This trip started with the usual discussions and concerns: too far, hot, dangerous, not physically fit, can’t get away, etc…. After a few cold beverages, the mood quickly changed and somehow everyone felt younger and the date was set.
I will not bore you with the details but will present the general picture. Four good friends loaded up on Thursday and drove west from Victoria. The drive was easy and uneventful. We arrived in Marathon, Texas around 1900 (approximately 7 hours post departure). We opted to stay at the Gage Hotel for one last night of normalcy (somewhat).
Friday morning we entered the park on the Persimmon Gap side. We immediately drove to the park headquarters and present our itinerary. Our requested primitive camping sites were all available (likely due to the cool 100+ temperature).
The first camping spot was called Rattlesnake Mountain.
The second camping spot was called twisted shoe.
The third camping spot was called Glenn Spring 2.
This was a rookie trip for everyone in our party. We managed to see a large portion of the south side of the park by mostly driving. Every single place is truly beautiful but unforgiving. The temperatures were extreme. Every day was above 100 degrees and one night the thermometer was read at 65. It rain every afternoon around 1700. The temperature would easily drop 20 degrees during the showers.
The nights were just spectacular. The Milky Way can be seen arched from horizon to horizon. Several distant thunderstorms provided spectacular light shows during the first two evenings.
A number of the places we visited included: Terlingua Abajo, Luna’s Jacal, Santa Elena Canyon (hike), Mule ears, Cat Tails Falls (hike), Juniper Canyon, Chisos Mountain Lodge, Mariscal Mine and Black Gap Road.
We did off course spend one day (Saturday) floating the Rio Grande through some magnificent canyons just west of Lajitas. Our trip was an all day event which covered approximately 14 miles of river and included a nice lunch. The outing was booked with Far Flung outfitters from Terlingua.
Our departure on Monday morning was bitter-sweet. Everyone was ready for creature comforts but Big Bend had infiltrated our systems. There was silence as we passed the Persimmon Gap entrance. I cannot speak for everyone else but I can only surmise everyone felt the same.
I will end by saying this was a great trip for all. The park, experience, and friendship were beyond verbal or written expressions.