During spring break, two of my friends and two of our dogs and I took a road trip to Big Bend National Park. None of us had ever been and figured it would be a fun experience to drive there and camp for two days. Camping at the park is primitive, which we knew before hand but were not nearly prepared for.
We woke up at 4 am on Monday morning to start our adventure. Once our car was packed to the brim and three girls and two dogs were stuffed into one car we were off. We planned that it would take us about 8ish hours to get there, 8ish hours quickly turned into about 13. If you haven’t done the drive to Big Bend then you should know that you only have phone service less than 1/3 of the time which made using our phones for directions there a little difficult. After endless snacking, countless bathroom breaks, one speeding ticket and a whole lotta laughs we finally arrived to the park.
We thought that the drive to the park was going to be the hardest part, and boy were we wrong. What we did not know was once you get to the entrance of the park, depending on what camping site you chose you have at least an hour drive into the park. The park ranger that checked us in told us we had a 2 hour drive to our camp site. Before entering the park you have very little phone service but once in the park your phone is useless. The roads in the park were made of loose gravel and plants with a speed limit of 20 which made driving extremely tedious. After being given a paper map and getting brief directions from the park ranger we took off on our trek. Luckily I was with two girls that semi knew how to read a paper map because I’ve always relied on my phone for directions and had no clue how to read the map we were given. The first hour we did fine because all we had to do was drive straight, but once we had to start making turns and going down smaller roads was when things started getting a bit confusing. We turned down the wrong roads twice but eventually made it to what we thought was our campsite.
When pulling up to our campsite we noticed another group of people’s tent and things already set up. Each campsite is made for one group and are spread out miles from each other, so we knew something wasn’t right but after the long day we had and the fact that the sun was abut to go down we decided to set up camp there anyways. We figured we would just talk to the group of people when they got there and figure out why we both got sent to the same campsite. After unpacking all of our things we went on a short hike, the scenery that surrounded us made all the difficulties we had experienced worth it.
The next day we woke up as the sun was coming up and let me tell you, it was one of the most serene moments I’ve ever experienced getting to sit with a nice cup of coffee watching the sun rise in such a beautiful place. What was not so serene was the sleeping situation, we did not expect it to be so cold there. Each of us had one sleeping bad and a small throw which was definitely not enough. Luckily for me I had my dog sharing my sleeping bag with me that kept me warmer. Since our sleeping situation was so miserable and our lack of food and water due to our poor planning skills we decided to hike for a couple of hours and then pack up and drive home.
Despite all the negative things that happened to us, I am glad we decided to go. If you take anything from this story, it should be to always spend a little extra time planning.