• Steven Cohen

23. Big Bend National Park, TX (EN)

Mis à jour : 27 mai 2020

Good morning dear friends, where to start? Above all, why Big Bend? You should know that this is a mandatory stop for all aspiring Vanlifers! As you know, our van seems to have some leaks, but these inconveniences are part of the journey, and with the big Bertha, we can be sure of arriving safely anywhere... At least for now! Quick recap on Big Bend, it's on the border between Texas and Mexico, which is one of the southern points of the United States.

But back to the road! To add some context to our situation, we are miles away from civilization. Right now, the things that surround us are huge mountains and plains, which stretch for hundreds of miles. Southwest Texas looks a bit like an American western cliché. Despite the beautiful landscape that surrounds us, we remain rookies and as it is sacred to honor traditions, guess who is again lost in the wild? Luckily, we met some nice Canadians who put us back on the right track, and we also took advantage of their sympathy to photograph their map of Big Bend #ThanksCanada.

We were surprised, but the area that Big Bend covers is large, very large, even too large! This national park offers a lot of hikes, from a few minutes to several hours, from expert to amateur level. Well, you know us, we preferred to choose the easiest hikes. But beware, easy does not mean safe! Legend has it that bears, snakes and lions watch and protect Big Bend. This seems to be true since dogs are prohibited on any of the trails...

We start our first day and go to visit the wonders of Big Bend! We see incredible canyons, several tens of meters deep, an endless stream which must travel for miles and monumental rocks that pierce the ground! Compared to the immensity of nature, our presence is totally insignificant. Our problems dissipate, the desires are forgotten, we see the reality, quite simply.

In addition, sharing this experience for two really makes the trip unforgettable, you could say that we did it! What's funny is that even miles away from civilization, people are welcoming and helpful. Maybe this place has mystical merits, but it seems to unite souls, to the point of building a tight-knit community between strangers.

At a turn, we see a huge wall! Impassable. Something to make President Trump dream about! This wall also serves as a natural border between Mexico and the United States, with a stream in the middle. Apparently customs are less strict in this area since you are allowed to pass on the other side for only ten dollars - this figure may vary depending on your negotiating skills. Once you have passed the river, another smuggler will take you on a burro (translation: donkey) to the nearest village. Of course, the return is included in the formula. This tourist attraction will give you a short day trip to Mexico, which will add another experience to your Vanlife!

Despite the temptation, we decide to stay in the country and continue our journey. However, the final section of the road, which is supposed to take us back to the campsite, presents a more complicated route for the big Bertha. To avoid ending up with a completely destroyed means of transportation on arrival, we prefer to turn back and take a quieter route for Dov's delight.

In general, the detours by car represents a real pain, but Big Bend is so beautiful to see that it will allow us to discover other landscapes. On the other hand, the road is a long slalom, with some climbs which could put your van at a standstill. But as we always say: "Patience is the mother of all virtues". Therefore, we decide to play it cool and reach the campsite safe and sound, with a few shakes at times.

Blog dedicated to Wanguy, Rodolphe, Sacha and Yannick Versavel.

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Steven est né au cap de Bonne-Espérance en Afrique du Sud. Cette étape n’est que la première d’un long en voyage. Après une jeunesse passée...


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