For our Day 8 assignment in Photography 101 about “The Natural World”, I chose to highlight photos of the Rio Grande, Spanish for “Big River”, that forms the border between Mexico and Texas in the United States. Its one of the longest river systems in North America originating in the San Juan Mountains of south central Colorado just east of the Continental Divide and flowing down to the Gulf of Mexico.
These were taken in February with my iPhone 5 while playing golf at Black Jack’s Crossing in the Lajitas Golf Resort during our visit to Big Bend National Park in far west Texas. The scenery was so stark, yet beautiful. I couldn’t help taking shots from different perspectives, and include those with the Rio Grande in this slideshow.
It’s amazing such a narrow river borders our two countries. On the other side of the river, you can see the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains in the Chihuahuan Desert of Mexico which border Texas at the Rio Grande. You can see how the Rio Grande twists and turns between the Mexican mountains and Texas golf course. I took the photos from different elevations and angles. Many of the tees are higher up where you have to shoot down to the fairway and green. Also as we drove our cart from one to another it kept showing up nearby. Of course, you can see the desert all around too which adds contrast.
This unique golf course along the Rio Grande was designed by Lanny Wadkins and opened in 2012; it has been named to many “best places to play” lists by GolfWeek, Texas Outside, and Dallas Morning News. It looks much more spectacular with color contrasts in the spring and fall when the greens and fairways are all deep green (which you see on their web site). However, even in the middle of winter it looked great and the weather was perfect then and not crowded at all. It must be very hot in the summer so that would not be a good time to visit.
This shows where Lajitas is located between Big Bend National Park on the right and Big Bend Ranch State Park on the left. It’s about an 8 hour drive west from Austin through Fredericksburg and Junction, then south from Fort Stockton and either Marathon or Alpine to get to the Big Bend area.
We stopped over in the Davis Mountains State Park in the Fort Davis area so we could attend a Star Party at the McDonald Observatory astronomy research unit of the University of Texas at Austin. We could look at constellations, planets, and celestial objects through their telescopes, where there are some of the darkest skies in the continental United States. It’s west of Fort Stockton and north of Marfa and Alpine.
The National Park Service has an interesting Big Bend in One Day video (about 6 minutes), which provides a nice overview of the park highlights. This might offer a preview of what to expect if you might want to visit, or even show those who can’t a glimpse of this area. They also have a photo gallery which highlight desert scenery and wildlife.
Nearby is the famous Terlingua ghost town, where they been having chili cook offs on the first weekend in November every year now for 48 years. In the mid-1880’s it became a big cinnabar mining area for mercury, but now it’s just a tourist destination.
We loved our trip to the Big Bend, and want to go back again. Great golf, unique scenery, its so quiet and remote, and there’s lots of great hiking and other things to do.