Balanced Rock (Big Bend National Park) 31-Oct-2019

Five years ago, my brother-in-law, nephew, and I had done some hiking in Big Bend National Park. Our respective schedules dictated we do so in July – no crowds but damned hot! The LovedOne couldn’t join us then and had been agitating ever since to see Big Bend for herself. So we planned a trip there for early November, which is a much more temperate time for a visit. Then that medical issue came up and we feared we’d have to cancel (having failed to acquire travel insurance, that fear was palatable). But recovery was going well and many of the park’s trails are easy, so we went for it. Staying with the easier, shorter trails meant we visited parts of the park that we might have overlooked had we been focused on just the longer, more glamorous, trails. But then the whole park is glamorous in one way or another, so it was all good. 🙂

We flew to San Antonio, drove to Fort Stockton (a drive which reminded us of just how BIG is Texas), stayed overnight there, and got to the park around noon the next day. Casting around for a short, starter hike, we came upon the Grapevine Hills Trail, an easy (2.2 miles round-trip) one that leads to a group of balanced rocks in the heart of the Grapevine Hills. It proved to be an interesting destination in perfect hiking weather. And the hike was short enough to allow us to reach the Chisos Mountains Lodge (our basecamp) in plenty of time for libations and dinner. 🙂

Along the Grapevine Hills Trail
Interesting clouds over the trail
We enjoyed artistic clouds without any foul weather
The last quarter mile to the balanced rocks features a tiny bit of scrambling
The rocks here reminded us of those in Joshua Tree National Park
Ocotillo and rocks
What are the chances of this?
And how long will it last?
Rocks and clouds
This shot was so obvious we couldn’t help ourselves 🙄
Yucca among the rocks
Heading back
HOME

2 comments

  1. Oh Yes! Big Bend is beautiful and large. Very nice photos ! Your hiking trip brings back fond memories of when we did a backpacking/hiking trip in Big Bend with our two kids when they were in college. SO, that was late July – and we each carried 2 gallons of water, and that was not enough. It was hot. You made a wise choice to do this in November. I recall the view toward Mexico was stunning – because of the vastness and unending forests and mountains. And no lights at night! So peaceful, and almost ancient looking. I almost expected dinosaurs to be walking around down there.

    1. Thanks! We first hiked there in July because that was the only time which fit with my nephew’s then teaching schedule. Not too bad if we got a really early start for our hikes. Now that our time is more “flexible” it seemed obvious to return during a cooler season. One thing that’s amazing about Big Bend is the range of ecosystems it holds – from riparian to desert to mixed forest at altitude. The roadrunners were fun to watch and we saw two bears along the trail. So an exciting and wonderful trip! 🙂

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