For "Travel Tuesday", let's visit Big Bend Ranch State Park again, in The Texas Big Bend Country region.
"Named for the Big Bend National Park, the westernmost region of Texas boasts pristine parklands, wide open skies, popular hiking and camping areas, and the beautiful Davis Mountains. Relive the days of the Wild West or experience the international culture of old El Paso. Discover the Park Lands of the Texas Big Bend Country."
Big Bend Ranch State Park
"The ultimate hikers paradise that is fascinating and different each time you visit. The Closed Canyon Trail is one of the few slot canyons in Texas and follows a dry creek bed from the head of the canyon to the Rio Grande. The trail is about a mile and a half, easy going for the first quarter mile, and then gets steeper with rocky drops. The scenery is breathtaking - steep sheer tall cliffs that seem to close in on you, large veins of calcite on the cliff faces, cactus growing sideways from solid rock, and lots more.
Over a quarter million acres to horseback ride, raft, mountain bike and camp under a blanket of stars.
Welcome to the Other Side of Nowhere!
Big Bend Ranch State Park offers outdoor recreation for the truly adventurous. This remote park features rugged mountains, steep canyons, amazing views, unparalleled night skies, and solitude in a high desert setting. The park stretches along the Rio Grande in far west Texas, on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Things to Do
Visitors can hike, mountain-bike, backpack, paddle, ride horses or explore by vehicle (the park has two- and four-wheel-drive roads). This is Texas’ biggest state park, so there’s a lot to explore!
The park has 238 miles of multiuse trails (for hiking, biking and horseback riding). Visitors can explore 70 miles of unmaintained dirt roads in high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles. The Rio Grande/Rio Bravo area offers great day-use access. Visitors can float, fish and hike, or drive the scenic Camino del Rio (FM 170). Each February, the park helps host the Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest. Visit our Activities page to learn more.
Campers can choose from vehicle-accessible, backcountry or equestrian sites. All sites (except backcountry) can be reached by vehicle. Some roads require four-wheel-drive or high clearance. Campsites offer solitude and great vistas; all (except backcountry) offer some camp amenities. Limited lodging and food service are available at the Sauceda Ranch House and Sauceda Bunkhouse.
The park also has a 5,500-foot paved airstrip. If you plan to fly in, call ahead to let park staff know when you will arrive and to get up-to-date information.
Pick up backpacking, camping and river-use permits at the following places. You can also purchase maps and hunting and fishing licenses, as well as find information about the Big Bend region.
- On the east side, near Lajitas: Barton Warnock Visitor Center
- On the west side, near Presidio: Fort Leaton State Historic Site
- In the park’s interior: Sauceda Ranger Station.
For more information on visiting the park:
- El Solitario Newsletter: Overview and Visitors Guide
- What to do in one day, three days, or one week!
- Policies on Dogs at Big Bend Ranch State Park
- Swimming Safety Tips
Volunteers are always needed at Big Bend Ranch State Park. Visit our Volunteer page and keyword search for “Big Bend.”
Park rangers lead tours throughout the year. These include hikes and four-wheel-drive trips to learn about archeology, geology and nature. Rangers also lead mountain-biking and photography tours. Call the park at least seven days before your visit to request a tour.
- For more information, visit our Activities page.
- Check the Events page for upcoming activities.
- Ask about the Junior Ranger Explorer Packs available for free checkout at the park!
Commercial outfitters lead guided tours and rent sports gear. They rent kayaks, canoes and mountain bikes, as well as other camping equipment. Outfitters lead horseback rides, river rafting trips, 4x4 tours, mountain bike tours, campouts, nature and birding hikes, and art and photography classes.
Are you uneasy about tackling this rugged park on your own? Do you want to try a new activity, like mountain-biking? An outfitter may be able to help. Visit our Outfitters page for contact information.
On your way in or out, stop for a dip in the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool at Balmorhea State Park.
Near Fort Davis, you can visit Fort Davis National Historic Site or Davis Mountains State Park. Learn about desert plants and animals at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center. Enjoy a solar viewing or star party at the McDonald Observatory. You can also tour museums and art galleries, and road bike and hike through scenic areas.
