We spent six days at Big Bend NP this past week and loved every minute of it- except for the wind/ dust storm we had one night!
Spring is a beautiful time to see Big Bend: the desert is in bloom and the birds are flitting every where. We saw summer tanagers, common black hawks, road runners, and our favorite, the vermillion flycatcher. After a day of exploring the park we would sit in our campsite and watch all of those birds plus the ever present black vultures and turkey buzzards circling over head (hope they weren’t trying to tell us anything!)
The Rio Grande Village Campground offers spacious sites and abuts the Rio Grande River. The river access was a short walk from our reserved site 51. The site cost $14 a night, and was worth every penny. There is also a RV Park with full hookups, but the place looked like a parking lot and there was not enough space for Woolly Bear to chill, or us either. There is little, if any, cell service in the park and wifi is available right at the camp store, but not in the campgrounds. Hence, no blog entries til now.
We spent our first night 8 miles outside the Persimmon Gap Entrance at a really cool private campground called Stillwell Store and RV Park. The hosts were charming, and the real estate great! No neighbors within half an acre of us, just how we like it.
We enjoyed the nature trail and both river and outlook spur trails, saw a Great Blue Heron near the boardwalk, and were surprised at how shallow the Rio Grande is in spots. We actually saw a fellow wade across the river from Mexico one morning!
The Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to Santa Elena Canyon is one of the prettiest drives we have ever done. A stop along the way at Sotol Vista gave us an amazing view, and we had the entire place to ourselves! At Santa Elena Canyon we hiked to the Rio Grande and Charlie hiked the Santa Elena Trail. I went partway, but returned to the camper to check on WB, as it was in the high 70s and quite sunny. We had left the generator on and the AC, but I worried anyway. The next day we drove the steep and windy road into Chisos Basin, which was the most crowded part of the park, but simply beautiful. We hiked the Window Trail and also did the easy walk to the Window View.
San Angelo State Park has much to offer. It is home to the official Texas longhorn herd, has a small buffalo herd, prairie dog towns in both the South and the North Units, lots of deer,and plenty of raccoons. There are nature programs each day on a different topic(birding, petroglyphs, wildlife viewing, etc), as well as lots of mountain biking trails. They even have a section for equestrians to camp with their horses! Woolly Bear really wanted us to camp in the horse area, but that did not happen.
The only downside is that the Reservoir the park curls around is dry! The boat ramp goes into an empty bowl, and from the looks of the vegetation it appears to have been dry for a few years. We didn’t have time to find out why, but I suggest checking before you bring your canoe or fishing poles.
We took the opportunity to tour National Historic Landmark Fort Concho, located in the historic center of San Angelo. This fort was in operation from 1867-1889, built to protect the frontier settlements, and to patrol and map the vast West Texas region, as well as deal with hostile threats. It is a National Historic Landmark, and originally consisted of 40 buildings and covered 1600 acres. We spent time looking at the weaponry displays and uniforms, and toured the Barracks, stable, headquarters, hospital, and officers quarters. Additionally an antique telephone display was present, even though telephones were not present at any time during the Fort was active.
We will be traveling to Big Bend NP for the next week and do not expect cell service or wifi. Therefore Posts may be delayed.
The wind followed us across Texas yesterday, and decided to stay for the night! We are learning that the weather in this part of the country can be fierce and variable. For example, it was 90 degrees and sunny yesterday afternoon, but is just 46 degrees mid morning today. We are staying put this morning to wait out the high winds, which should subside by noon.
We set up camp in the north section and settled in for the afternoon.
We haven’t posted in a few days because we were camped at Cagle Recreation Area in the National Forests and Grasslands of Texas. This is a great place for fishermen! We camped within view of Lake Conroe, just 45 minutes north of Houston. But, no wifi and limited cell service, hence no blog reports till now.
Cagle has a boat ramp, hiking trails, and 47 full service camp sites nestled among the pine trees of the national forest. Campsites with water and electricity cost $20 per night. The place was completely filled with campers on the weekend, so we were happy we had made reservations. For those of you towing Bass Boats, many sites have parking room for both boat and tent or RV/ trailer.
We camped there Saturday through Monday and enjoyed lots of bird watching and hiking. Yesterday we got up early and managed to be on the road headed for San Angelo, Texas by 6:00 a.m. It was a good thing we travelled early, as the wind kicked up in the afternoon, and our vehicle has a high profile and tends to not travel well in a cross wind!