(Photo by Kevin Vandivier)

The Texas Big Bend country creates fantasy, illusion, mystery. Wide-open spaces, fabulous light, and the wild creatures and eccentric characters that typify the region suggest that a trip into the untamed Chihuahuan Desert can be not only fascinating, but also transformative. Its allure appeals to artists and seekers of every stripe. But there’s more than one trip will allow. So we asked two writers to share their experiences.

E. Dan “Wolfman” Klepper seeks the high remote country of Big Bend Ranch State Park to get closer to nature’s mysteries—both celestial and earthbound. He explores some of the park’s improved trails and describes opportunities to enjoy the endless skies and open country.

Meanwhile, Barbara Rodriguez—who originally tagged Klepper with the name Wolfman—decided to share the Big Bend experience with her 10-year-old son, Elliott. The art galleries of Marfa can be challenging, but with a youngster along, it suddenly becomes easier to enjoy a new experience of art. And the same is true with the Nature Conservancy trail through Madera Canyon, not far from Fort Davis. Once inaccessible, the trail is now open for exploration. And, as Babs explains, it can be an adventurous day hike for a family outing—you won’t have to outfit for a major expedition. It’s the perfect means to get thunderstruck—and starry-eyed. —C.L.

The June 2024 cover of Texas Highways: Treasures from the Coast

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