Big Bend in the Snow

Nugent Mountain with snow, Big Bend National Park, Texas

Nugent Mountain with snow, Big Bend National Park, Texas. ~ Photo by Jeff Parker; copyright 2013.

Big Bend National Park is one of my favorite places. When I heard there was a snow storm forecast for west Texas, I started making plans for a quick trip out to photograph Big Bend in the snow. Since that doesn’t happen often there, I had never had the opportunity to experience this phenomenon.

Six hours later, as I’m approaching Ft. Stockton in the dark, I start to see the snow piled on the sides of IH-10. After feeling a bit of slip crossing an overpass, I reduced speed to 30mph. Good thing I did. The next overpass started my 4-Runner into a slide. Luckily, the ice patch didn’t last long and the truck straightened out on the other side. Time to stop for the night.

Waking at 4:15 AM in the Stripes truckstop parking lot, I stumble in to prepare for the morning. I immediately spy vats of steaming eggs with sausage, eggs and chorizo. Yay! Fresh breakfast tacos! Alas, I’m informed they don’t serve until 5:30…45 minutes from now. I guess they need to age the food a bit to get the correct truckstop flavor.

Onto Big Bend.

Big Bend winter scene with Casa Grande Peak, Texas

Big Bend winter scene ~ Casa Grande Peak, Texas. ~ Copyright 2013, Jeff Parker.

Daybreak finds me in the desert east of Panther Junction, capturing images of Nugent Mountain and the Chisos Mountains with snow on them. The desert is quiet, cold, and beautiful. After a couple of hours capturing different foregrounds and light, it’s time to head up into the Chisos for some real snow scenes. The Lost Mine Trail parking pullout is surprisingly busy, but the beauty of the morning incredible. I enjoy having wild places to myself, but it was good to see others out witnessing this uncommon scene, too.

Being a south-Texas boy, snow is exciting to me. I know those of you to the north may not share my enthusiasm. Anyway, the novelty and beauty of this place I’m so familiar with all sparkly and white was really something. The long drive and early wake-up were totally worth it. By afternoon the event was mostly over. As I was hiking back to the truck the stars started to appear over the Chisos. Tired and cold as I was, I couldn’t resist making a few more images before calling it a day.

Orion through the Window, Chisos Mountains, Big Bend National Park, Texas

Orion through the Window, Chisos Mountains; Big Bend National Park, Texas; ~ Copyright 2013, Jeff Parker.