10th May, 2011

On The Way To Big Bend National Park, TX – April 26-30, 2011

Total distance driven (includes in-city driving): 10,309.8 kms (miles)
Average gas consumption: 22.3L per 100 KM

Heading out into the sparsely populated deserts, plains and mountains west of Texas was both thrilling and nerve racking. We heard stories about the scarcity of gas stations and cell phone signals. At the same time the serenity and nature called to us. So with a full tank of gas we headed towards the wilds.

Our first destination was South Llano River State Park. Temperatures as hot as they were we figured it would be nice to cool off in the river. A quick call to the park confirmed they had open spaces.

On the way we drove through Hill Country. Yes, Texas has hills….

Hill country is full of ranches, wineries and open land…lots and lots of open land.

They even had to blast away this hill to make a smooth roadway.

Jason takes in the long vistas from this hilltop stop.

Ahhh, beer…even Budweiser is in Hill country…

We drove through Fredricksburg – a neat city with a mix frontier, colonial and castle architecture.

The hospital was neat looking too…

Another city we drove through was Kerrville. We made sure to gas up in each city.

On route we called South Llano River State Park to confirm they had space in their campground only to learn that the park was being evacuated due to wildfires. Thousands of acres of wildfires were making their way through west Texas!

Change of plans – we headed Garner State Park. We arrived late in the day and were underwhelmed by what we saw.

We picked the most shaded spot we could find. Look the same number as our condo!

We checked out the nearby river – Frio Rio (translates to Cold River). There’s a drought in West Texas – perfect conditions for wildfires so not much water here…

The next day we toured the park to get a better feel for the place. We started by hiking up “Old Baldy” – the main feature of this park – and that’s when we started to like Garner State Park.

Marianna heads up to the limestone cliffs of Old Baldy – one of the highest peaks in the park.

The path is even prettier at towards the top. Check out these beautiful gnarled trees.

The cliffs are nice…

Hmmm, the river looks much nicer from here. Is that a damn?

Here’s Old Baldy from another peak. Not so bald from here…

The Old Baldy hike was great. We even discovered a cave!

It’s big enough for at least two adults to stand in!

Now to check out that river…

Even with the drought the river runs…

Jason checks out this small water fall…

Even with record low water levels, there are many crystal clear pools of water along the river. Jason relaxes by a potential swimming hole.

Look, fish! That’s how clear the water is.

Here’s another potential swimming hole!

Near the damn, there’s a huge pool of water!

We opted for this little swimming hole instead. Private, reasonably deep and beautiful! Ok, we love this place!

The wildlife just adds to it…like these geese…

…and deer…

…and armadillos…

…and jackrabbits…

Check out the size of these trees! Marianna fits in nicely.

After two days we have to move on or we’ll never reach Big Bend.

On the way we pass Amistad National Recreation Area…loads of water here!

But Wendy has plans of her own…as we drive through the city of Del Rio we suddenly hear what sounds like a gun shot.

Yup, Wendy had a tire blow out.

Are you wondering how friendly the folks in Texas are? Well, three separate people offered to help. Have no fear though we’re CAA (Canadian Automobile Association) members. That means we are also automatically members of the USA equivalent AAA (American Automobile Association).

AAA sent Del Rio’s only triple A approved service – Del Rio Towing & Wrecker – to the rescue. Thanks for the help Lupe!

And, thanks to the tire for blowing out when it did. After Del Rio our cell phone reception disappears…

With two hours of travel time lost to a tire blow out, Big Bend is out of reach for the day. We opt to stay at Seminole Canyon State Park. No wild fires and great views sounds good.

We had a great view of the sunset.

The next morning we hiked down into Seminole Canyon. The only way down is with a guide at $5 per person.

It was well worth it. In this picture Marianna learns about the pictographs on the cavern wall.

Ewww…fossilized poop…

And on that note, we hit the road. Next up – Big Bend National Park.


WOW! Texas is cool…love the gnarley tree photo. I am going to have it printed and framed. Looks like you guys are so enjoying the trip. Too bad about the wildfires, but you managed well through this part of the US. The pools of cool water, mmmnnn.

It’s getting hot here too, this weekend is a high of 42C. Only about 36C most of this week, but this weekend I’ll be indoors.

Love to you both,

Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, such as you wrote the guide in it or something. I think that you can do with a few p.c. to power the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog. A fantastic read. I will definitely be back.

Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say great blog!

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