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