Big Bend National Park, Texas
A visit in December, 2003
Click on the photos for enlargements and scrolling panoramas.
The Window Near Sunset DEC03

ABOVE: The Window at Chisos Basin is backlit; light splashes over the high cliffs to the  right  as sunset approaches. 
BELOW: We spent our first night at Prude Ranch outside Fort Davis, TX.  We were the only guests and enjoyed the seclusion.  At Big Bend we stayed three nights at this unit of the Chisos Basin Lodge and saw a little spike buck from our patio.  It is said that at sunset, you can peer into Old Mexico through The Window and "see clear to the day after tomorrow."  We visited two places where the Rio Grande cuts deeply through the rock: Boquillas and Santa Elena Canyons.  Jackie and Mary Lou  pose in front of a massive palm tree near Hot Spring, across from Boquillas, Mexico.

Prude Ranch Entry Gate Chisos Basin
The Window
Chisos Lodge
Spike Buck
Trail Sign

Window at Sunset Boquilas Canyon
Boquillas Canyon
Boquillas Canyon
Santa Elena Canyon
Along Rio Grande near Hot Spring
At Hot Spring, Roly haggles with some Mexican kids over the price of walking sticks made from the flowering stalks of Sotol.  The sticks are surprisingly light, yet strong.  The river is quite shallow, and vendors wade back and forth freely despite Homeland Security concerns.  A beautiful roadside tree caught our attention.  Roly tries to climb up the Pouroff chute, and a Roadrunner reminds us of home.
Purchasing walking sticks
Purchasing walking sticks Rio Grande near Hot Spring
Roadside Tree
Pouroff Roadrunner
A panoramic view  of the Pouroff Canyon.  The hike in from the road was a pleasant mile.  Click the thumbnail for a view that scrolls in your browser.
Panorama of the Pouroff
Sotol Vista provides a stunning view of Boquillas Canyon as it cuts sharply through the distant cliffs.  Note the tall Sotol stalks, source of  our walking sticks.  Click on the photo for a scrolling view.
Sotol Vista Panorama
The cliffs near Hot Spring reveal the flat layers of limestone that are widely used in construction on both sides of the border.  The fragments of stone give Lajitas, Texas its name.  Note the vacant Cliff Swallow nests.  Lajitas itself is undergoing massive infrastructure  development.  Soon there will be many condos and single homes.  There is a golf course and  "Lajitas International Airport."  We visited quaint shops and a luxury hotel.  A beer-drinking goat was elected Mayor of Lajitas, allegedly because no human wanted the job.  He lives in a compound on the town square, and his statues and images grace the Ocotillo Restaurant.  Note the use of native stone (las lajitas) at the restaurant and bar.
Cliff Swallow nests
Shops in Lajitas
Portarai of the Mayor of Lajitas
Mayor of Lajitas Statue
Bar of Ocotillo Restaurant
Starlight Theater, Terlingua
While the Chisos Basin Lodge had good food for our first evening, we  dined out the other two nights-- requiring 100 mile round trips!  First , at the Starlight Theater in Terlingua, Chile Capitol of the World (last photo, above).  Then, simply based on Roly's impression of the exterior, we celebrated Mary Lou's (x)th Birthday at the Ocotillo Restaurant in Lajitas, TX (Hudson's on the Big Bend, operated by the same company as Hudson's on the Bend in Austin).  What a pleasant surprise!  We had the entire restaurant to ourselves, an attentive staff of three (including the chef), and were amazed at the variety and quality of menu selections.  The restaurant was full of colorful art work.  A tower with private tables provides views of Old Mexico.  We finished with a tour of the kitchen, which features a private dining area, and a visit to the smokehouse where a whole deer was slowly cooking.
Ocotillo Restaurant sign
Ocotillo Restaurant exterior
Mary Lou's Birthday in Lajitas
Paianting in Ocotillo
Ocotillo Dning Room
Dining room in Ocotillo Restaurant Ocotillo Restaurant Staff
Private Dining Room in Kitchen

During our five days of travel we saw javalinas and a mountain lion.  We took in the lights of "Christmas on the Pecos" at Carlabad, NM.  We also visited McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis.  As we approached, we could see the huge telescopes atop the Davis Mountains.  Click on the wide image for a scrolling panorama.
Christmas on the Pecos
Approaching McDonald Observatory
McDonald ObservatoryPanorama

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