March 9, 2012

Is That Snow, Or a Mirage?

I may have gone to bed last night with the wind as my most vivid memory from Big Bend National Park, but a new memory soon took its place this morning.  It was windy and cold last night, very cold, with temperatures in the upper 20s, and I was glad that we had enough propane to fire the furnace and keep us warm.  When I awoke this morning, I was puzzled that I did not see any sun peeping through the window shades.  I assumed it was just going to be a cloudy day.

Imagine my surprise when I got up and opened the curtain.  It was raining.  No, now it is snowing!  What!  Naw, that couldn’t be right!  Am I imagining things?  It doesn’t rain, let alone snow, in Big Bend.  We had been told yesterday that the park has had less than two inches of rain in over a year.  But, sure enough, it was snowing, and I was happy for any moisture the park might receive.

Rain, Snow and Fog Greeted Us
It was also bitterly cold.  The temperature had not climbed above freezing by 10:00 am, and the trees and bushes were coated with ice.  It was a magical sight, and one that most people seldom get the chance to see.  It was also very foggy, and we could barely make out the mountains just in front of us.

Icy Branches
A Winter Wonderland
We spoke to the college students who had camped next to us in tents.  What brave souls!  They had awakened to a coating of ice on their tents from the freezing fog.  Then, they had to thaw the fuel for their stove under the hand dryer in the restroom before they could make coffee.  I felt a bit guilty that we had simply turned on our generator to heat our water for coffee.  They had decided to leave a day early, and Tim and I started to think about what we might want to do.

I'm Glad We're Not in a Tent
My Sentiments Exactly!
A Dusting of Snow
On one hand, we had already paid for the campsite for this evening.  On the other, it was freezing and foggy, not the kind of weather that lends itself to hiking.  Did we really want to spend the day sitting inside the RV, watching our propane gauge fall toward “empty”?

When we found out that the steep road down the mountain had been sanded and was safe to drive, we decided to call it quits and head toward Rio Grande Village. 

Descending the Mountain
We're Almost Down
The fog cleared as we made our descent, but it was gray and cold in the desert.  Although the wind was still unpleasant, we were able to get out for a short walk and stretch our legs.  We arrived at Rio Grande Village where we wimped out and paid for an RV campsite with full hookups.  It’s not what we had planned, but we’re warm here, and we’re not afraid of running out of propane.

Colorful Clays Along the Banks of Tornillo Creek
Tornillo Creek Is Dry Now
A Tunnel in the Limestone Cliff
Tunnel View
Prickly Pear Are Everywhere
Rio Grande Village Overlook
We’re still sitting inside the RV in this campground, although we have gone out from time to time with Kitty to get some fresh, although chilly, air.  There is even Wi-Fi at the camp store, and I walked over there to post this little adventure, as well as last night’s, to the blog.  Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi was not cooperating, and no one could connect.  Maybe tomorrow.

This May Not Be the Most Natural Campground, but We're Happy
The Acacia Trees Are Blooming
Tim took a nap this afternoon, and we relaxed for the rest of the day.  We bought books to keep us entertained this evening.  I will look back on today as quite the memorable adventure.

Afternoon Light on the Limestone Cliffs


  1. Adventure is right!! Enjoyed all the pics tho. Hope the weather is improving. It's going to be 65 and sunny here today. Happy DST! Remember to turn your clocks forward. LV

    1. LV, We do love adventure! Enjoy your warm and sunny weather. And, yes, my mind remembered DST, just not my body. I do love the longer evenings, however. Sarah

  2. What a beautiful site ..the Limestone Cliffs!!! Amazing... AG

    1. AG, Yes, it is an amazing place. The colors are gorgeous in the late afternoon light. Sarah