At 5:30 in the afternoon we met at the workshop in downtown Thomasville. Chandler's Ford Escape was packed full of camping gear and product. We left Georgia shortly before six to chase down the sunset. We were headed to Texas.
Chandler had the first shift. He drove deep into Louisiana before passing the reigns over to Ben for the graveyard shift. Ben and I had never been to Texas before, and according to Chandler, it was about to rock our worlds. Onward towards Southwest texas we rode.
I woke up in the middle of Houston's rush hour. We were all griping about how much we hated traffic and how hungry we were. So as soon as we passed through Houston, it was my turn to drive. I got the leg of the trip that drove straight through the desert into Big Bend. Boy was I excited.
The deeper into the desert you get the more it just looks like a completely different planet. There were giant wind farms, hundreds of ranches, and not too many more people out here. About 8 hours into my shift I was pretty ready to be there. Since the auxiliary cable was being faulty and there were no radio stations, I drove in silence while the other two slept.
Big Bend is BIG, y'all. I mean, we had all heard about the size but I'm talking it took us 45 minutes to get from the gate of the park to the visitor center. We settled into the Chisos Basin camp ground and decided to go for a quick hike down The Window Trail. It didn't disappoint.
The end of the trail was a flood plain where it seems like water from the entire valley funneled through and gushed out the side of the mountain. The rocks were slick and we were afraid to get any closer than this, but the view was incredible.
After driving around 23 hours and doing a 5 mile hike, we were ready to get some dinner and go to SLEEP, but not before Chandler took some crazy pictures of the night sky. Did you know Big Bend has the darkest skies in the continental US? I believe them now.
The next morning included copious amounts of coffee and instant breakfast food on the camp stove as we prepared for our hike up Lost Mine Trail. This is one of the top rated hikes in the park. Its not too long but it does have a 2000 foot elevation change so I definitely got winded.
This is looking out over the Chisos Mountains with a clear view of Casa Grande. You could see clear down into Mexico and where the mountains continued far past the border. We caught a few glimpses of some falcons to top it off.
We went down to the hot springs to snag a few cool photos for Woolwich (they hooked us up with a lot of gear and also did a great blog post about this trip written by Chandler) but it was PACKED with people. We were pretty disappointed. The bright side was this side of the park looked way different. White cliffs and greenery lined the Rio Grande river making for an oasis in the middle of the desert.
Since we only had one full day in the park we packed it full of the best spots we could think of. We finished off the day going to Boquillas Canyon for a sunset photoshoot. It included a picnic with chips and salsa, wading in the Rio Grande, and one of the most memorable sunsets I will ever have.
It was near dark by the time we got back to the campsite, and the ingredients for the most satisfying quesadilla ever made were calling our names from the bear box. We closed our day in Big Bend with great food, stories, and plenty of laughs.
Sunrise at Santa Elena Canyon was on the agenda for the final morning. Which of course meant packing up our whole camp at 5am. With everything packed up and a Clif bar in hand we headed to the pentacle of Big Bend.
Well we all found out that Chandler may or may not make a pretty great race car driver, because me and Ben we both pretty shook up after that ride. We sorta made it in time. Chandler got some really sweet pictures from a distance and we got there when everything was lighting up.
Santa Elena was beautiful. Its so big that it takes several glances to take in even a part of it. With it being the most popular destination of the park a crowd was coming in. It was time to leave.
We cranked Hot Fuss by The Killers, refilled our waters, and hit the dusty trail back east. This trip was so good. We came here to do a lot of promotional photography which we did, but we also got a healthy dose of adventure with that. Our motto is "Rekindling American Craftsmanship" and we really love to dig our heels in to what that means. I think with this trip we also rekindled the American spirit in all of us. Go enjoy your country.
Chandler does a ton of our photography for our brand. He came up with this trip and pitched the idea to us and it was too good to pass up. I wanted to thank him for coming up with such a great itinerary and plan for what we were going to do. He will take some great photos for you if you're interested! Check out more of his work at chandlerbondurant.com and tell him he's cute. I also wanted to thank Ben for closing down the shop for 4 days so we could go get stinky in the desert. Coolest boss ever, folks. Thanks to anyone who gave us gear for the trip, called us to check in, or supported us in any way. Sturdy Brothers is EXTREMELY thankful for all the fine people out there giving us love and support. Until next time. Take care, and carry well. -Brandon