Texas River Music Detailed Itinerary:
Weather and water conditions in Big Bend and on the Rio Grande are unpredictable. The following itinerary is logistically the simplest and offers an incredible trip. Changing water levels and weather conditions sometimes dictate a change of river section to take advantage of the best possible conditions for our Texas River Music trip.
Day One: Meet at 8:00 am in Terlingua, Texas. Though now quite populated, we still call it The Ghost Town. There are several accommodations close by, from medio moderno artistic to glamping tipis, to simple road side hotel, and everything between. Lots of Airbnb options. Camping is available near-by. If you get into town before dark, stop by base camp and pick up a dry bag the afternoon before the trips starts.
After everyone is checked in on day 1, we drive our vans 12 miles to Lajitas, a resort town and historic crossing on the Rio Grande. The guides will have rigged the rafts, and will secure guest’s dry bags while the trip leader gives an orientation/safety talk. The rafts are powered by a guide/boat operator with two long oars. Four to five guests will go on a raft along with the guide. Some rafts will have a half load of gear in the back and 2-3 guests up front.
After every thing is squared away, we board and launch. NOTE : Getting on and off the boat is the riskiest part of any river trip. A mile downstream we enter Big Bend National Park. We travel 11 miles on the first day and pitch camp just above the entrance to Santa Elena Canyon. We plan to stay over at this excellent campsite both nights to have an easy morning on Day 2 after a night of great music, fine food, and good company.
Day Two: After a huge breakfast there will be an elective hike to the canyon rim followed by a refreshing dip in the Rio Grande. Some guest may choose to stay in camp with private time to lounge, read a book, take a swim. Last year at our 40th reunion, we had a music circle that lasted from 10 am until 11 pm. If you would like to bring an instrument, please let us know.
Day Three: Break camp, pack the rafts, shove off and are immediately enclosed by vertical limestone cliffs. The river picks up speed as we head downstream towards the Rockslide, the most significant rapid we encounter on the trip. How we navigate the rapid changes according to water level. What never changes is a maze of bus-sized boulders, stone labyrinth for almost 200 yards.
Downstream from “The Slide”, the canyon walls rise ever higher as the massive limestone block tilts upwards toward the East. A few miles below the Rockslide, we stop for lunch at Fern Canyon. We explore the shady depths of water smoothed limestone and fern shrouded springs. Fern Canyon is the most amazing place in the entire Big Bend Region.
From Fern we float a few miles to Canyon exit, awhere vertical cliffs loom 1500 feet over our heads. The river leaves the canyon as abruptly as it enters. We float another mile to our take-out point where we load up and return to base.