As far back as I can remember, I loved being in the great outdoors! As a young kid, after dinner, I would often grab a pillow and a few matches and walk into one of our pastures or to a nearby tank. I’d gather some wood, start a fire and lay down the spend the night. The outdoors was a peaceful place to me. It comforted me. As an adult, the love of the outdoors has stayed with me. I’m glad.
As a native Texan, Big Bend National Park has been on my bucket list for years. I have no idea why I’ve waited so long to head west to see this spectacular creation. I scheduled an impromptu trip and left for the park this past Christmas day. I stayed until the morning of New Year’s Eve to make it back in time for my father’s annual teepee party. This was an epic trip for me. I had a solid five days to explore the desert, canyons and hidden oases.
The best surprise of all is that is snowed on the first morning I woke up there. I never checked the weather report to see how much, but by my best guess, it was at least four or five inches in places. It was beautiful seeing the mountain tops capped in white.
In all, I hiked about 15 miles worth of day hikes. I stood in my first slot canyon. For three days, I ate lunches nestled in some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. I met an incredibly neat, retired couple from Kentucky who was taking a three- or four-month trip across the U. S.
I stood beside the Rio Bravo or Rio Grande, as we call it here. I soaked in a hot springs—also a first for me. I took an accidental 3½-hour, 30-mile, 4×4, off-road trip in the dark. I survived.
I visited the historical town of Terlingua, and I witnessed a spectacular sunset, night after night. I was able to also visit the Big Bend Ranch State Park. (Note: It’s also on my bucket list to visit every state park in Texas.) I hiked a 6-mile out-and-back to a saddle high above the desert floor, to Lost Canyon, to Saint Elena Canyon, to Cattails Falls and a short hike to The Window View.
Regrets? Not staying longer, not seeing a bear (from afar, of course), toting my bicycle on a nearly 1,000-mile-round-trip and not riding it once, and finally, not making sure I had enough time to hike to The Window—the real hike to the edge of the window. This trip ended my 2015 very nicely! I’ll be back, Big Bend, I’ll be back.
Big Bend Bucket List
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When I’m not photographing a wedding, I love to spend my spare time hiking, camping, cycling, reading, listening to Elvis and Prince. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents and grandson would be proud of!
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