This place is VERY BIG! Today I drove about 125 miles round trip from my campground, which is about 8 miles from the entrance to the park, and I only covered about 1/3 of the park. Since it was so cold and windy today I decided to visit the Rio Grande Village area which is a lot warmer at 1800 ft elevation than it would be a 7800 ft elevation in the Chisos Mountains. Rt 385 thru the park is a very scenic and pleasant drive, in my opinion, but I hear that there are even better scenic drives on the western side of the park.
The Boquillas Canyon Trail was the highlight of my day. It's about a 1 1/4 mile round trip walk which takes you up a ways at first for some great photography and then down to the river where you walk along the river until the trail ends. I really enjoyed this walk and spent a lot of time here. There were other people there, but it wasn't crowded at all.
I heard the singing a long time before I saw the singer. He was a Mexican singing from the Mexican side of the river for our pleasure, and donations. There were 4 or 5 other Mexicans in the area where the singer was and they took turns singing. They also look after 5 or 6 different vendor locations along the Boquillas Canyon Trail. They cross the Rio Grande River on donkey or horseback and check on their sites every now and then, and then cross back to Mexico. Quite a scene to watch. Before 9/11 this area was much more open between the borders and lots of people would visit the small Mexican town of Boquillas, which is just across the border, bringing with them dollars which helped support the local economy. After 9/11 that was shut down and now only Del Rio and Presidio are legal places to enter Mexico in this area.
It was very cold here last night. It's 34 degrees in Marathon now, but the Ranger at the entrance said it was supposed to get down to near 17 degrees in the park. Sure glad I wasn't in my tent last night. I did get a chance to check out the campgrounds at Rio Grande Village. The full hookup campground isn't much at all, and I'm not sure how some of the big rigs got parked. Very tight quarters, and the only thing that it offers is full hookups and the convenience of being in the park. The dry camping area was much nicer, and if the weather warms up I'll probably spend several nights tent camping at this location.
Today I'm going to try to get the base plate on the Ranger repaired. This time I'm going to have it welded to the frame so that this doesn't happen again. First they are going to have to weld the frame where it is cracked. I'm hoping that the local guy can do it, but if he can't I'll drive into Marathon to get it done. It's too cold to do much in the park anyways.
I'm told that the Chisos Mountains are really special, with lots of wildlife. I'll be checking that area out as soon as I get the Ranger repaired, and it warms up a little.