If you haven’t used your vacation days this spring, grab a friend or two and head down to Big Bend National Park. You can hike, swim, camp, kayak, and well that’s about it but the name isn’t Little Bend. There’s absolutely no phone service and there’s a corner store within the park that sells beer. The only downside of taking a vacation to Big Bend is the hate you’ll feel towards your city sky when you get back home. Everything about the park is aesthetically breathtaking from the mountains, to the javelinas and the midnight stargazing. The courageous side of you will end up at the top of the most prominent peak in Texas with a view that stretches out for miles. Get a walking stick, get some cardio in before the trip, and get going to Big Bend National Park.
Camping in general is such a therapeutic way to spend a vacation. Hiking, climbing, camping, even cooking outdoors has proven to help our health both physically and mentally. Camping provides a sense of self efficiency and in turn, knowing how to survive in the wild boosts self esteem. On the other hand hiking and climbing opens up your senses to your environment which fuels your imagination and inspires creativity. There’s nothing like bonding time on the road trip there and the odds of an owl visiting your camp superstitiously or spotting a rogue horse near Rio Grande are pretty high so there’s plenty of material to base your next short film on. The adrenaline and rejuvenation of it all is worth making Big Bend your next destination.
Photo credit: Soul_Smiling via VisualHunt.com
Having little to no experience camping or even setting up a tent is no biggie. Big Bend provides its guests with plenty of amenities to keep you from feeling like a caveman, although primitive camping is definitely available and socially acceptable . The showers in the park have granite floors, there’s a convenience store that has everything you’ll probably forget like toothpaste, ice, Hot Cheetos, bathrooms and clean drinking water all within a mile of campgrounds. You’ll need to know how to put up a tent before hand, and don’t forget you’ll be making a toasty fire every night. Pack meats, fruit, trail mix, orange juice, bread, condiments, foil and bring a cooler for the beer. Bring insect repellent, sunscreen and if you run out of clothes there’s a washer and dryer on site. Carry a gallon of water everywhere you go, snap the occasional photo, and consider hiking a small mountain at 11pm for an unforgettable lift to the stars. Big Bend gives you everything you need to live delightful moments, it’s all too easy and underappreciated so take advantage of this secret escape.
Photo credit: AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker via Visualhunt
Remember to take a vacation every once in a while, you owe it to yourself. An alternative to the same old over priced hotel in some over populated and over polluted city, is a park full of life waiting to meet you with open arms. At Big Bend you pay an entrance fee, campsite fee, sweat and tears. Big Bend National Park is a gem that might go through some changes so enjoy it while it’s still there wide open, welcoming and full of character as it is. Be careful running into a mountain lion or a bear, as dangerous as some may be there’s plenty of ways to stay safe, they’re not all hangry. Your next chapter starts somewhere in the eight hundred thousand acres of pure stillness that is called Big Bend National Park or to others, Mexico.
Photo credit: turcottes78 via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND
Jasmine Palacios is a performer/writer born in Dallas, TX. She studied at the Austin School of film, Institution Theater and Coldtowne Conservatory. With upcoming projects in Los Angeles, New York and Dallas, she's based herself in Austin, TX, pursuing all that is entertainment. Some of her biggest influences include Jim Carrey, Black Sabbath, and Paul Thomas Anderson!