Big Bend National Park boasts several distinctive and must-visit geological features, and the Window in the Chisos Basin is among the most iconic. The natural break in the rim serves as a picturesque frame for the distant desert landscape below. The Window can be seen from various parts of the basin, including the Chisos Mountain Lodge’s restaurant patio. However, a moderately difficult descent of less than 1,000 feet over a couple of miles of Oak Creek Canyon along the Window Trail provides the most spectacular view.
Rob Decker and his wife, marceia decker, arrived in Big Bend National Park in April 2017 with the goal to capture a single iconic photograph he could use as the centerpiece of a poster he was designing. Decker found plenty of options: He says he was taken aback by the craggy peaks of the Chisos Mountains and the remoteness of the desert. “While most national parks are somewhat out of the way, I was surprised at just how far Big Bend is from most anything, how vast it is, and the different opportunities for recreation it offers,” he says.
The couple explored Big Bend from Rio Grande Village and Panther Junction, to the Chisos Basin and Santa Elena Canyon, where Decker hiked to the banks of the Rio Grande. He then took off his shoes and waded into the river. “Even though it was spring, it was a hot day, and the cool water was a welcome relief,” he recalls. “As I sat on the rocks overlooking the Rio Grande, I thought about the Native Americans, ranchers, miners, and pioneers who at one time or another had called this place their home.”
Decker calls Longmont, Colorado, home. He was just 19 years old when he studied under legendary photographer Ansel Adams at Yosemite National Park, an experience that shapes his work to this day.
Decker is on a journey to visit, photograph, and create a poster for every national park in the United States. His endeavor, fittingly enough, is called The National Park Poster Project, with stylings that hark to the popular New Deal-era national park posters of the late 1930s and early 1940s. With each poster, he hopes to raise awareness of both the grandeur and the continued need to protect America’s natural treasures—and with 43 parks down, he only has 17 to go.
After four days in Big Bend, he left with a trove of images, including an epic shot of Santa Elena Canyon. It fit perfectly on his poster.
In our February issue, Senior Editor Matt Joyce shared 3 ways anyone can easily enjoy Big Bend National Park, even visitors who aren’t experienced outdoorsmen. These are some of our favorite photos from photographer Sean Fitzgerald that we didn’t have room for in the issue.
Chinese New Year traditions include releasing a wishing lantern into the air or casting it into the water to bring good luck or release worries. The latter is celebrated annually at the San Antonio River Walk, which holds its Confucius Wishing Lanterns event Feb. 9. The ceremony of floating gold-rimmed lanterns
Perched on a dusty ridge overlooking the Rio Grande, the tiny town of Langtry lies in the thick of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands, about 60 miles west of Del Rio. Langtry sprang up in 1882 as a railroad camp during the construction of the Southern Pacific line. Among the profiteers following the railroad was Roy Bean, a tent-saloon operator who became Langtry’s justice of the peace.
When F1 first announced it was coming to Austin, many were surprised. Since its first run in 2012, the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas has swiftly become one of the drivers’ favorite tracks on the calendar because the U.S. Grand Prix tests their technical driving abilities throughout, and it provides more opportunities to overtake—or pass—other cars than most other races throughout the world. This also makes Austin’s race one of the more entertaining races on the tour because—much like the Texas weather on display for the 2018 USGP—if you don’t like it, stick around and it’ll change.
Texas’ Historic County Courthouses shine with grandiosity and ambition. Often politically controversial because of their expense, courthouse projects in the 19th and early 20th centuries lasted years as counties selected architects and builders, quarried and imported materials, then painstakingly assembled the larger-than-life landmarks in the middle of town. It’s not hard to imagine a farmer stopping by a courthouse construction site to take in the scene, scratching his head at the columns, parapets, and towers rising from the prairie.
Find Lodging and Businesses in Port Aransas, Rockport-Fulton, and Aransas Pass That Have Re-Opened After Hurricane Harvey
Anticipation grows as you roll down the window and drive onto the Port Aransas ferry to cross the narrow channel to Mustang Island. Salty air invades the senses, and sunrays glint on the shifting waters where dolphins play. As you disembark into the heart of this historic fishing town, brown pelicans skim the water for dinner or perch on weathered piers. Fishing boats rock gently in the harbor, rigged for their work in nearby bays or the open ocean.
Along the Texas coast, telltale signs of past storms endure in the occasional skeletal remains of piers jutting into the Gulf and bays.
Until they are rebuilt, these structures on Key Allegro along Aransas Bay recall the impact of Hurricane Harvey, presenting a hauntingly beautiful scene in the wake of last August’s storm. Key Allegro—a resort community with residences, second homes, and rentals—is located on an approximately 200-acre island near the northernmost end of Broadway Street between Rockport and Fulton.
When You Just Can’t Take That Texas Heat Anymore, Take a Dip in This Private Oasis in the Texas Hill Country
Since the 1950s, the Krause family has operated this 115-acre paradise in the Texas Hill Country—added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 for its undisturbed Native American burial sites. Its 68-degree waters on Cypress Creek offer a cool respite from Texas summers.
Summer fun awaits at Daingerfield State Park, located a couple of miles southeast of the city of Daingerfield in Northeast Texas. The 507-acre park offers plenty of classic summer diversions from camping to swimming, fishing, hiking, dancing, canoeing, kayaking, and pedal boating.
Nestled among the trees in a beloved Austin green space along Shoal Creek, a playful contemporary art installation has infused new life into one of Texas’ oldest public parks.
Independence Creek Preserve
30o 28′ 28.86″ N
101o 47′ 137.30″ W
An overlook at The Nature Conservancy’s Independence Creek Preserve in Terrell County reveals an awe-inspiring view of the spring-fed creek and surrounding terrain—a convergence of arid desert mesas, woodlands, and prairie grasses.