12. Terlingua, Texas and Big Bend National Park

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From Marfa, we took the scenic route to Big Bend National Park, which took us past Terlingua, a ghost town in the middle of the desert. I’m not even going to try to post pictures, since they won’t compare to these ones my college roommate took last year for Edible Austin. Pressed for time, we didn’t do any of the Trading Company porch-sitting or beer-drinking she described, instead pressing onward into the park.

That’s because driving in Big Bend is slow going. Like, much slower than I could have imagined. We drove for more than an hour on a narrow dirt road just to reach Santa Elana Canyon, which was only 22 miles away; the rocky topography made it one of those, “further than it looks” types of drives. Unable to go faster and surrounded by the vast desert, it was a chilling ride–especially on the way back, as we raced to make it out before darkness fell.

First, though, we got to experience the flowing water, desert life forms and barreling echo of Santa Elana, pictured below.

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We reached the paved road just in time to leave a beautiful sunset behind us.

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Not pictured: Us, shortly after, getting stopped by border patrol, who insisted on spending an hour unpacking an entire Camry stuffed with all of Jake’s earthly possessions. In the spirit, though, here’s one of Mexico and the old Rio Grande!

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