Big Bend Trip Report

Posted by Spalding Hurst

February 23, 2010

John Thomas and his brother Jay Thomas have this trip report to share from the recent hike in Texas.
Sorry I’m a bit tardy at getting this trip report to Big Bend National Park.
Getting to the park brother John and I flew into San Antonio Jan 15, rented a Chevy HRS, and drove I-10 West to Ft. Stockton and HWY 385 south through the pitch black desert to the park. We set up camp in the back of the HRS and with the new moon we had no clue what scenery we’d be waking up to.
In the morning we had to break ice to get the car door open and climbed out to watch the sun slowly creep over the rusty mountain ridges and warm the park valley. We signed in at the ranger station, listened to her spill about respecting the park and that we’d probably see a bear or mountain lion, and with her suggestion we reserved the NE-2 campsite for night one and the Emory Peak campsite for night two.
We started the hike with a 2,000 feet climb up along the 7-mile Laguna Meadows trail with John in the lead since he was better at feeding, I mean fending off mountain lions. With tired legs we reached the South Rim and enjoyed the vista views of the Chihuahua desert, Rio Grande river, and snow capped mexican mountains. We hiked along the rim to our North East facing campsite which was conveniently furnished with a steel bear proof storage box. We got up early the next morning to watch the sun rise over the desert, shared breakfast with the local wildlife and moved on. The hike down to Boot Canyon was steep and when we reached the creek bed we could only imagine the site of flood water raging through the canyon.
Walking down further through the canyon and along the creek mostly felt like taking a stroll though a KY forest, pleasant change from the rusty and rocky dry scenery throughout the park. We soon made it to the intersection of the Emory Peak trail, and our camp #2. Climbing up the trail just to the point of our campsite reminded us that we weren’t really in the mood to try to tackle the rest of the climb up to the highest point in the park.
Getting to camp early allowed us to sunbath and relax, something that’s been missing in a lot of trips. With no fires allowed in the park meant as soon as it got dark we didn’t have any light distractions from viewing the stars all gathered in the milky way, further enjoyed with some warm apple cider and bourbon.
The next morning we hiked down the Pinnacles trail which was well equipped with plenty of vistas to stop and gaze, through the Boulder Meadows, and back to the ranger station. We dropped off our permit and decided to drive back to San Antonio to find nice hotel bed and shower to spend the last night.
Wonderful trip with beautiful scenery and great hiking.

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