Big Bend is Remote

 

Who knew Texas had so much to offer? As a native (east) Texan, I never traveled farther west than Lubbock and farther south than Padre Island. I'm not sure why, perhaps I just didn't know anyone who lived in far west Texas. But when my wife and I planned our move (and my return) to Texas, one of the things that excited us the most was our (relatively) close proximity to Big Bend National Park. Our trip took us first to San Antonio where we biked to all of the historic Spanish Missions. Side note, if you care about your body I recommend you avoid the city bikes for such a long ride. On a hot day, they will make a 20 mile bike ride feel like 200! After a couple of days we headed west on HW90 toward the desert.

One thing you need to understand about Big Bend and the surrounding area is that it is remote. Big Bend, Marfa, Marathon, and Alpine are all smack in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert. All of the plants and animals are perfectly adapted to the harsh environment, but you are not. The better you prepare the happier you will be when you get there. Sun protection and plenty of water should be close-by at all times or else the park can be deadly. Wildlife is everywhere in the park and most are skittish but its best to be aware and never approach wild animals. A long lens is key here, you do not want to be the person walking up to a black bear to get a selfie, it won't end well, pack a telephoto lens and keep your distance. All that being said, prepare to see natural beauty on an unimaginable scale.

 

 On the southern end of the park facing the Santa Elena mountains of Mexico. Mamiya RZ67, Kodak Ektar 100 film.

On the southern end of the park facing the Santa Elena mountains of Mexico. Mamiya RZ67, Kodak Ektar 100 film.

 The Chisos Basin en-route to the Window. Mamiya RZ67, Kodak Tri-x film.

The Chisos Basin en-route to the Window. Mamiya RZ67, Kodak Tri-x film.

 The view though the window. A shortish hike from the Chisos Basin visitor's center. Mamiya RZ67, Kodak Tri-x film.

The view though the window. A shortish hike from the Chisos Basin visitor's center. Mamiya RZ67, Kodak Tri-x film.

 Rangers are a big part of what makes the National Parks great. Ranger Brian took us on an unforgettable sunrise hike to Balanced Rock. Mamiya RZ67, Kodak Tri-x film.

Rangers are a big part of what makes the National Parks great. Ranger Brian took us on an unforgettable sunrise hike to Balanced Rock. Mamiya RZ67, Kodak Tri-x film.

 Clouds Passing over the Chisos Mountains Mamiya RZ67. Kodak Tri-x film.

Clouds Passing over the Chisos Mountains Mamiya RZ67. Kodak Tri-x film.

 Dark skies over Big Bend, in the absence of light pollution exposures like this one are a cinch. Nikon digital.

Dark skies over Big Bend, in the absence of light pollution exposures like this one are a cinch. Nikon digital.