Big Bend

Location:

On the edge of Big Bend National Park, west Texas in Presidio and Brewster Counties between Presidio and Lajitas, Texas in the northern Chihuahuan Desert.

History:

Pre-1535 saw the Chisos, Jumano, Mescalero Apache and Comanches here. Spaniard Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and Franciscan missionaries came through too. Following the Mexican-American War, forts and outposts were established across trans-Pecos Texas to protect migrating settlers from Indians.  Around 1880 ranchers began to migrate in and by 1900 they occupied majority of the landscape. The delicate environment was soon overgrazed. In 1910 the Mexican Revolution broke and for more than 10 years Big Bend became a danger zone. There were raids, pitched battles and massacres on both sides of the Rio Grande. Due to strained relations the United States and Mexico almost went to war. Pancho Villa and General Pershing were major players in that chapter of the areas history. In 1935 it was granted National Park status.

Ride:

This horseback riding adventure is based in Big Bend, Texas one of the most remote and least-visited national parks in the lower 48 United States. Its primary attraction is hiking and backpacking trails. It is famous for its natural resources and spectacular geology. The largest state park in Texas, over 300,000 acres of Chihuahuan Desert wilderness in a remarkably rugged, remote and unpopulated setting. It extends along the Rio Grande from southeast of Presidio to near Lajitas in both Brewster and Presidio Counties and is a contrast of three habitats, river, desert and mountain.

Elevations range from 2,350 feet along the Rio Grande to over 5,000 feet at Oso Mountain and Fresno Peak. Climate is typical of a high desert setting with hot summers, mild winters and low annual precipitation. Mixed desert scrub characterized by an abundance of creosote, ocotillo, cacti and lechuguilla, a Chihuahuan Desert indicator species prevails with desert grassland and open juniper woodland, occurring in only the highest elevations. It also offers some of the most interesting archeology and history in the region. Many Archaic pictographs prevail – human, animal, insect, tally marks, double zigzags, hourglass chains, star patterns and various other abstract motifs. Other pictographs represented by human figures on horses, longhorn cattle, Spanish saddles and crosses date to the Protohistoric (ca. A.D. 1535-1700) period.

Big Bend in its entirety is home to more than 1,200 species of plants (approximately 60 cacti), 11 species of amphibians, 56 species of reptiles, 40 species of fish, 75 species of mammals, 450 species of birds and about 3,600 species of insects. It boasts more types of birds, bats and cacti than any other national park in the United States. If you are very lucky you may see mountain lion, black bear, mule deer, javelina and plenty of snakes. Eyes peeled and remember, everything IS bigger in Texas!

Details:

Accommodation: tents/bivoucs;  Duration: tailored; Group size: 4-8; Departures: March-April & September-October; Cost: £ POA