Big Bend NP

We have visited Big Bend National Park on two occasions (2009 and 2012). Both visits were during the fourth week of March. The appearance of the park was vastly different this time. In 2009, the cactus was in bloom, everywhere you looked. This time, due to the 2011 drought and three days of below freezing temperatures, it was a rare event to see any blooms. An exception was the ocotillo, which was starting to bloom.

The border to Mexico in the park is still closed as it has been since 2002. One of the draws for Big Bend, was the chance to visit the small town of Boquillas, Mexico. It is hoped a border crossing to Boquillas will be opened soon. It will be neat to once again be able to cross over for lunch and visit the shops. The town has suffered from the loss of the tourist trade. The population has dwindled from about 450 down to about 60. We plan to return after the border has reopened.
Here are two shots showing the same pitaya cactus, one from 2009 and 2012.
Here are links to slide shows from our two trips to Big Bend:
As one means to produce revenue for the residents of Boquillas, they place hand-made trinkets along the trails for sale. There are warning signs that it is not legal to purchase these items. Here is a grouping of some of these items, plus a photo of the sotol cactus, from which the walking sticks are produced.