Howler Dispatch: 2017 Privateers West Texas and then some

Posted on June 27, 2017

The colors of the sky change from blue to a blend of orange, purple and pink hues, almost in the blink of an eye. We are standing on top of the South Rim of the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park. This scene, in all its glory, is where it sinks in and our summer Privateer journey really begins.

Rewind two days earlier at Howler HQ loading the van and making sure we have all the gear we need for a 10 week, twenty-thousand-mile road trip. After a long day in Austin and a late start we were finally on the road for the first leg of our trip. We were determined to take on West Texas and find some of the best places to share with the Howler Community.

Our first stop was Big Bend National Park, and after a 7 hour drive we were relieved to finally be in one of the greatest outdoor destinations in the Lone Star State. We took our time exploring the park before setting up camp in the Chisos Basin. We had heard from multiple sources that there had been several recent black bear sightings in the area and we were determined to see one for ourselves.

As we drove over the ridge to enter the Chisos Basin, our eyes darted to a black mass in the middle of the road. Sure enough it was a black bear. The first one we have ever seen in the state of Texas. It began to walk down the road towards our van, and then in a split second it disappeared into the dense brush surround the road.

After our excitement settled, we continued to the campground where we got our first taste of Howler stardom. Before we had even finished dinner we were approached by almost everyone in the campground due to the head turning van we were driving.

The night was filled with stories of outdoor enthusiasts’ travels, tips on places we should visit, and several ice-cold beverages. The next morning we geared up and headed into the backcountry. A moderately difficult hike in the Texas summer was well worth the views from atop the Chisos mountains and the vast emptiness the backcountry provides. It was at the top of those mountains that we truly realized how great this summer was going to be.

Leaving Big Bend wasn’t easy, but it was only the beginning of our travels and we had so much more to explore. From there we traveled North to the Davis Mountains where we were greeted by yet another beautiful West Texas sunset. The next morning we woke up and paid a visit to a Texan oasis called Balmorhea. It was truly refreshing jumping into the cool, crisp water of the natural spring after several nights of camping.

Once we cooled off at the springs we headed onward to continue our journey into New Mexico. Good to get out and have a little fun in the giant sand box known as the White Sands National Monument. Can't beat the sunset/sunrise, and sliding down the dunes with whatever you can make work.

We were thankful for the great conversations, beautiful views, refreshing start, and excited to see what new experiences lay ahead of us.