In October, Mark and I went backpacking in Big Bend National Park. It was amazing. I know it was a while ago, but when it comes to editing my own photos, I take a while to finish.
We hiked throughout the High Chisos Mountains trail system, looping through peaks, valleys, and cliffs along the inner mountains of the park, about 15 miles in all. We had to pack in all our own water (being in a desert), so our packs were heavier than I’ve ever had them when packpacking in the past.
The scenery was always magnificent.
Hiking up to our first campsite took a while–our elevation gain for that hike was over 2000 feet in about 5 miles. That’s pretty steep. Especially with a 40 pound pack strapped to you. Needless to say, we took many well-deserved breaks, sometimes snacking on our homemade oat bars.
We went through a meadow and then saw this hawk. He was on this rock for a long time, sunbathing. Sometimes it looked like he was conducting a choir. It was also about this time (when I was shooting the photo of the hawk) that a pereguine falcon dive-bombed straight at me at 150 mph, missing my head by centimeters. It sounded like a jet went right over my head. this happened 2 more times on the trip.
When we got to our campsite, it was almost sunset. We took this picture right by our campsite. Easily one of the prettiest places i’ve camped.
And here’s our campsite! See the pretty mountains in the background?! Awesome. And yes, I did help setting up camp; I taught mark everything he knows! 🙂 I just always have to be the historian as well, of course.
When I awoke the next morning, Mark had told me that he thought he had heard a bear sniffing around our tent when I was asleep, and was pretty freaked out about it for a good 30 minutes. Turns out it was just me breathing in his ear. 🙂 Anyway, after breakfast, we went out on a day hike to emory peak, the highest point in the park. The hike was only 1 mile there, but elevation gain was almost 2000 feet! Therefore, the trip took us most of the morning. Here was a view along the way:
The last hundred feet to the top was a narrow, rocky ledge of terror. Mix that with my arthritis symptoms (inability to grip things well), my meniere’s disease (dizziness), my klutziness, and my lack of trust in myself and you get a recipe for potential disaster. So I opted out. Mark took my camera and went himself. See, there’s me waiting for mark in the bottom of the frame:
Some photos mark snapped from the highest point in the park:
We then hiked back down, grabbed our packs out of the bear box, and started on our journey to our next campsite, which was near the south rim. We got there in a couple of hours, and this is what greeted us:
We couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. In my book, this is definitely comparable to the Grand Canyon. We just had to sit there in wonder and thank our God for creating such beauty and letting us see it!
We then went to find our campsite, dropped our packs off in the bear box, and went back out to explore. We found a different view of the south rim. Look! There’s Mexico!
Doesn’t this look like something from The Lion King? Back there, to the north, was where our campsite for that night was.
And what does this look like? How about…. “the cliffs of insanity!!!!” Name that movie! Come on!
My fave part of the day. Sunset at the south rim. Oh, so gorgeous.
The next day, hiking to our campsite took no time at all compared to the days prior, since all the hiking was downhill this time. I loved this campsite. We stayed in a meadow. I loved it!
Our campsite was nestled in some trees in this huge meadow. We had a lot of down time that day, so we relaxed. We played games, read, journaled, explored, and talked.
Oh. AND took tons of photos. Of course. The sun was great that day:
These guys kept following us around. Which would be cool, but it was mountain lion season. Guess what mountain lion eat? Yep. Deer. So we kept having to scare them off. It was mildly hilarious, because they don’t get scared by noise, only by quick and startling movement. Picture me jumping up and down and flapping my arms.
Last sunset of the trip:
Next morning, we hiked back down (very easy, considering our packs had each shrunk by 20 lbs). On the way down, Mark ran into a childhood friend of his and his wife, whose wedding mark had DJed as well. It was crazy. One of the most remote places in America, and Mark finds someone he knows. Happens everywhere.
Such a good trip! Here is a photo grid of the details from the trip (my fave part):
I would recommend this trip to anyone. Thanks for reminiscing with me!
[All photos were taken in October 2010.]