Big Bend National Park is located on the border of Mexico and Texas, which is divided by the Rio Grande River. The park is unique because of its vast desert expanses on one side, as well as forested mountains on the other side. We were recommended to go visit the park by several locals throughout our stay in the Marfa area. We never planned to go south, but as fate would have it we met Jacob, a friendly guy from Austin, at the Marfa lights show. He was hiking Big Bend the next day and invited us to go on the adventure with him.
We took it as a sign and followed him there yesterday morning. We had no idea the park, including the Chisos Mountains, could be this vast and beautiful.
From the entrance of Big Bend to the base of where our hike would begin is 13 miles. Scarlet was even apprehensive and she overheated as we pulled into the parking lot.
The three of us packed our bags for the night and headed up the trail to Emory Peak, the highest peak in the park. Hiking in the desert with a pack on that is equal to half your size is no easy task. The heat and the steepness does not allow for anything but concentration.
We only stopped twice for breaks and made friends with a Mexican blue jay on the way.
He led the path all the way up to our spot. We made it to our backcountry camp sight, TM1, in three hours and 3.5 miles later.
We took a small break for lunch and sat looking at the view realizing that the mountains have the same effect on us as the sea.
We continued to the top of Emory Peak around 4pm because it was still another 1.5 miles. As we were on our way up, we ran into a couple from Wisconsin, they were just heading down from the peak. The gentleman stopped to talk to us about our travels as his wife continued on because the temperature was dropping. He was so excited to hear what we were doing that when he left us, he ran in the wrong direction. Jacob luckily caught up with him and as karma on the trail goes, he slipped us $10 for saving him and told us to, “Go have a f’ing beer.”
The wind and our shortness of breath from the altitude were a little strenuous but it couldn’t stop us once we got going. The excitement overpowered any fatigue we felt and Jacob kept us on our toes. We had to climb huge boulders at the peak to get to the very top. The view at the top of the peak went on for miles, you can even see Mexico. 7,825 feet never looked so good! We celebrated with our friend Jack in honor of our hard work.
As the sun was setting and the clouds and wind were blowing in, we decided to head down to camp a little earlier than we would have liked. On the plus side, we managed to see the beginning of the sunset. Once we got down we had a little dinner and chatted while looking at the spooky moon with its bright halo. We retired into the tent for the night and much to our surprise the winds at our camp were nothing like we had ever experienced. The sounds they created whipping through the peaks at around 50 mph and against our tent made our imaginations run wild. We were sure we heard other people, bears, and thought we were going to get blown off the cliff. Our rain guard flew off twice during the night! With little to no sleep we woke up in a cloud, literally. We hiked down in the complete opposite conditions as the hike up.
We were so fortunate to have met Jacob. It was as if we had always been friends with him. The journey in Big Bend would not have happened without him and that will never be forgotten.
We are sore in places we didn’t even know existed and are making a quick pit stop in Terlingua to get Scarlet back to good health.
Good bye Texas, we know we will back!