Balanced Rock at Big Bend

Neither of us slept well last night for a couple of reasons. We were beyond tired plus our legs bothered us all night. I think we did too much yesterday. I finally got up a little after 12:30, took another Aleve and moved to the sofa. That way I could sleep on my back with my legs stretched out. I finally managed to sleep until a little after 7:00. Think we will have an easier day today.

We started out a little earlier this morning on our way to the Rio Grande Village with a stop at Grapevine Hills Trail for a look at the Balanced Rock. Before we left Jerry spoke briefly with the camp host who is from Alberta, Canada. She said this was her third year wintering here as she like the warmer weather (Brrr, not too warm to us us I guess compared to Alberta, it is warmer) and the peace and quiet. BJ’s is a small park with few amenities but it does have good Wi-Fi so when we have the energy we can update the blog.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe left on our way to Grapevine Hills trail and suddenly realized that there were several cars stopped in the highway. There was a coyote in the road and he was thoroughly unconcerned with the traffic. One lady got out of the car to take a picture and when she opened her door he turned to walk away and I thought he’d leave but he didn’t. We were able to get several good shots of him. He is the only animal other than birds that we have seen. I questioned Jerry as to whether the cold January weather made any difference in the sightings. We ended up seeing probably the same coyote three times which led us to believe that he has been habituated.

We turned on a very rocky six mile road to Grapevine Hills / Balanced Rock trail. It’s six miles long and Jerry was riding along with his foot not even touching the gas pedal. At this rate it would take a while! In fact, it probably took about 45 minutes to go the 6 miles to the parking lot to get to the trail for the Balanced Rock. Along the way we met a van with a lady driver plus a B+ Motor Home so I knew we could make it in our little car.

The trail starts off very easy. It’s a sandy walkway well marked. The grandeur of the surrounding rocks is indescribable and the formation is astonishing. One rock may look like a boot lying on its side. Another may resemble a turtle.

img_3259The last ¼ mile is quite different as it is a rock climbing adventure. Jerry said there might be some jackasses in the Walton family but as far as he knew there were no mountain goats and that would have come in handy during that climb. It was well worth it though. We snapped some pictures and then some more people came up so we were able to get a picture of the two of us under the Balanced Rock.

We started the trek back down and I even scooted on my behind at one time. Thank goodness for our walking sticks as I’m not sure we could safely have made it to the top.

Perhaps a Yucca
Perhaps a Yucca
After we got back down to the “easy” trail Jerry suddenly exclaimed look at the cactus except I don’t think it’s a cactus, maybe a yucca plant. It was blooming. We had walked right by it on the way up and didn’t notice it. It was the only one we saw and as we met the various folks on the trail we told them about it so they’d be sure to see it.

Back to the car and we decided that we’d have lunch at a picnic area Jerry had seen on the way in however we eventually changed our minds and ate in the car as we slowly drove along. It was a slow ride.

Our next stop was the Visitor’s Center at Rio Grande and then a quick trip into Rio Grande Village which as it turned out consists of a small store, a campground and a laundry. We then decided to go the the Hot Springs. The hike was 3 miles round trip and Jerry and I both knew we were too tired to do that so we stopped by the Visitor’s Center again and found that we could drive within ¼ mile of the springs so that’s what we did.

Ah, our tired aching feet
Ah, our tired aching feet
I will say that putting my tired feet in that 105 degree water felt wonderful although it appeared to be very muddy. Maybe it was a hot springs with a mud bath! I only wish I could have immersed my aching legs!

Next stop was Panther’s Junction visitor’s Center to get some postcards to send to each of the grands. Since it was nearing 5:00 we headed on to “the house” and decided we mail the cards tomorrow. Although I had planned to cook tonight we decided sandwiches would be the fare for the night. We also discussed slowing down a bit. We have been going full steam ahead and we have to slow down a bit so tomorrow may be a slower day. We talked about a short hike in the morning, return to the campground for rest and watching the sunset at Santa Elena if weather permits.

When we got to Terlingua we stopped at Cottonwood Market to buy some bread, mayo, etc. and then went on to the campground where I collapsed on the bed for a while. Pure exhaustion but a good exhaustion. We ended up taking chili out of the freezer for dinner. Afterward I spent some time downloading pictures and then turned in.


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