Friday, December 28, 2012

Boquillas Canyon

There are 3 great canyons carved by the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park: Santa Elena on the west, Mariscal in the south central, and Boquillas in the east. Today, we visited Boquillas Canyon.

Boquillas Canyon is in the extreme east end of the park. Just across the river is the sun-washed Mexican village of Boquillas. The little village is located on a dusty, treeless bluff several hundred feet above the Rio Grande.

Boquillas, Mexico

Craftsmen from Boquillas cross the river daily with their wares, placing them at strategic locations on the American side of the border so that tourists will find -- and hopefully -- buy them. This practice is discouraged by American authorities, but it is almost impossible to stop.

Mexican trinkets placed on a rock on a bluff on the American side of the river.
The river is slow and lazy in this part of the park. It gently sweeps along a sandy delta, lined by low growing shrubs and trees. It then turns and begins carving a narrow canyon in the Sierra del Carmen mountains.

Angled slit where the river enters the canyon. Parking area for trail is at left at base of hill. Trail leads from there over a small bluff and into the canyon.
There is a parking area with primitive restroom at the end of the road. A .7 mile trail leads up and over a small bluff and down into the mouth of the canyon.

Donna on the trail leading up from the parking lot. Top of bluff is in background behind Donna's right shoulder. River is in center turning for flow into the canyon.
As the trail descends the bluff, it leads into a rock-strewn delta with patches of grass. We encountered several Mexican merchants here. One was on our side of the river, while two others were on the Mexican side. One was offering to sing for a price. As we were descending the trail, I heard him singing, and his strong voice was echoing off the canyon walls.

River in lower right as it heads into the canyon

Vertical walls of Boquillas Canyon

Signs along the road warned of recent thefts from parked vehicles. However, we felt that with the large number of visitors, things were safe. I was a bit hesitant approaching the area where the Mexican merchants were on the river, but other tourists were in the area, so we felt safe. However, I would not venture into these canyons if the parking lot was empty.

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