Marathon & Big Bend National Park, Texas

In Far, Our Journeys, Road Trips, The Americas, Trip-Types, USA by Janis0 Comments

‘Up around the Bend’ as CCR* would say

As part of our road trip through Texas and New Mexico, we wanted to visit Big Bend National Park which nestles along the Mexican border.

Gage Hotel, Marathon, Texas, USA

*CCR – Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Up Around the Bend” is one of my favourite songs

We had a full day planned around the park, however, to make the most of it we didn’t want to stay too far away, so we chose the Gage Hotel in Marathon, Brewster County.

Marathon

Now I didn’t really know what to expect of Marathon, but I certainly didn’t realise it was going to be so small, not that it was a bad thing, in fact it made a pleasant change.

From another time, Marathon, Texas, USA

However, it felt like we had stepped into a wild west town, with a single line railroad running through the centre and the occasional freight train steaming through, with its characteristic horn wailing.

A chance encounter

We decided to go and explore further back from the main road, we strolled the dusty streets and tracks, but it was odd, we felt like we were intruding.

However, that was until a local guy, sitting outside the grocery store struck up a conversation. Intrigued by our wanderings he advised us to go and search out the local cemetery to see the contrasts within the town.

Across the lines, Marathon, Texas, USA

Crossing the railroad, it appeared to us that Marathon had the feel of two communities, a town separated by the railway line, poorer on one side than the other.

But the cemetery clearly displayed the difference between protestant & catholic celebrations of the dead.

A vibrant memorial of life, Marathon, Texas, USA
A more conservative approach to death, Marathon, Texas, USA

We strolled back through the town, not a soul to be seen, and half expecting tumbleweed to blow passed us.

Ghost Town

The next morning, fueled up on Heuvos Rancheros from a local diner, we hit the road for a day at the Big Bend National Park.

Terlingua Ghost Town, just outside Big Bend NP, Texas, USA

On the way to Big Bend we took a slight detour to stop at Terlingua Ghost Town. In the mid 1880’s this was a bustling mining town, but over time the population dwindled. Now only a handful of people remain along with rusting remnants of the past.

An abandoned car in the Terlingua Ghost Town, Texas, USA

Dirt track of course

Into the park, via the Maverick junction entrance, and immediately we have a choice, is to be the 14-mile dirt track, or a 30-mile tarmac road – no choice really; 14mile dirt track it is then.

A pathway, Big Bend NP, Texas, USA

The landscape at Big Bend is very dry and arid, quite inhospitable, but cactus and other vegetation appear to like it.

The long road to, Big Bend NP, Texas, USA

Rio Grande

Leaving our trusty steed, we jump out of the car and go wandering, as we are so close to the Mexican border we knew the Rio Grande wouldn’t be too far away.
 
And we were right.

The Rio Grande gorge, Big Bend NP, Texas, USA
The Rio Grande, Big Bend NP, Texas, USA

Continuing through this amazing park it is so peaceful and the scenery is stunning.

A mesa shaped over time, Big Bend NP, Texas, USA
Life clings on, Big Bend NP, Texas, USA

Mountains and Mesa’s

Big Bend NP is huge and 118 miles of it is along the border with Mexico. Cruising through the park, we continue jumping in and out of the car to take in this parched landscape with backdrops of mountains and mesa’s.

The climb to the mesa, Big Bend NP, Texas, USA
The rock face, Big Bend NP, Texas, USA

There are hikes and trails all around the park, but as we only had one day here our activities were limited.

The landscape of Big Bend NP, Texas, USA

Chisos Mountains Lodge is located 5,400 ft. up in the Chisos Basin, take a stroll around here as the views are spectacular.

Bright Eyes

After a full day, we wanted to get back to Marathon before darkness fell, obviously being in such a remote part of the country the wildlife roams freely and fences are not really taken seriously.
 
We were warned to take care if driving in the dark and we were right to, it’s not until you are more or less alongside the animals do you notice them.

So as the sun was setting out they came. In a short stretch of road we counted 7 deer, and a group of hogs grazing by the roadside. One deer had the most amazing set of antlers, fantastic to see but it’s going to get messy if they dart out in front of you.

Inspired?

To visit Big Bend National Park? Does the winderness tempt you?

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The Rio Grande gorge, Big Bend NP, Texas, USA

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Have You

Any tales of your visit to Big Bend National Park or even Marathon? We would love to hear them?

About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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Marathon & Big Bend National Park, Texas was last modified: July 24th, 2017 by Janis