Winter 2016 Adventure – Big Bend National Park or Bust Part Six

Eastside of Big Bend National Park

Welcome back to Big Bend National Park, where we visited in February 2016. Of the 62 national parks in the nation, Big Bend clocks in at over 801,000 acres, making it the 14th largest in the system.

For more information about this section of the park, see the Big Bend National Park overview in Part Five.

The Rio Grande Village in the eastside of the park is 41 miles from the Maverick Junction entrance where we entered. Be sure to heed the posted speed limit of 45 mph. A park ranger had to warn Jon to slow down a tad.

desert floor and volcanic hill
Volcanic peak rising from the desert floor

From Terlingua, Highway 118 is the route to take to the eastside of the park. Although this tunnel is short compared to the Zion-Mount Carmel tunnel in Zion or the Wawona in Yosemite, when we see a tunnel and there’s a place to park, we have to take a picture.

Rio Grande Tunnel
Rio Grande Tunnel built in 1959

From the Rio Grande Visitor Center, the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail leads to a viewing platform on a pond and continues up a hillside for river and mountain views.

Viewing platform beside a pond
Viewing platform at pond
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Golden-colored reeds against blue sky
Reeds against blue sky
Rio Grande River
Rio Grande River was low

We took a lunch break at the Daniels Farm House, which is a 1920 adobe farmhouse representing Texas pioneer farming. John O. Wedlen, a Swedish immigrant who came to Texas for greener pastures, built the building as a shed for farm equipment.

Picnic table with mountains in background
Picnic setting at Daniels Farm House

Daniels purchased the farm in 1937 and moved into the former storage shed as his residence. Later he added a room to use as a small store, serving the local residents in the Boquillas community.

Old adobe building
Daniels adobe-style farm house

Daniels converted 100 acres of land to cotton and moved away in 1944 when the park was established. The home, or shed, is 44 feet by 15 feet, or 660 square feet.

At the Hot Springs Historic District, visitors will find preserved buildings, pictographs, and the foundation from the old bathhouse. The 105-degree water entices guests to come on in, soak a while, the water’s fine.

Old stone building
I think this building was used as a store
Motel-style old stone building
Rooms for guests

When J. O. Langford heard about the healing powers of hot springs in Texas, he filed a claim under the Homestead Act sight unseen.

Pictographs on cliff rock
Pictographs and petroglyphs are visible on the cliffs
Trail in between a cliff and reeds
Trail leads to the bathhouse

After following a 21-day treatment of bathing and drinking the spring water and experiencing relief from his recurring bouts of malaria, he opened the spring to other bathers at 10 cents a day or $2.00 for the full 21-day treatment.

People soaking in spring water
Visitors try out the warm waters of the spring

Besides starting tourism in the area, he also became a schoolteacher, a self-taught doctor, and a postman.

There is plenty more to see in the eastside of the park, and I’d love to come back and spend a week or maybe two.

Next up we check out the westside of the park. Until then, stay safe.