Outer Mountain Loop

A Big Bend Backup

January 15, 2019 | By Justine Harrington

A few weeks ago, my husband, Alex, and I were preparing to backpack the Outer Mountain Loop in Big Bend National Park—a rugged 30-mile trail that crosses the Chisos Mountains and dips into the Chihuahuan Desert—when, only three days before our departure to West Texas, the federal government shut down, meaning no backcountry permits were unavailable. We were forced to come up with a new plan for our Christmas break.

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