When wide open spaces and big blue skies call, it’s an echo one can’t ignore. For me, it came in a dream, and within hours I had booked a flight and a rental car. My destination: Big Bend, TX.
Getting to Big Bend is simple – you take the road until it ends. Big Bend’s rocky canyon walls stand on the desolate border, where Mexico kisses Texas along the Rio Grande down that long, long road. But that’s just one of the reasons why it’s such special a special place – it takes so long to get there, and it’s worth the trek.
A few hours before you get to the entrance of Big Bend, you’ll lose cell phone service, and will switch to radio. When flat plains begin to turn into rolling hills of brush and grass, you’ll know that you’re getting there. You can feel it. Then, within a blink of an eye it becomes sweeping desert in between climbing mountainous plateaus.
The road narrows and the whole world seems to open up. It only takes a few miles until you lose radio signal. Once that happens, it gets quiet. Really quiet. Looking out, it feels as though you can see forever. The landscape seems so vast and barren, like how one might imagined the surface of the moon to be.
There’s a richness in color that must be seen to be believed. The sky, in its perfect cloudless blue, with bright white rays of sun, covers the hills of purple and ochre. The surrounding earth is sprinkled with cacti and yucca plants in varied muted greens. With the air so still and quiet, it almost feels as though you can sense the colors deep with in you.
After winding your way through miles and miles of mountains and desert, the river will appear – an oasis. The Rio Grande, in all its strength and beauty appears. Seemingly gentle, but completely the opposite, it’s the life source of Big Bend. The river seems to add a texture and color that somehow ties the whole place together. Once you reach the river, the rest of Big Bend just seems to make a little more sense.
It’s the sublime contrasts within the nature of Big Bend that really makes it such a unique place. While everything seems still and peaceful, there’s a vitality in the landscape unlike anywhere else.
It’s strong and powerful, harsh, a place where only the strongest flora and fauna can survive, but with this harshness comes a quiet beauty.
The landscape allows you in to experience both the grand vistas and small cactus blooms with awe and wonder.
It isn’t really until you leave – once you’re back on the highways with a working radio – that you can really grasp what a luxury days spent in Big Bend are…materialism seems irrelevant. It’s hard to believe that such an extraterrestrial place exists. Big Bend is another world, beckoning to its next visitor through an echo.