Wide Open Spaces.

Hello hello hellooooooo!

I know it has been a while since I’ve posted, I’ve been soaking up every second of my break. This teacher lady is sewing some wild oats! Just like I should be! This past weekend I took a trip to Big Bend National Park with my best friend. We climbed on lots of rocks and sang “Wide Open Spaces” by The Dixie Chicks. It was an amazing, head-clearing four days. There is something about being out in nature that always puts things in perspective for me and helps me become stronger.

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I’ve been wanting to travel to Big Bend for a while now. It is one of the only national parks in Texas and it is beautiful. I live in Houston, which is mostly city scape, so getting out of the hustle and bustle of a big city always feels nice. Big Bend National Park is out in West Texas, near where Texas borders Mexico. The Rio Grande River runs right along the border and cuts through part of the National Park. It was about an 8.5 hour drive, which made for a few long days going and coming back, but it was worth it.

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I love road trips and I’ve made quite a few long ones in the past few years (I did a 14 hour drive this past summer….I know I’m crazy). It definitely helps to have some good tunes and good company. The park is mostly desert (think cacti and dryness), but it has some pretty impressive mountains as well. The tallest peak is 7,832 feet, which is pretty tall for Texas. Although it is December, the weather was relatively pleasant. We only had one day that was extremely cold, the others were warm (60s-70s).

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Since we didn’t know what to expect weather wise, we didn’t know if camping in the park would be the best idea, so we decided to book an Airbnb. There are very few hotels (and most are crazy expensive) in the surrounding area (Terlingua), so Airbnb was the next best option. We settled on an adorable airstream trailer called Pancho Villa just 30 miles north of the park. Tin Valley Retro Rentals rents out old airstream trailers, old renovated school buses, and campsites on Airbnb for Big Bend hikers. The hosts, Ronda and Larry, were fantastic and welcomed us with open arms. Their land is definitely off the grid, but having a warm place to come home to after a day of hiking was so nice.

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Ronda and Larry own a bunch of land with their rentals on them and they have bath houses scattered throughout the property for use. They own two mountains (how freakin cool is that!) and they have lots of animals on their property. We enjoyed the 11 desert kitties that call their land home and their burro Sampson!

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We hiked a trail called “The Window” the first day and we ended up getting up to the actual “window” (a window like opening through the rocks that overlooks a portion of the park) right around sunset. The golden hour is truly magnificent. It was amazing to see the miles of mountains awash in the golden glow of the sunset. The hike itself was fairly easy on the way there (mostly downhill), but the way back was mostly uphill (rough lol).

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The second day we were there we went to the Boquillas Hot Springs. You drive out to the hot springs and hike a short distance (less than .5 miles) and you’re free to soak in the spring as long as you like. There is a man made pool for the hot spring itself, and the Rio Grande River rushes by on the other side of it. You can sit on the edge of the hot spring pool and put your feet in the Rio Grande (I highly recommend doing that). The coolest part is that Mexico is right across the river! You can see Mexico feet away from you when you are in the hot spring. It was super relaxing after hiking the day before. There are also lots of ruins and things to look at near the hot spring.

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That night we went to the illustrious Starlight Theatre for dinner. Everyone kept telling us we had to go to it, so we finally did. We tried to go the night before around 7 pm, but there was a 2 hour wait. Terlingua is a tiny town and there are only a handful of restaurants, so they get booked up quickly. The Starlight Theatre is in the Terlingua Ghost Town (a bunch of old wild wild west type ruins) and it is attached to a hotel/gift shop. There is live music and when we were there an art show going on in the restaurant. It was a neat little place and the food was pretty good (even though it was pricey). If you go, you have to go over near the stage and see the stuffed goat chugging a beer!

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All in all, the trip was pretty amazing. It was a great way to round out my trips with friends for the year. I’ve been to quite a few cool places this year, but Big Bend definitely tops the list. I can’t wait to go back! If you live in Texas or around it, check out Big Bend National Park! It won’t disappoint!

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