Big Bend National Park

Andrew and I decided to create a new tradition this year—to spend Thanksgiving exploring! We normally get ourselves into a food coma surrounded by family and friends but with us being so far away, we decided to start a new tradition for our family!

So we packed our things and headed to Big Bend National Park for the weekend!

The drive from Houston to Alpine was intense… a full 9 hours! Andrew is literally like my child, well my “man” child. He has to stop about every two hours to use the bathroom and pick up a snack which ultimately made the drive longer than planned. But it’s fun to be stuck in a car with someone you love… you not only do you soak up their full attention but you make memories; jamming to the radio, planning your future and so on. I honestly love a long car ride with good company!

We arrived to the hotel pretty late so we just passed out. We woke up the next day, Thanksgiving, to explore Alpine before we headed down to Big Bend National Park. Alpine is a little town filled with art. "Alpine is a living, breathing oasis in the desert where you’ll find the perfect spot for an afternoon coffee break, plenty of unique shopping, movies, dining, nightlife and hotels and guest houses where to rest your head for tomorrow’s journeys."

The drive from Alpine to Big Bend National Park was absolutely beautiful! I swear, Texas literally has anything you could possibly want to see!

"Big Bend National Park is in southwest Texas and includes the entire Chisos mountain range and a large swath of the Chihuahuan Desert. The Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive leads to the ruins of Sam Nail Ranch, now home to desert wildlife. The Santa Elena Canyon, carved by the Rio Grande, features steep limestone cliffs. Langford Hot Springs, near the Mexican border, has pictographs and the foundations of an old bathhouse."

We were scheduled for a canoe trip to float down the Rio Grande River. "The Rio Grande is one of the principal rivers in the southwest United States and northern Mexico. The Rio Grande rises from south-central Colorado in the United States and flows to the Gulf of Mexico." 

We recently just bought a Go-Pro for our anniversary which captured our entire float down the Rio Grande! There were a few times when I was distracted taking photos… and Andrew was freaking out because we were spinning around or crashing into rocks, lol. The video is so comical. We have literally watched it so many times!

After the canoe trip, we were starving! The only place open for over 50 miles was the Starlight Theatre. We headed to the restaurant and went straight the bar! Andrew and I actually enjoy sitting at the bar… we meet some of the best people and we normally always have a good time. We met an older couple who were retired and traveling around the United States in their RV . They thought Andrew and I were on our honeymoon… we literally get asked that almost every time we are out on the weekend! It was a great time though. 

We were scheduled for ATV tours the next day! Our tour guy was so knowledge about the area and its history. He even shared to the old tales of Big Bend National Park too. 

It was just a fun experience overall. Andrew was able to drive the ATV, which he absolutely loved, and I was able to ride along and snap photos! It was perfect for us.

After our ATV tour, we headed to explore Big Bend National Park by foot! Andrew really wanted to climb the Santa Elena Canyon  so it was first on our list! It amazed me to see so many people on the trail too. I guess a lot of people try to avoid holiday stress and chaos by doing something they love- exploring.

The hike itself wasn’t hard but Andrew and I are such babies! We really need to invest in hiking shoes, water bottles, etc.  As much as we love to hike, we are always unprepared. The view of the Canyon was breathtaking though… just beautiful. Pictures really don’t do this place any justice… it is seriously so beautiful.

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the National Park and being complete goof balls… Andrew literally can get us lost in a National Park for over an hour and still have me laughing about it so much that I just forget we are even lost in the first place.

It was a great escape from the holiday hassle and stress. We also found ourselves falling more in love with Texas. We couldn’t have asked for a better Thanksgiving. We had the nicest weather, surrounded by great people, and absolutely no cell phone service.  What more could we have wanted?