In part eight of our Winter 2016 adventure, we drove up to the Chisos Mountain Range, the only mountain range contained entirely within a national park. It covers 40 square miles and the highest peak is Emory at 7,825 feet above sea level. For more information about this section of the park, see the Big Bend National Park overview in Part Five.
Our truck made it up the steep, twisty road to the Chisos Basin Trailhead without a problem. There are five hikes of varying lengths to choose from.
We selected the shortest since we had not prepared for a half-day or longer trek and added on the Window View Trail.
After the whirlwind of travel and sightseeing, we took a day off to catch up on washing chores and left the following day for Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. We drove north on Texas Hwy 285 and found a roadside stop with picnic tables along the way, so we stopped to eat our lunch.
I felt like a little kid again, dangling my feet off the bench seat. I guess it’s true what Texans say about their state: Everything is bigger in Texas.
We have oil wells in California, with lazy pumps and arms that rock up and down, so I had never seen flaring before. It kind of scared me when I saw these oil wells dotted across the desert with plumes of flames. Did we drive into a dystopian movie set by mistake?
Apparently, production flaring is used to get rid of unwanted petroleum gas with the idea that it is better to burn it off than to release it into the environment. The lesser of two evils, I guess. Oil production rigs with flare stacks spread out across the desert for as far as we could see and all the way into Carlsbad, New Mexico. I don’t think I took a deep breath from the time we entered the oil field until we saw Carlsbad disappear in our rearview mirror.
At Carlsbad KOA we enjoyed the birds flitting around, especially the doves. The smell of the gas burn offs was not to our liking though.
All that gas burning off sure made for a colorful sunset.
We enjoyed our time at Big Bend National Park and would love to return someday. A canoe trip down the Rio Grande, hikes, photo tour in Terlingua, and poking around the surrounding area are top on our list of things to do when we venture to the park next time.
Next up, we visit the Carlsbad Caverns before working our way back home. Until then, stay safe.