Doug and Melanie in New Mexico

Hi all. We spent two short weeks at Big Bend National Park on the Mexican border. It is a beautiful, rugged part of the country where even dried mud can be art.

The scenery is stunning. It varies from river scenes along the Rio Grande,

to desert landscapes

to mountains

and magnificent night skies.

But the butterflies took home the grand prize. We were at the end of the Monarch migration and we saw thousands of them all flying southwest toward Mexico.

They were not alone; there were countless other species of butterflies all over the place. Clear Sulfur (bright yellow, no camouflage) butterflies would gather in the hundreds wherever there was damp mud.

In the area with the Clear Sulfur butterflies, we came across a fresh footprint of a Mountain Lion where it was overlooking a ravine we had just walked up. The print was as big as the palm of my hand. I would have loved to have seen the cougar if we were in a car or a building but …


In the same area, we came across a notorious plant, the Devils Claw. It appeared to be a squash vine with beautiful yellow flowers and squash that narrowed toward the tip. The squash are actually seed pods that dry out, split at the narrow tip and curl out to the sides.

The tips are very sharp, and the whole thing clings onto you like it is alive. I got one on my hand and Melanie had to help me remove it. She brushed against one and it clamped onto her shoe. A devilish way to spread your seeds.


Along the Rio Grande, there are places where Mexicans will wade the river, drop off handmade items for sale along with a cash box then wade back home. It all operates on the honor system. A tough way to make a living.


We hiked by a dwelling of a man who raised a large family in the area before it was a park. His house was very long, narrow and very very short. I cannot imagine living in a house where you could not stand up.


The spiders are large, the insects strange, lizards beautiful.

Locust (not grasshoppers) are huge and colorful. Their wings are red and flash in the sunlight when they fly.

We miss our friends but are loving the travel.

Doug and Melanie

Doug and Melanie are avid explorers and hikers. They travel with their Kimberly Kamper, and their home base is Ohio. (For more posts by these authors, click on their names, above.)

4 thoughts to “Doug and Melanie in New Mexico”

  1. So very beautiful 😍 great story and description of your time there! My fiancé and are I are buying a travel trailer in Jan. Can’t wait to start exploring our beautiful USA!