Thursday, October 31, 2013

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park is a world of its own.  It's in southern Texas on the border of Mexico and the closest big town is 130 miles away.  It's wonderful!  We spent a week exploring, hiking, driving Jeep roads, kayaking and taking a trip to Mexico by row boat.

Look closely...Tarantula!
It's mating season so these guys were crossing the road constantly in search of a special find.  

Boquilla Canyon - Rio Grande River

natural hot springs/hot tub right next to the Rio Grande

Santa Elena Canyon

a 5ft. long Western Coachwhip snake - Eewwww!
the guys we paid our $5/each for the boat crossing to Mexico - they are on the Mexico side

Boquillas Crossing - our official boat crossing to Mexico

the official entry point to Mexico on the other side

downtown Boquillas, Mexico - don't ya love it!

Coming back into the park could not be photographed but it was a trip!  It's a building with 2 kiosks that you scan your passport and then pick up the phone and speak with someone in El Paso, TX to verify your information.  What fun!  Nowhere else in the US will you find this...I don't think!
the start of our kayak up Santa Elena Canyon 

Last year we met a cool couple, John and Cathy, in Luckenbach after driving past each other all day on a wildflower drive.  We've kept in touch and were thrilled to meet them for dinner outside San Antonio. Great to see you two!  Thanks again for the great evening, dinner and the awesome bag of Texas goodies! Make sure to come visit us on the east coast next year!
John & Cathy
We are now in Willis, TX which is about 45 miles north of Houston.  We are excited to meet up with the "10-pac" who are arriving later today.  They are RV friends who we met last year out west and have been bumping into along the way.  We'll also have a chance to meet a friend from PA, Phyllis Frey Cheatham, who moved here 6 years ago.  Excited to meet her family and catch up!  We'll be here until 11/12 and then move onto New Orleans for 6 days before heading to Florida for the winter.

Til next time...Happy Trails!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Patience pays off!

We arrived in Whites City, NM (the middle of nowhere!) in the middle of the shutdown.  We decided to stick it out a few days, which turned into a week, in hopes of the government reopening in time for us to visit two National Parks in the area.  I know, it was just one week but it seemed like forever since there really is nothing within one hundred miles of here!  It was actually good for us to relax for a week (even though I was going stir crazy since you know I'm not good at sitting still too long), wash the RVand catch up on things put aside for a while.  
salt flats (filled with water from the heavy rains a month ago) - Guadalupe Peak in the distance

ok - so we did sort of sneak past this little sign and took a hike (twice) inside the park (while it was still closed)

view of our campground from the trail inside the park (see - NOTHING around here)

Guadalupe Peak in the distance

beautiful...but a whole lot of nothing around

Carlsbad Caverns National Park - Although we are not really big cave people (especially Tom!), we truly enjoyed this one as it is absolutely beautiful and enormous!  For a week we looked at the hills behind us and had no idea the size of the caverns that are under those hills.  FINALLY we got to check it out!

Guadalupe Mountains National Park - home of Guadalupe Peak - highest peak in Texas at 8,749ft.
8.5 miles round trip - 2 hours 35 minutes up; 35 minutes on top; 2 hours down - Great hike and our 15th state high point!

Tomorrow we leave for Big Bend National Park in Texas on the border of Mexico.  We will stay there one week before heading further east in Texas.

Til next time...Happy Trails!