Astral Nomads

One man, one woman, one rabbit......traveling with the stars.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Big Bend National Park = Awesomeness!

The Astrals finally got back to camping and we did it in a big way: at Big Bend National Park in south central Texas. Big Bend is very remote and that's one of the reasons it's among the least visited National Parks. To give you an idea of how remote: we used Fort Stockton (pop. 7419) as our staging area. Fort Stockton is a 5 hour lonely drive west of San Antonio. The entrance to Big Bend is a two hour even lonelier drive south of Fort Stockton. The park campground we stayed at (Rio Grande Village) was another hour south of the park entrance. The campground was nestled on the northern shore of the Rio Grande river and set amidst some spectacular mountain ranges and desert vistas. Coyotes would amble through the campground at will and roadrunners were in abundance.

The drive down to Big Bend was through some dense mountain fog.
Speed limit 70MPH? I don't think so.

The fog finally cleared and we could see the mountains ahead. I had
no idea that southern Texas was so mountainous.

We stopped for gas at Panther Junction and ran into a couple
from Vermont going old school in a VW Westphalia. Old van,
young van, feel alright...

Mountains everywhere you look. This is from close to our campsite.

There were two Chihuahua Ravens there to greet us.

Our campsite was nestled between two large stands of mesquite. 
Setting up camp with the Eurovan is pretty easy. 1) Unload, 2) Pop top.

There was a natural spring near our campsite which created
a little wetland before it emptied into the Rio Grande.

Herons? Of course.

Tranquility too.

The weather was perfect: mid to high 80F in the day, mid to low
40F at night. Drinking a lot of water was essential.

This range is in Mexico.

Much like the Grand Canyon, it's hard to capture the scope
in photographs. (Despite Wendy's talent).
It was awe inspiring.

Only desert plants around here.

Great shot Astral Wendy.


Our campsite had a roof over the picnic table, which was nice because
the afternoon sun was really hot.

An Astral first night tradition: chile con carne.

I'm staying put until those coyotes go away/

Dining Al Fresco.

Rio Grande + Meadow + Mountains 

No shortage of cactii here.

The rest of these shots speak for themselves:

Sunset was spectacular every day. 

More Big Bend to come....


  1. I love it too Sandy... waiting to spot a place in the SW where I could actually live. Highway 385 is the most remote and beautiful road in the country that we have seen so far. Two hours of driving and not a house or person in sight... just some cattle here and there. Looking forward to camping in NM next.

  2. Wow....some of those pics look like paintings.

    So glad you have a new blog for me to read...I've been itching for some Astral.

    Grandma will be happy too...she brought you guys up like 5 times over dinner Tuesday.

    Love ya!

  3. @erica: We were beyond the reach of civilization for 5 days. it was a visually stimulating place. love ya too!

  4. What stunning photos! Looks so idyllic. Glad to see Otis is staying well hydrated too.

  5. Thanks Debra, the pictures only hint at the grandeur. Otis was well protected in this arid place where coyotes and javelina hunt in packs. I spent a lot of time in his pen with him... as a protectress of sorts.

  6. Wow. Great photos of an amazing landscape. I've never seen experienced a place like this (yet) so it's a window on a very different world!
    You both look very happy and relaxed, too.

  7. Thanks Tree! Probably the most rural and beautiful place we have been so far. A four hour drive from civilization, which is a tiny town pop. 7,000 which is also probably a hundred miles from any really big town. It is the least visited of all the National Parks because of it's remoteness, but there were families tent camping with small children and it was relatively safe by day. At night lots of raucous roving coyotes.

  8. hi gerry/wendy. glad you are back on, you were missed. the parents are here and we are viewing together. those photos are magnificent! be well.

  9. Thanks Ellen... glad you are enjoying the blog all together. We are enjoying the lap of a Sleep Inn luxury... hot breakfast and a heated swimming pool and jacuzzi before we head out to camp in NM. It's a dusty little town but coming from Big Bend it seems as busy as the Las Vegas strip. Lots of love to you all!