This was a week of both happy and sad moments in Big Bend. Former President George W. Bush rode with Lance Armstrong and several wounded warriors around trails of the park, all for charity. It's great that we get the publicity, as several papers and news programs did pieces on the ride. You can read one of those reports here.
Imagine, riding the trails of Big Bend would be challenging enough, but doing so with serious wounds, some of which included mission arms and legs, is amazing. Many of the wounded soldiers had been in Iraq. They rode, not to flaunt their injuries, though, but to show their persevering spirit, and to show how determination can prove greater than adversity and give any of us hope.
Hope Beyond the Fires
There is hope on the horizon. Just as the wounded riders showed us victory over adversity, so we must be strong as this year's fires in Texas continue to burn acre after acre. This year may end up being the greatest year for fires in Texas. It's currently second only to 2006, in which over 1.8 million acres were burned and several fatalities.
While the acre-count is reaching that total, the deaths are not. So far only two people have died this year, and both of them were volunteer firefighters. We can definitely say that local fire-departments and residents are working hard to stay safe despite the continuing dry climate.
But we can have hope that we'll come out of this in the end. We want to thank all you visitors of Big Bend that are following the precautionary restrictions and staying safe. With the park authorities helping us, we can expect to have a good time and stay safe. Most of Texas is under burn bans, and will probably stay that way until we have a good couple of weeks full of drizzling showers. Until then, stay sharp and safe, and keep your chin up.
There are some views you just can't take in all at once. Like a dazzling sunset or breathtaking field of wildflowers—you just can't appreciate such beauty in the moment, a moment that is often over before you realize it, the forms and colors of that marvelous vista already fading in your memory. Perhaps it was with the goal of preserving such scenes that the first camera was invented, a goal that you may still share when you visit a place as beautiful as Big Bend and the surrounding area. Why not take a look through our new and improved photo galleries to see what amazing sights have been preserved by astounded visitors and appreciative locals? When you see the mountains, plains, flora, and fauna displayed in those images, you'll be glad the gallery contributors took their camera along.
Among the many activities available in Big Bend National Park that highlight the region's diversity of wildlife, birding can be enjoyable and promising. Big Bend engulfs a vast area, bounded by the the rushing Rio Grande valley to the south, containing high peaks in the Chisos Mountains, and boasting both desert and forest climates between the two. It embodies the very diversity that makes America great, providing countless opportunities to spot more than 450 birds in one area.
What are your new year's resolutions for 2012? Did you keep your resolutions for 2011? While the top resolutions each year include losing weight, learning something new, traveling, or getting out of debt, here's a new challenge you can take on this year: spot all the bird species in Big Bend National Park.
Big Bend has some of the most spectacular scenery in Texas, if not the entire US. Our big sky country rivals any other state and our night skies are as dark as anywhere for excellent star gazing. The beautiful light and great scenery make for a photographer’s paradise.
There are many things you may love to do in Big Bend National Park in the heat of summer, but running or jogging is probably not one of them. With 90+ degree temperatures, there simply is no such thing as a nice July run in West Texas. With the dry weather we've had this year, you have truly hostile workout conditions. That all changes this time of year, though, as temperatures drop and the sun gives us a break for a few months. What a great time to get out on some trails in Big Bend!