187 Miles – Terlingua, Santa Elena Canyon, Chisos Basin, Boquillas Canyon, Terlingua (all in Big Bend)
Big Bend National Park Motorcycle Ride
Today was a full day in Big Bend. The day started off cool and over cast but the sun soon was out and it was rather warm (hot) when we were near the river (lower elevation). Big Bend is just starting to bloom so we took lots of pictures of flowers. The blooms probably would have been better next week but they were still nice. Our first stop was at the Nail Ranch. Not a ranch any more just the remains of what was the home. It was a chance to stretch our legs a bit and take pictures. From there we rode to the Burro Mesa Pour-off. Took many pictures of the blooming cactus. Janet got this neat picture (see above) of bikes with Santa Elena Canyon in the background. The air was cool and crisp and it felt great. From there it was on to the Castolon Visitor Center where we took a rest stop and got a snack since it was a while before we would be eating lunch. From there it was on to Santa Elena Canyon and it was already hot there. Janet and I have never been there when it wasn’t hot. It was hot but the views were worth it. We took our time there and took lots more pictures. There was a couple canoeing up the Canyon. It looked like fun and I’m sure they got to see even more of the canyon. From there it was on to Chisos Basin and cooler temperatures (higher elevation… 5401 feet) to eat lunch. On the way we stopped at Mule Ears Viewpoint. The ride up to Chisos Basin is really pretty but steep with tight curves. It is a stark contrast to the scenery below. At 4500 feet the first tall trees begin to appear. Higher up you see junipers, small oaks and pinyon pines. Arizona pine, Douglas fir, Arizona cypress, quaking aspen and bigtooth maple are the last remnants of the ice age… Chiso basin is my favorite part of Big Bend. I had originally tried to get reservations at the Chisos Basin Lodge for this trip but you need to make reservations about a year in advance… so we ended up staying in Terlingua instead.
After lunch we rode to Panther Junction for gas. Because of the 45 MPH speed limit inside the park and little to no wind we all got around 50 miles per gallon. It was getting quite hot by the time we rode to Boquillas Canyon. You have to hike about 0.7 miles to get to the canyon so the girls opted out because of the heat. The worst part of the hike was the first part up a steep path but was easier and cooler as we got down to the river and canyon. From there it was back to Panther Junction. When we got to Panther Junction the headquarters was closed but the restrooms were still open and there was cold water to drink from the fountain. From there we rode back to the Mission Lodge for a well deserved rest.
Links to the other days of our ride…
Day 1 – 259 miles – Georgetown, Fredericksburg, Ozona
Day 2 – 257 miles – Ozona, Ft. Stockton, Alpine, Terlingua
Day 4 – 182 miles – Terlingua, Presidio, Marfa, Alpine
Day 5 – 188 miles – Alpine, Ft Davis, loop 166, Ft Stockton
Day 6 – 165 miles – Ft Stockton, Big Lake, San Angelo
Day 7 – 195 Miles – San Angelo, Llano, Georgetown