Where We Be
Big Bend National Park, Texas
This may be THE big bend in the Rio Grande River that gives the park its name
This is a blind (spineless) cactus found only in the Chihuahuan Desert
Breathtaking Santa Elena Canyon is perhaps the scenic highlight of the park
I love the soft color palette of this desert scene
This looks like the kind of dramatic scenery you might see in an old Western movie
Robin sits at the edge of a big dropoff at the top of Lost Mine Trail in the Chisos Mountains
I love this green tree stubbornly growing in the midst of granite blocks
This castle-like upthrust is prominently visible from Lost Mine Trail
Deeper-in view of Santa Elena Canyon
Soft spring blooms and sharp thorns make an irresistible combination
This tarantula was big enough to see from our van as it crossed the road
This strange looking pig-like animal is called a "javelina" (the "j" is pronounced "h")
We took a walk through the Chihuahuan Desert -- a new kind of landscape for us with unusual flora and fauna
The Rio Grande cuts a deep path perpendicularly through this impressive rock wall near Santa Elena Canyon
Big Bend has big scenery but also little extravagances like this blooming flower
After 25+ years of hiking, we finally saw black bear on foot!
(but still no mountain lions up close, much to Robin's relief)
It's a terrible photo, I know, but it's the only one I got of a mother black bear (left)
and her cubs (three center, one barely visible at right) (Hint: look for the ears!)
Lost Mine Trail is perhaps the premier hike in the Chisos Mountains and offers dramatic 360-degree views
Quintessential Big Bend scenery
We took our time and explored the park slowly -- our favorite mode of travel
Hard to believe this river carved this canyon
Pretty view at the end of the Boquilla Trail
The "Window" at the end of Window Trail -- in wetter years a waterfall would be cascading over the edge just behind us
Dramatic view from the Oak Spring spur trail off Window Trail
We were surprised to find this wetlands area near the start of the Bluff Nature Trail -- unexpected in such a desert environment
So simple, so pretty
Big Bend is located in the extreme southwestern corner of
the state of Texas. There is a lot of beautiful scenery at Big
Bend, from Chihuahuan Desert panoramas to Chisos
Mountain views to Rio Grande river scenery.

Santa Elena Canyon is perhaps the highlight. You drive along
a rock wall 1500 feet high and a mile long and suddenly come
to a gap in the wall where the river has cut a deep path. You
hike up this gap, climb briefly, then walk along a raised stone
path that hugs the cliff edge on the right side of the river.
The views up the canyon are breathtaking. It takes extra
effort to get to this remote park, but the dramatic landscapes
are worth it.

Hiking around a bend of the Window Trail on our second day,
we happened upon a mother bear and her four cubs! They
were on the trail just ahead of us. My stomach did a flip. The
mother bear made an abrupt U-turn and quickly headed up
the animal trail that ran perpendicular to ours, but the four
cubs were slower making their retreat. They weren't much
larger than cats. They toddled their way up and over a hillock
and disappeared one by one. I managed to get my camera out
in time to take one quick foliage-blocked picture as they
made their retreat.
This unusual spot along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive is the result of volcanic ash deposits
Mexicans place items for sale unattended on this side of the Rio Grande and collect money in a jar
That's Mexico just on the other side of the shallow and easily crossed Rio Grande River (you can even see the Mexican town of Boquilla)