Monday, June 10, 2013

2013 Summer Vacation - Part 3

Hey everyone!!  Well the end of my week last week got hectic so I wasn't able to make any more blog posts.  I am trying my best to get this one in today.

So the next two posts about vacation will be about our experience in Big Bend National Park!!   This is actually a very beautiful area but we learned an important lesson the hard way.  May is the HOTTEST month of the year down there!!  There climate is actually a bit off from ours (in fact their bluebonnets bloom in December - and can get to be 4 ft tall!!)  We saw temperatures as high as about 120 degrees!!  Dry heat or not that is HOT!!!! 

And the place for full hook ups for RV (and the only spot that an RV as big as ours can fit) is the down in the lowest elevation...which means the HOTTEST area.  When you go up in elevation, especially up at the beautiful Chisos Mountains it cools down a good 15 degrees or so!

There are many many trails you can hike.  If it wasn't so hot I would have loved to have done a bunch of them!  We did do one of the major trails up at Chisos Mountains and that is what I want to share first about Big Bend :-)  It was the highlight of the trip!!  It was called the Window Trail.  In the picture below there is an arrow pointing to a big valley.  This is called the window and this is where you hike to!

We did this hike in the morning...trying to beat the heat.  I wasn't very smart - I thought we needed to get as early of a start as possible so thought the fastest way to do breakfast would be to hand everyone a nutrigrain bar and head out the door!!  We found out after the hike that we burned approximately 2500 calories on that hike!!!  It was a 4 mile hike!!  Another valuable lesson learned was - when you hike 2 miles down a mountain, you must turn around and hike 2 miles back up the mountain!!  And during that trek back up the sun hit high noon and the last 800 feet or so there was absolutely NO SHADE!!   It took us about 4 1/2  hours total to do this hike!!

It is funny - since we have been home we have talked to several people that have been to Big Bend and when we mention that we learned the lesson of having to hike back up 2 miles if you hike down two miles every time their response has been "Oh you went on the Window Trail huh??" LOL!! 

Here are pictures from the hike!  Most of them were from the first half of the trip - going down the mountain.  We had a cool morning breeze and scenery completely changed at every turn of the hike.  It was simply BREATHTAKING at times!

 Towards the beginning of the trail...

 Taking our first rest

 Big Bend has so many interesting plants and flowers! 

 Time to rest again! :-)
 Ok - these next few pictures are of a place along the trail that we fell in love with!  On the trip down it was shaded and cool and there was a BIG rock that the kids got on top of and had a snack!!  We were looking forward to getting back to it on the way back up...but the way the sun had moved it was no longer in the shade!

  Ok - time to get moving again!
 Daniel spotted this weird little cactus.  Found out later that it is an endangered species cactus.
 I think this is my prize photo for the trip! - at least my photo instructor (Daniel) was very impressed with it LOL!!
 Geckos are EVERYWHERE down there!  I thought this one was cool - it was in the process of changing colors!
 A snake we ran across.  There was another one that was chasing a gecko - but both were too fast to get a picture of.

Ok here we are at the bottom!!!  We are at the WINDOW!  In the rainy season this is a waterfall.  It is breathtaking!!  You will see Daniel at the edge - it is a HUGE drop off at that point.  Needless to say the kids and I stayed back.  Plus these rocks right here were slicker than snot!

 The next three pictures are what Daniel took when he was at the edge.

 Look closely and you can see the frog that Aaron found.

Another family showed up at the same time as us so they got a picture of all of us at the window.

 Ok - time to head back up the mountain!

 Time to rest!!  We took lots of rest stops on the way back up.
 Don't he look hot!!!  Last pic of this trail - we were too busy sweating and trying to make it to the top after this point!

It really was a beautiful trail and my kids are TROOPERS!!!  They did so good!!  It was us adults that had a bit harder time LOL!!

On my next post I will show a lot more pictures of Big Bend!  :-)

Until next time,

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