Texas Firsts – Part 4



Yes, I still could not believe I was in Texas. And yes, the first ever lockdown started when I was there. And yes, nobody could have imagined what that meant. With all the news on shelter-in-place, restricted movement and businesses partially closed. But we were in Texas, where you can travel for miles and avoid crowds. Parks and open spaces here we come. 

But before I take you on the most exciting, never-expected-to-experience and totally magnificent journey, this was all of us on March 12, 2020

Camera have captured Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s shocked reaction to finding out the NBA 2019-20 season had been suspended due to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The Mavericks were in the middle of their game with the Denver Nuggets when Cuban checked his phone and saw the breaking news.

“This is crazy. This can’t be true. … It seemed more like out of a movie than reality.”

“I was stunned,” Cuban told TODAY as he looked back on that night. “I literally was stunned. I still remember the exact seat, the exact spot where I was.”

And we had tickets for the game Maverics vs. Houston – cancelled/postponed! We just could not believe it. I thought they would change their minds!

Sadly, Cuban’s reaction, which went viral on social media, was part of a cascading effect that made March 11, 2020, feel like the official day the pandemic began in America.

In Texas, though, Gov. Greg Abbott did not order all Texans to shelter in place, noting that there are still many counties in the state without confirmed cases and that he wants to see the full impact of an executive order. Texas’ order does not shutter most businesses — except for gyms and massage parlors — and domestic travel is still unrestricted. Texans can still visit places like grocery stores, banks, parks and more.”

Hence, we are on the road to Big Bend National Park, which I know nothing about apart from what my friend had told me and boy was I surprised! 

Some facts first:

  • Location: Texas
  • Acreage:  801,163 acres
  • Visitation: 581,000 visitors in 2021
  • Highest Elevation: 7,825 feet at Emory Peak
  • Lowest Elevation: 1,715 feet at the Rio Grande River
  • Average annual precipitation: 13.78 inches
  • When Did It Become A National Park? The State of Texas delivered the deed to the Federal Government in September, 1943 and Big Bend National Park was officially established as America’s 27th national park on June 12, 1944

Big Bend National Park is a national park located in the U.S. state of Texas, along the border with Mexico. The park covers an area of more than 800,000 acres and is known for its rugged terrain, stunning views, and diverse plant and animal life.

Big Bend National Park is home to a variety of plant and animal life, including over 1,200 species of plants and over 450 species of birds. The park is also home to a number of threatened and endangered species, including the ocelot, jaguarundi, and black-capped vireo.

In addition to its natural beauty, Big Bend National Park offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, camping, rock climbing, and river rafting. The park also has a number of educational programs and events, including ranger-led hikes and talks, as well as programs for children.

Big Bend National Park is a beautiful and unique destination that offers visitors the opportunity to experience the rugged beauty of the southwestern United States and learn about the history and ecology of the region.

Mule Ears

‘A-cowboy-taking-a-break mountain’ – this is my name for it. Can you see him? 

Contrabando Mountain is located three miles northwest of Lajitas on the Brewster-Presidio county line; its summit is in southeastern Presidio County. With an elevation of 3,214 feet above sea level, it rises some 560 feet above Contrabando Creek, one half mile northwest. The area’s variable soils support scrub brush and grasses. Contrabando means “contraband” or “smuggling” in Spanish, perhaps a reference to extralegal trade in various commodities that has long flourished along the United States-Mexico border. Among the most notorious local smugglers were the Domínguez brothers, Patricio (Picho), Marcelino, and Juan, who were active in southwestern Brewster County in the 1920s and 1930s. 

Elephant mountain

The Rio Grande

Our base camp was in Alpine, a small town with historic homes, churches, and shops from a railroad station to a post office to hotels, there is so much history in Alpine, written and painted in murals all around the town.

 I was stunned and speechless and literally teared up seeing all of it. 

I was even on a movie set. Next to the most notorious smuggling spot and the Rio Grande – would you believe it!? 

Next stop! Just wait. You are in for a treat! 


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