Saturday, March 06, 2021

Big Bend State Park

 Scott was able to reserve 2 nights in the Big Bend State Park itself. So we hitched our trailer back on the truck and drove west again. Our first stop was the Terlingua "Ghost Town". I have it in quotes because it is no longer abandoned but is in the process of being gentrified. The only modern restaurant/bar in 60 miles and a high-end cafe are intermingled with the old stone buildings, many of which are being remodeled into small but charming homes. We had some excellent coffee at the cafe and noted their strong cell coverage for future Zoom meetings. 

Our campsite, 10 miles into the park, was fantastic, just up the hill from the Rio Grande and with views of the surrounding mountains. There were 4 sites together and only one appeared to be occupied, they had left two chairs there so were obviously a single unit RV. We settled in, detached the truck, and were able to enjoy a late lunch outdoors! Unanimously we decided to have a relaxing afternoon. We walked down to the river, had a nap and I did some cooking. We've been eating really well on this trip. That afternoon I made banana bread and for dinner, we had steaks, baked potatoes, and salad. Our neighbors arrived back and we said a brief hello. 

The next day we explored the State Park, driving down as far as Fort Leaton near Presideo. On the way, we hiked into the Closed Canyon - amazing, check out one of the Utube videos of it. The Hoodoos were really fun a little further along the road - Route 170, which goes through the park is considered one of the top scenic routes by National Geographic. Fort Leaton was a private fortress built in 1848 by Benjamin Leaton and served as a trading post along the Chihuahua Trail. Through murders, financial difficulties, and abandonment, it changed hands numerous times. In 1967 it was deeded to the State of Texas. We enjoyed our picnic lunch outside and then toured the building. Some of the rooms were furnished as they might have been during the residency of the Burgess family who lived there until 1926. 

When we returned to our campsite we found a new RV in residence. Ruth and Ann invited us over for drinks - a first on our trip, and we had a delightful visit with them. The evening was warm and the views, fantastic. The next day we drove back to the cafe in Terlingua for our Tortugal cruiser Zoom and then north and west to a night at a KOA RV park in Van Horn. On the way, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the terrific Reata Restaurant in Alpine, TX. 

The cafe where we enjoyed coffee and our Zoom
meetings in Terlingua

We, unfortunately, weren't there for the 
Chili Cook off

The theater is now a restaurant

One of the abandoned homes

At our campsite was a mounted telescope under
a roof that focused on possible bighorn sheep up
on the mountainsides

Our campsite

The entrance to the Closed Canyon

It was quite narrow in places and I experienced
some claustrophobia

The sun couldn't reach inside the canyon but
lit the mountainsides above

The trail into the Closed Canyon

Fort Leaton

The dining room

The Rio Grande

The first Texas state flower, bluebells, we 
found along the road - very early as they
usually bloom in March.
One of the many "Hoodoos" we 
saw along the road in the State
Scott took this photo at night with a long exposure. That's our RV on the left and our new friends
Ruth and Ann's car and trailer just beyond and then the mountains in the moonlight.

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