[Amanda Mayo is our Contributing Editor Marfa. Click here to visit her blog.]
Big Bend Ranch State Park finally held its much anticipated “Fiesta” this past weekend (November 13-15). It is located on the Rio Grande, past the Lajitas resort. After being canceled for various reasons twice before this year the party was held and was it a success! Most arrived on Saturday to sit beneath old army tents to eat some of the best dang bar-b-que Texas has to offer.
The weather couldn’t have been more perfect all weekend. After lunch Andy Samson and Bob McKnight talked a little bit about the State park and State Parks in general. They pointed out “that no one thought anyone would come to Yellowstone when they opened their gates in 1872.” Certainly that is not the case as over 500 people turned out for the Fiesta at Big Bend Ranch State Park. Dennis Jay took the stage after Andy and Bob to play some of his cowboy songs.
Visitors were able to bird, hike, experience rock art, horse back ride, and meet with archeaologists to talk about the wealth of information found in the historic area of the Big Bend near Lajitas, Texas. Camping, lodging, and all other fees were waived as a celebration of the park’s party.
I camped at Chorro Vista on this particular visit to the Big Bend Ranch park. Upon calling for reservations I told the ranger I wanted the most difficult site to get to. It certainly was difficult, and long. I wouldn’t recommend anything other than a serious 4 wheel drive truck. It was incredible, nestled above and between Madrid Falls Canyon and the edge of the Solatario. The Solatario, an enormous collapsed volcano, is the park’s main feature. It is almost 10 miles across and one of the most distinctive geological features visible from space.
While the festivities continued on Sunday we took a trip down Fresno Canyon, also only 4 wheel drive accesible, or by way of horse back. Up the mountain, down the other side and onto a shut up creekbed, there are campsites along the way. The end of the line, 7 miles and almost 2 hours later, comes at the old Crawford-Smith Ranch.
Water seeping up through the sediment allowed for beautiful big cottonwoods to reside among the rock and basalt. Wandering through the ruins of the old ranch made me appreciate even more how incredible self sustaining one has to be to ranch in the desert so far away from everyone and everything.
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