfalls that flow during flash floods, carving the rock behind them. It’s not often you can stand at the bottom of a waterfall and not get wet!
The drive ended at Santa Elena Canyon. This was the most stunning sight in the park. The canyon is a slot through this wall of limestone, rising 1,500 feet above the water. As the rest of the surface eroded, the harder limestone wall remained and the river cut through it.
The notch in the wall is the canyon.
A short (3/4 mile), steep trail led to the edge of the river inside the canyon. The guidebook said “be prepared for mud”. At least I didn’t lose my shoes when I lost my balance! This is the trailhead.
A view of the canyon from the trail. The border starts at the far shore of the river – the wall is in Mexico.
Our last day in the park was an exploration of the east side. We drove to Rio Grande Village (campground, visitor center, and store, basically) and checked out the turnouts, side roads, and a couple of short hikes. They included this river overlook from the Boquillas Canyon Trail.