Javelina at Dugout Wells
At Rio Grande Village we were extremely disappointed to find that most of the campground was closed because of recent flooding. So we were not going to be able to explore the birdiest site in the whole park!
Our disappointment was tempered a little by great views of a Vermilion Flycatcher, a bird that we'd only seen once before (at Anahuac NWR) and one of the species that we most wanted to see at Big Bend.
The disappointment that we felt at the closure of most of the Rio Grande Village campground vanished as we drove into the Chisos Mountains, where we were to spend the next three nights.
Approaching the Chisos Mountains
Whoever decided where to situate the resort certainly had an eye for locations. The buildings are clustered at about 5,400 feet in a basin surrounded by woods, cliffs and rocky peaks.
At one end of the Basin, a short trail leads to an overlook from where you can see the Window, a gap in the cliffs that lets you look through onto the desert below.
Through the Window
The Window trail was to provide us with lots of good birding over the next three days. A quick walk along it on this first afternoon yielded views of several birds, including Western Bluebirds, Canyon Towhees and Acorn Woodpeckers.
From our deck
The first of many deer we were to see in the park
The resort is very well-organized. The hotel rooms are comfortable, the cleaning service is excellent and the main lodge has a good, reasonably-priced restaurant with great views over the Basin. It has a nice gift shop and there is a small store and a visitor center nearby.
We reserved our room in July but you need to book accommodation much further in advance for peak periods, including Christmas and New Year. There are no TVs or phones in the rooms, and there is no cellphone service in the park.