The last day at Big Bend National Park was focused on the east section of the park – and a return to Santa Elena Canyon. I set out for the long drive to the east section of the park toward the Rio Grande Village thinking it’d be a full day between the long drive and the hikes out in that direction. I knew they’d be short hikes but nonetheless expected it to be a full day – it didn’t turn out that way.
This area of Big Bend is more barren than the other areas I had seen the previous couple of days. Along the way, I stopped at the Chihuahuan Desert Trail for a quick (.5 mile loop) look at the desert area in this part of the park. The short walk rewarded me with plenty of desert vegetation.
As I continued down the road, I stopped at the Hot Springs Historic District to hike to the hot sprints. I did not bring a swimsuit and that turned out to be just fine as it really didn’t look that appealing – not to get into anyway. The most interesting part was seeing a the park ranger patrolling in a canoe!
I completed the drive and reached the Rio Grande Village anxious to explore the nature trail. I will admit that it was rather disappointing. It is very nicely setup with platforms and a “boardwalk”, but there really wasn’t much there to see and enjoy – at least not to the level of grandeur of everything I had seen the previous couple of days.
At that point I decided to find a picnic table by the Rio Grande Village campground, enjoy lunch and head back. Being that it was in the afternoon, I decided to go down to Santa Elena Canyon one last time – hoping to get a little different light on the canyon. In the two days since I had been there, the weather had changed a lot and it went from being about 80 degrees to being in the 90s. The light was not that good when I arrived and the thought of sitting out in the sun in that heat and sun was not appealing, so I headed back for the last night in Terlingua – and another enjoyable dinner at the Starlight Theater Restaurant and Saloon.
And so the visit to Big Bend National Park came to an end! I know I’ll return to explore some other areas, to get some star trail photographs (not forgetting my tripod again!), to spend more time in the Terlingua Ghost Town, and to visit the nearby Big Bend Ranch State Park.