big bend. window view and junior rangers.

on monday, we started out by heading over to the main visitor center, panther junction, so the kids could work on part of their junior ranger book. anytime we leave our little corner of the park, we pass through this super cute tunnel (which has an even better view coming from the other direction).

at the visitor center, the kids got to work identifying cacti and their purposes. there’s a little path, with all sorts of desert plant life, complete with labels and descriptions.

we seem to be on the front end of a blooming period, so hopefully before we leave, we’ll get to see a lot more of this sort of thing:

hazel is obsessed with touching cactus needles. she thinks she’s pretty tough because she doesn’t bleed.

cactus studies.

this is the “havard agave” and the leaves(?) are hard as a rock and very stuff. i would hate to fall into one of these suckers.

after the kids finished the cactus walk, we decided to driver further into the park, into the chisos basin. there’s another visitor’s center that they could use to complete more of their books, plus there’s some short little trails that we could squeeze in before it got too hot. the drive up was pretty scenic, too.

the visitor’s center was closed for lunch, so we found the window view trail, which is a super short, paved hike out to an overlook with a view of, well, a window out of the basin.

aforementioned window. rumor has it that sunset is pretty epic. there’s also a longer, more strenuous hike down into the basin that would give a much better view, but we weren’t prepared for such an adventure. plus, bears.

viewing the window view.

the three lid kids. 🙂

we took a moment to sit in the shade at the overlook and work on junior ranger books.

lidbom parent selfie.

while i helped kids with their books, derek and hazel had a photoshoot. the crazelnut.

one last pic from another little overlook. i know i say it all the time, but pictures can’t do this place justice. it’s so awesome.

on the stroll back to the visitor’s center, i happened upon this cactus – a cholla. they are my favorite. maybe. i mean, they’re all awesome.

back at the visitor center, the kids did a bit of research about bears and mountain lions. when we counted up what they had completed, we realized they were ready to get their badges.

they got sworn in and added some flair to their collection. 🙂

lastly. on our way back to the campsite, we stopped for gas (there’s gas stations in the park!). this sign was on the pump. sort of funny.

so, it’s really really hot here. like 99/100° in the afternoons hot. so, we try to squeeze in activities in the morning and then retreat to the comfort of our camper for the afternoon. and that’s what we did on this day. the kids don’t mind, because we are a little bit loose with the ipad/screen policy, and i don’t mind because we get out and do stuff, with only mild complaints. :).

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