As I drove into Big Bend, the temperature gauge on my car read 92°. I expected oppressive heat that would cause perspiration to drip down my face within minutes. Tentatively, I opened the door to my Civic and felt a gentle breeze. Not too bad. I grabbed my day pack and set out to explore some of the desert flora armed with a self-guided pamphlet.
Big Bend has a myriad of cacti and desert succulents that are specially designed to withstand heat and lack of
water. They’re resilient and can be ridiculously beautiful, especially when in bloom. I marveled at the variety; the desert may sometimes get a bad rap as a desolate place, but everywhere I walked, I saw life.
Returning to my car, I realized that I wasn’t feeling the heat like I thought I would. It made exploring the outdoors on a searing day much more doable than some places in the Southeast I visited (here’s looking at you, Congaree).
Though it contains acres and acres of desert, Big Bend is also known for it’s iconic river, the Rio Grande, that forged a canyon many years ago. This river forms the border between Mexico and America. It also was a perfect place to find some shade during the heat of the day. Looking over my shoulder as I headed downstream, the scene looked like something you’d see from Jurassic Park. Large mountains, riparian habitats, and an array of green. In fact, Big Bend is known as an paleontologist’s paradise, full of a rich fossil history.
By the late afternoon I finally began to sweat. I took a couple more moments to gaze at the beauty surrounding me.
It was time for an afternoon siesta.