Destination: West Texas and Eastern New Mexico

Steven Depolo, Flickr

We’ve been chasing the dream of visiting all the US national parks for almost thirty years, and after this March we’ll have visited 48 of the 59 — only 11 parks to go! To visit parks 46, 47, and 48, we’re taking a spring break trip to Guadalupe Mountains, Carlsbad Caverns, and Big Bend National Parks.


Look at all that SUN in the forecast!

We’ve never traveled in this part of the country, and we’re excited to explore it! We expect to see spectacular scenery, interesting rock and cave formations, lots of wide open spaces, perhaps some bluebonnets, and just maybe some new bird species to add to our life list (currently at 580 species).

We definitely expect to see some sunshine, which we desperately need after this wet, wet Oregon winter. According to NOAA, “precipitation for the 2017 water year thus far (Oct 1, 2016 through Feb 28, 2017) ranges from 110 to 160 percent of average in Oregon.”

Some sunshine will really hit the spot!


Lonely Planet Big Bend/West Texas PDF

If you’ll be heading to a national park this year, we recommend the “Plan Your Trip” section of each park’s website as a great place to begin planning. It’s where we always begin our plans. We also use the park’s brochures, which they will send you for free if you request them.  These are available to view online, but we’re a little bit old fashioned and prefer the portability of the real thing. We also recommend getting a good guidebook. In planning for this trip, Jeff discovered that you can buy a PDF of some chapters of the Lonely Planet books online. He bought just the Big Bend/West Texas section from the Lonely Planet Texas book. We used to buy books and just tear out the sections we wanted to take with us, but this is even better!

We have reservations for a couple of things that we want to be sure we do, including the King’s Palace cave tour at Carlsbad Caverns, a night photo workshop at Big Bend, and a morning with a birding guide at Big Bend as well. We’re also hoping to eat lunch in the Carlsbad Caverns underground cafeteria, just for the novelty of it all. Otherwise, we have some general plans, but we’re going to see what we find when we get there, talk to some rangers, and make more plans as we go. We hope to see and do a lot in each park, but we’ll also plan some time to sit a bit. It’s going to be a great week, and we’re sure to have some great stories to tell you when we return!

Wherever you are this spring, whether you’re on break or not, we hope you have some fun adventures, whether they’re for a week or a weekend!

Billiard ball photo: Steven Depolo, 11 Billiard Balls Carpet Pool 8-6-09 4, Flickr.


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