Day 20 (Big Bend National Park)

I realized the sun rises much later. It’s weird going through different time zones and being in different geographic locations within the time zone because it affects the sunrise and sunset. I was asking Google quite a bit when the sun rose and set.

I had booked a canoe/kayak river trip for today. I was hoping to go into Santa Elena Canyon, which is the picturesque/famous canyon in this area.

The water levels were right for going into Santa Elena Canyon. Much of it depends on local precipitation, but also how much water Mexico releases.

Since I did not come with a partner, I got a kayak instead of a canoe, which was great. I find kayaking much easier and canoes harder to maneuver.

The tour company, Big Bend Boating and Hiking Company, was great.

We spent a few hours paddling up the river and then boomeranged back, where we did some floating and paddling downstream. 

At the recommendation of the tour guide, I went to Terlinga to look at the ghost town, although it’s not much of a ghost town anymore and serves more as their cultural/community hub. He said around 5 p.m. many people stay on the front porch of the Starlight and Terlingua Trading Company and watch the sunset. I bought a few beverages, watched some locals talk, hear a little music (they have a guitar on the front porch for anybody to play and a local brought any sort of instrument), and left back to the campsite.

On the way back to the campsite, I saw a bear, which I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one in the wild. I was driving back and it was crossing the road.

Then, right after the bear, I encountered a giant spider, which I think was a tarantula. Everything is bigger in Texas.

I’m glad I was in my car for both encounters.

My battery powering my fridge was about to run out, so I tried to give away half a sandwich, which makes a meal, and a yogurt. I encountered two vegans who live in Texas. Props to them, though I am not sure how they survive. Texas does not seem like a hospitable environment for vegans unless you do all your own cooking.

I spent a little more time trying night photography with my new camera. I’ve never done much night photography, particularly of stars, but a few photos sort of came out. Big Bend is a wonderful place to stargaze.