If you like desert quirky, check out Terlingua. Tiny Marfa offers art galleries, mystery lights, and more." http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/big-bend-ranch
Big Bend Ranch State Park Photo Tour
"Come take a Photo Tour with us to enjoy the true photographic magnificence and backcountry camping of Big Bend Ranch State Park. You will be able to photograph and camp in areas of the park that are only accessible via primitive roads, impassable to all but 4-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicles. Each tour goes to a different location within the park.
When: Dec 20, 2013 05:00 PM to Dec 22, 2013 01:00 PM
Contact Name-Blaine Hall. Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
These tours will take you to some of the most rugged, remote, and scenic locations in the park and are intended for photographers who would like to work in the park but lack the proper vehicles for reaching these sites.
Different tours will go to different locations, so join us for more than one! An experienced professional will be available to answer questions and provide help where needed, but there are no classroom activities – just 2 days of uninterrupted photography.
The tour price of $350 includes one night’s lodging at the Bunkhouse, one night’s camping “on location”, all meals, and transportation. Space is limited to 6 photographers – the perfect size for a campfire supper and friendly conversation. Reservations, details, and payment can be made by calling 432-358-4444. The tour fee will need to be pre-paid and is non-refundable.
Tour dates are: December 20-22, 2013; March 21-23, 2014; March 28-30, 2014"
Big Bend Ranch Airport, from the east.
The park also has a 5,500-foot paved airstrip. If you plan to fly in, call ahead to let park staff know when you will arrive and to get up-to-date information."
Landing at Big Bend Ranch State Park
"Visiting BBRSP by airplane is the best way to go - overfly the ranch compound to alert them to your presence, and a truck will come out to pick you up."
Takeoff from Big Bend Ranch State Park airstrip
On This Day:
Commander at Pearl Harbor canned, Dec 17, 1941:
"On this day, Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel was relieved of his command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet as part of a shake-up of officers in the wake of the Pearl Harbor disaster.
Admiral Kimmel had enjoyed a successful military career, beginning in 1915 as an aide to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He served admirably on battleships in World War I, winning command of several in the interwar period. At the outbreak of World War II, Kimmel had already attained the rank of rear admiral and was commanding the cruiser forces at Pearl Harbor. In January 1941, he was promoted to commander of the Pacific Fleet, replacing James Richardson, who FDR relieved of duty after Richardson objected to basing the fleet at Pearl Harbor.
If Kimmel had a weakness, it was that he was a creature of habit, of routine. He knew only what had been done before, and lacked imagination—and therefore insight—regarding the unprecedented. So, even as word was out that Japan was likely to make a first strike against the United States as the negotiations in Washington floundered, Kimmel took no extraordinary actions at Pearl Harbor. In fact, he believed that a sneak attack was more likely at Wake Island or Midway Island, and requested from Lieutenant General Walter Short, Commander of the Army at Pearl Harbor, extra antiaircraft artillery for support there (none could be spared).
Kimmel's predictability was extremely easy to read by Japanese military observers and made his fleet highly vulnerable. As a result, Kimmel was held accountable, to a certain degree, for the absolute devastation wrought on December 7. Although he had no more reason than anyone else to believe Pearl Harbor was a possible Japanese target, a scapegoat had to be found to appease public outrage. He avoided a probable court-martial when he requested early retirement. When Admiral Kimmel's Story, an "as told to" autobiography, was published in 1955, Kimmel made it plain that he believed FDR sacrificed him—and his career—to take suspicion off himself; Kimmel believed Roosevelt knew Pearl Harbor was going to be bombed, although no evidence has ever been adduced to support his allegation."
In the morning, Ray came over to visit for quite a while, just to get away from the hubbub at his house. He still hasn't been able to get all the matted blood out of his hair from the truck accident. It will take some scrubbing, which he isn't prepared to do yet, as it hurts too much.
A little while after Ray left, I had a long chat with my ex-daughter-in-law, Becky. She had a double mastectomy a couple of years ago, only to find out that she is now riddled with cancer all over her body. Right now, she is on chemo again, and she is trying to raise $45K to have full body hyperthermia cancer treatment in Germany. Well, I had to find out more about it and spent the entire afternoon researching the treatment, and who does it. It works on the same principle as having a fever which is the Lord's way of killing the bad cells. That's a lot of money, but she thinks it is her only chance.
I did find out that they also do it in the USA, and even have clinical trials near here in Houston. I printed out a bunch of information about it, and will give it to her when we have lunch together on Friday.