Thursday, February 3, 2005

Today we unloaded the motorcycles and had a nice, if cold, ride through the park. We went to the Chisos Basin area and had lunch at the lodge there. The Chisos Mountain Lodge is at 5,400 feet, and I would estimate that the air temperature was in the lower 30s when we were there. In fact, all the trees at the summit were covered with a beautiful, glimmering coat of ice -- evidence of a freezing rain earlier in the day.

After lunch we took a spin through the Chisos Basin Campground -- only three rigs were in evidence, most of the campground being empty. Signs in the park and notes on the map indicate that the road to the basis is not recommended for motorhomes over 24 feet. However, close inspection of the route revealed no issues for Odyssey (which has an uncommonly short wheelbase and, thus, tight turning radius for a 40' coach). On our next visit, we may spend some time in this high mountain campground, where we can take advantage of the restaurant at the nearby lodge.

On our way back down to the Rio Grande Village, we also made an excursion to the Boquillas Canyon overlook and trailhead, passing the now-closed road to the Boquillas Crossing en-route. The canyon is quite impressive even from a distance, but we've heard the only way to truly experience it is on a raft trip, something which will have to wait for our next visit here.

Throughout our ride, we were struck by the immense expanse of the park, and how devoid it is of development. The scale was very much reminiscent of Death Valley, with very similar open spaces and vistas (though quite different vegetation), but even Death Valley has a bustling village (Furnace Creek) that makes Big Bend seem positively deserted.

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