Continuing on U.S. 90 from Seminole Canyon, there really isn't much along the way. Basically, 140 miles of nothingness. Well, not really nothing. I'm not sure I'd call it beautiful, but it was an interesting drive. And a bit eerie at times. So different from what I'm used to. There wasn't a lot of traffic either and the cell phone couldn't get a signal and I kept wondering how long it would be before someone came along if I broke down.
It wasn't totally nothing. The town of Langtry has a museum honoring Judge Roy Bean. But I didn't stop, the town looked so forlorn and desolate, with only a few cars around. Then there was Dryden, and Sanderson and finally, Marathon. Turning south on U.S. 385 at Marathon and driving another 40 miles through the high desert gets you to the northern entrance of Big Bend National Park. And then, another 30 miles to the Park Headquarters and Visitors Center in the middle of the park at Panther Junction!
Of the half dozen other campers that I'd talked with at Seminole Canyon, all of them were on their way to Big Bend National Park! And they had heard that there were no camping sites available, and yet they still came, as did I. The truth of the matter is that there are a certain number of sites that are reserved and others are first come, first served. There were no more reserved sites available but there were plenty of other sites, so it was no problem.
There are three main camping areas at Big Bend. The Chisos Basin in the center of the park (and in the middle of the Chisos Mountains), Rio Grande Village on the east, and Cottonwood in the south. My first choice was the Chisos Basin, since it was closest and it was early evening. I'd end up spending five nights at Chisos. It's an amazing place. Actually, all of Big Bend is incredible. There are so many trails to hike and so many “things” to see it is impossible to do everything.
My camp site at Chisos Basin. The “little hill” in the background is called Casa Grande and it dominates the southern view from the basin.
Shadows chasing the sun up Casa Grande Peak on my first evening at Big Bend, February 20th.