THE STARS AT NIGHT – ARE BIG AND BRIGHT -(clap, clap, clap, clap) – DEEP IN THE HAAAARRT OF TEXAS!
I couldn’t resist adding that! Because, the stars really are big and they really are bright here in Southwest Texas. Of course, anywhere in the world the stars are bigger and brighter out in the country with little or no lights. But Texas is one of those Western states where the sky is really big; the better to enjoy the nighttime display.
We camped at 5,400 feet above sea level in the Chisos Basin at Big Bend NP, the southernmost extension of the Rocky Mountains. All around us was the Chihuahuan Desert, arid and hostile to life.
The Chisos Range provides an oasis of sorts, protecting small scrubby trees and hardy plants and catching water from the infrequent rains.
Arriving from Marathon in the afternoon, we set up camp and took a short hike on the Window Trail. The window refers to the Basin “pour-off” where rainwater drains out of the valley to the desert below.
The campground was nearly full. Camping for Christmas seems so odd to me but, I come from an area where it’s cold and damp in the winter, sometimes snowy.
Here in south Texas, the days are in the 70’s to 80’s and the nights get only cool. So, camping at Christmas is a treat that probably takes them a little out of the holiday frenzy.
Next day, we took on the Emory Peak hike; 11 miles and 2,500 ft elevation. It took us six hours to complete the circuit.
The day was gorgeous and the people we met on the trail were delightful. Of course, everyone was on vacation, doing something fun and challenging so of course we were all happy!
There’s no mountain biking in the national park, so we set out for Big Bend Ranch State Park.
You drive through the desert to get there, through tiny, sun-baked towns. We met a transplanted Marylander in a small grocery store in Terlingua. She and her Texan co-worker agreed that not everyone who decides to leave their home and move to South Texas stays.
It’s quite a different world. No shopping to speak of, no movie theater, no gym, no hospital, no big sports venues, no new car dealer, etc, etc. Baking hot summers. Isolation aplenty.