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Big Bend Ernst Tenaha and Marfa Lights


After a breakfast of pancakes and peppered bacon, we made our first foray into the National Park. The Chisos still had a lot of snow on them and there was ice on the road up to the ranger station. We picked up a few brochures, some postcards and listened to some Canadians describe their close encounter with a bear.


Our intended destination for the day was Ernst Tenaha located on Old Ore Road. First, though, we stopped at Dugout Wells. This has to be our favorite place in the Park. There is a windmill, cottonwoods whose leaves rustle in the wind sounding much like running water. It is a small oasis in the middle of the Chihuahua desert and used to have a school and two or three homes.


When we finally got to Old Ore Road, we unloaded the motorcycles and started down the road. The first bit was rather rough and all down hill, my least favorite thing to do on a bicycle on a smooth paved road. This was rocky and full of holes and washes. However, after a bit, I was able to negotiate and felt quite proud of myself. Unfortunately, Glen’s motorcycle kept dying on him. It got loaded up into the truck and we proceeded onward on the little Yamaha.


We left the Yamaha, our jackets, helmets and gloves at the trailhead. The trail is marked with small rock cairns and proceeds up a braided stream bed. After we got into the canyon, we were shaded from the sun.


It is hard to describe the Tenaha; it is a rocky pit filled with water. The rocks surrounding it are layered and the entire area seems surreal. Photos do not do it justice; it is truly something to be experienced personally.


We ate lunch around 3—yogurt and a small piece of chocolate. After driving to Rio Grande Village; we bought a National Park Passport two years ago and stamps are to be had at each park ranger station—naturally I have to have them all. Since it was relatively early, we thought it would be a good night to see the Marfa lights.


Anywhere in this part of Texas is a long way from anywhere else and it took over two hours to get to Marfa. It was dark and quite chilly by the time we got to the official viewing site. A few other cars were parked there and we all shivered together. The lights dipped and swayed and danced—Glen was sure they were car-lights or some rancher setting off fireworks just to tease people.


Supper was really late—Fritos and Pace Picante.


More photos of this wonderful place are at




One Comment Post a comment
  1. Nice post. I don’t believe that marfa lights can be seen but in my next vacation surely visit this place. Texas is a good place. Don’t miss the sun-soaked sands of the Bombay beach. For more details refer

    July 28, 2009

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