Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Big Bend National Park, a trip to Texas - February 2014 (Part one)

Texas here we come...

We have had quite the winter here in Grand Haven Michigan, very cold and tons of snow.  I like the snow but it can warm up now, it is the end of February. 

Mike and I took a break from winter and visited our oldest son, Andy, (and family) in Midland, Texas.  Andy planned a fun trip for us while we visited, this time we went to Big Bend National Park.  This was our second trip to Big Bend, we went there in 2011.

Our first day in Midland, Mike and Andy took the dirt bikes for a ride at an adventure park. They rode around for a couple hours while I stayed with the truck and sought out bugs and plants.  I found a few bugs not many plants, and it was warm.

The next day we drove to Terlingua, Texas where we rented an Airstream motor home from Retro Rents.

The Retro Rents Airstream was fine for a home base, except for the fact that the water supply was not secure and twice flooded the back half of the unit. 

Andy has some property nearby which we visited (mostly when it was dark).  Here are a couple views from the high point of the property looking at the moon rising.

We hiked the next day to Cattail Falls, oh cattails that reminds me of marshy Michigan...

 Along the trail to Cattail Falls...

It was very warm and I think it was at this point my cold Michigan bones thawed, it felt good.

 Cattail Falls had some water trickling down, and there were cattails and a pond.
Rock reflecting in the pond.

I saw several butterflies, and some sort of red trumpet type flower, maybe Scarlet Sage.

    Back to the truck and air-conditioning. 
Just driving along there are mountains, beautiful mountains.  Texas also has a huge sky and it seems to be mostly blue.  Since Andy is a PhD geologist, and is familiar with Big Bend, he tells us interesting information, as we ride along, about the mountains and rocks.  Unfortunately, I remember very little of what he says, but I thoroughly enjoy listening.

We started seeing these flowers alongside the road, Andy pulled over so I could get out and photograph these beautiful wildflowers, Texas Bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis).  Wildflowers!

Next on to Santa Elena Canyon, we did a quick walk here, it was getting dark.  The water level was high in the Rio Grande River.  The rock on the left side of this photo is Mexico.

A pretty mountain in Big Bend National Park, Texas
A nice home in Grand Haven, Michigan. 

In case you are not familiar with the location of Big Bend National Park, I circled the approximate area in red on the map below. The park is huge with ~ 801,163 acres!  In the next post, the second half of the trip, including a river rafting trip on the Rio Grande River.