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Old 10 Sep 15, 08:45 PM  
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CrispyA
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Howdy Texas! Day 7 Big Bend National Park

The National Parks are one of the reasons that we love to visit the US and Big Bend NP was one of the reasons for choosing Texas. It's pretty far from the main cities but we knew we wanted to go there and today was the day.

We said "Goodbye" to the Stone Village Tourist Camp after a lovely stay and headed first to Alpine for breakfast. Paul had found a place called "Alicia's" for burritos and the satnav didn't let us down this time!

We had a lovely server, huge breakfast burritos and great coffee. Toilets were spotless also. A really good start to a long day.

Two thumbs up for Alicia's



After breakfast, we drove on towards the park, fascinated by the birds of prey above us and the plentiful road runners, which were seriously cute as they ran off into the mesquite! Didn't manage to hear if they were saying "Meep Meep" though . . .

We stopped at Terlingua for an iced coffee - partly as it was a ghost town and partly because the iced coffee was recommended. Neither disappointed.

Then we were on into the park. The first stop was the Ranger Station at Panther junction for maps etc. We had a chat to the Ranger about some of the hikes we were thinking of and she was really helpful. She advised us to do the Rio Grande and desert walks at the start or end of the day as the heat is brutal and there is no shade. We did want to go into the Chisos Mountains and the Ranger told us that the mountains would be quite a bit cooler so we could tackle them this afternoon.

Armed with maps and refilled water bottles, we headed off and were soon at the parking place for the Lost Mine Trail. It was a hard walk, very hot and with a significant amount of climbing but we pretty much had the trail to ourselves and the most amazing views of the Chisos Mountains.



Getting to the top felt great!





The walk was totally worth the effort and it made a nice change for a National Park to be so quiet - August isn't the peak visiting time as it is so hot. And it didn't take as long as we thought it might - 2 hrs 15 as opposed to the 3 hrs in the guide. Guess we walk fast!

After a few minutes savouring the relief of taking off our trainers and letting our feet breathe in sandals, we went to Chisos Mountain Lodge where we were staying. We had booked this before the flights as National Park accommodation can be so hard to find and had treated ourselves to one of the Roosevelt cottages which had 3 double beds. The kids were thrilled and wondered if a bit of wine had been consumed when we booked it . . .

Although we don't usually go for fancy accommodation, it was lovely to have the extra space that the cottages have, and the porch was a nice addition. The location for the whole complex is great but the cottages are a little further away from the main hub and very peaceful, with trailheads metres from the door.



After chilling out for a while and enjoying our porch (and inspecting my many mozzie bites - boo!) we went to the Lodge for dinner. There is only once place to eat here but considering you have no other choice, the food was pretty reasonable and very nice. The restaurant has windows all around and you get fantastic mountain views all around you. We also tried some of the local beer - very nice!

As it got towards sunset, we went back to the cottage to watch the sun go down through the Window - a rock formation that frames it beautifully. You can walk to a vantage point from the Lodge but back at the cottages you get the same view but without the other people!

The light was stunning at this time of day and we got some great views of scenery around us.

Casa Grande





Chisos Mountain Lodge



Sunset through the Window



Once the sun had set, we sat on the porch (coated in bug spray) and had a beer and just enjoyed the peace. A little fox came to visit and sat watching us for a while before wandering off - it was such a lovely moment.

It was a completely clear night and the stars were something else. The skies in Texas really are bigger than anywhere else and with the complete lack of light pollution in Big Bend, the skies were amazing. We could see the milky way amongst the stars and spent some time just staring up at the sky, trying not to trip over!

We were pretty shattered when we got to bed but it had been a great day and we were loving Big Bend.

Edited at 03:20 PM.
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Old 10 Sep 15, 09:31 PM  
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Melbatb
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Some stunning photos! Sounds like my kind of day!
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Old 10 Sep 15, 10:31 PM  
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katiebaz
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I really want to visit big bend and sounds a fabulous day
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Old 12 Sep 15, 05:47 PM  
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Jesslydevie1
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Some amazing pictures , but I like you would have been eaten alive !
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Old 13 Sep 15, 05:43 PM  
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orlandosgr8
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What stunning scenery and the outside of your cottage looks lovely, what a wonderful place to stay
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Old 17 Sep 15, 09:08 PM  
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CrispyA
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Originally Posted by Jesslydevie1 View Post
Some amazing pictures , but I like you would have been eaten alive !
Apparently it's all to do with blood type. Wish mine wasn't so tasty.
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Old 17 Sep 15, 09:09 PM  
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CrispyA
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Originally Posted by orlandosgr8 View Post
What stunning scenery and the outside of your cottage looks lovely, what a wonderful place to stay
It was really lovely - best location I think.
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Old 1 May 17, 08:21 AM  
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WileyCoyote
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Oh that's simply stunning and sounds wonderful. How lovely the accommodation was so good and such fab views.
Poor you on the bites, they itch like a devil.
What a great day.
And I love that Alicia's was so good, so great to find these unique little places.
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