Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Big Bend - Day 3

Wednesday (Mar 8):

With Carl and Pam headed to Carlsbad, we were on our own for the rest of the week. We decided not to try a kayak trip since we did not have two vehicles to park at the entry and exit locations. We drove back into the park and headed towards the Balancing Rock Trail. The trail is down a 6 mile unpaved road that gets rough in places. We found the start of the trail and started hiking up hill. The trail is 1.25 miles long with the last .25 mile being a climb up the mountain rather than a trail. We make it to the top to see the balancing rock along with some nice views of the surrounding countryside.

Connie along the "easy" part of the trail.

We make it to the top.
After stopping by the Panther Junction Visitor Center for a bathroom break, we drove a few miles north to the Fossil Bone Exhibit. Specimens from Big Bend's remarkable fossil record along with illustrations are here at the Exhibit Hall. We ate lunch at one of the picnic tables located at the exhibit before taking a tour of the facility. There was a short walk up a hill to an overlook of the area which is now a desert but millions of years ago was covered with water and then lush vegetation.

After leaving the exhibit we headed towards the Chisos Basin located within the Chisos Mountains. We drove to the Chisos Basin Visitor Center and got some information about the hikes in this area of the park. We decided to hike the 2 mile Chisos Basin Loop Trail to see the views of the mountains. It was a trail with lots of steps and some wonderful outlooks to see the Chisos Mountains. The two highest points in the park are located in this area: Emory Peak at 7.832 feet above sea level and Casa Grande at 7,325. 

One of the unexpected items in the park was the amount of bluebonnets in bloom along the park roads. We saw bluebonnets along a number of the roads with cactus located right behind them.

After getting back to our campground we found that the power was out again due to low voltage. We talked with the owners and figured out it was not going to get any better at this park (they did give us a refund of the unused portion of our fees). We called the Los Gringos RV Park and were able to get the site that Pam and Carl had vacated that morning. We made a hurried up exit from the Study Butte RV Park so that we could get set up before it got dark. We were able to make the move and finish up just as the sun was going down. We decided to eat dinner at the High Sierra Bar and Grill since we were both tired from a long day.