Big Bend Itinerary
Preparing For Big BendBig Bend National Park, as well as the neighboring Big Bend Ranch State Parkcombine to protect over 1,700 square miles of the Chihuahuan Desert and over 140 miles of the Rio Grande. The Chisos Mountains (shown in picture above) is the only existing mountain range in the lower 48 that are entirely protected by public land. For these reasons, Big Bend is perhaps the most wild, unexplored and conserved national land in the United States. Due to Big Bends isolated location and expansive borders it's become well-known throughout the outdoor community as the darkest sky in North America. However, as we explore together, we'll discover Big Bend is so much more.
West Texas and the Big Bend area's aren't the easiest drives. Roads are paved well but gas stations and scenery are scarce until the later part of the journey. There are a few main routes to arrive at Big Bend Resort & Adventures in Study Butte. Time your arrival for 3:30pm. Check in is at 4:00pm.
53623 TX-118, Terlingua, TX 79852
From I-10 / Fort Stockton: Fill gas tanks in Fort Stockton, there will only be one more stop in Alpine or Marathon for gas until you reach our lodging 114mi after exiting 1-10
From Fort Stockton take TX-67 to Alpine for 67 miles, then TX-118 for 78 miles to Study Butte / Big Bend Adventures. Lodging will be on the left next to the Alon Station
Room numbers and keys will be provided by the front desk upon check in. Check in under PhotoRoamers Workshop. Each student has their own single queen, nonsmoking room. Please contact Kenneth for any questions about lodging
Food and drink are not included in this workshop. Neighboring the lodging is the Alon Gas Station where all essentials can be purchased.as well as a breakfast diner annexing the building. We suggest bringing a cooler and stocking it before coming to town if you have specific dietary restrictions. The hotel does not supply any refrigerators.
The Starlight Theater, High Sierra, DB's BBQ, and other amazing restaurants are open for lunch and take out dinner not far from the lodge. We can attend together and separately throughout our stay
Friday, March 17. Introduction & Sunset Session
4:00pm Check in at the Big Bend Resort & Adventures. Gear up for sunset session Meet & Greet, overview of agenda
5:30pm. Preparing for Milky Way. Drive to Terlingua Cemetery, learn PhotoPills, and other astro programs to learn how to scout and plan for astrophotography.
8:02pm Sunset at Terlingua Cemetery. Composition, multiple exposure, and settings Familiarizing cemetery for astrophotography.
9:30pm. Return to lodging. Rest, next three days are jammed packed!
Saturday, March 18th. Sunrise Session, Editing Class, Sunset & Astro Session
6:00am Wake up alarm, gear up for small hike, sunrise and morning session. Pack to-go breakfast. Pack telephoto and landscape gear. Sunrise location frequented by Big Horn Ram's and other wildlife.
6:30am Rendezvous at Alon Gas Station next to lodging. Drive 45 minutes to Rio Grande Valley overlook past Lajitas at Big Bend Ranch State Park
7:30am Arrive at roadside pullout, snack break, small hike/rock scramble/climb to overlook. Set up for sunrise.
9:00am Return to lodging. Rest. Lunch break.
3:00pm Editing session. Astrophotography brief.
5:30pm Enter Big Bend National Park, Ross Maxwell Drive or Petroglyphs
8:03 pm Sunset. Sunset session will be improvised on Ross Maxwell Drive. Locations may include Sotol Vista, Chios Mountains panoramic, Mule Ears Overlook, Dorgan Ranch. Castolon, or entrance to Santa Elena Canyon.
9:00pm Return to lodging. Rest and sleep. Pack for astro session. Set alarms for 2:00am
Sunday, March 19th. Astro & Sunrise Session, Editing Class, Sunset Session
2:30am Rendezvous at Alon Gas Station. Drive 10 minutes to Terlingua Cemetery
3:00am Astrophotography Session.
7:59am Sunrise session. Location TBD, will be placed nearby lodging
3:00pm Editing Session. Editing the Milky Way
5:00pm Return to Big Bend National Park. Explore east area, Dagger Flat Auto Trail Hot Springs, Boquillas Canyon.
8:03pm Sunset. Sunset session will be improvised on the Rio Grande Village Road or Dagger Flat Auto Trail, or Chios Basin.
9:00 pm Return to lodging. Rest and sleep. Pack for astro session and night hike
Pack food. Set alarms for 1:30 AM.
Monday, March 20th. Astro & Sunrise Session, Editing Class, Sunset Session
1:30AM Wake up, load up.
2:00AM Rendezvous at Alon Gas Station. Drive 50 minutes to Grapevine Hills. Hike one mile to Balanced Rock.
3:00AM Astrophotography Session at Balanced Rock.
7:15 AM Sunrise Session. Sunrise at Balanced Rock and Grapevine Hills
3:00AM Editing session.
5:00AM Return to Big Bend National Park, journey down Ross Maxwell Drive, hike into Santa Elena Canyon.
8:04PM Sunset. Sunset Session TBD. Near or at Santa Elena Canyon.
Drive nearby to Dorgan Ranch for twilight/star trails.
9:00PM Return to lodging. Set alarms for an optional sunrise session, location TBD
POINTS OF INTEREST
- Terlingua Ghost-Town. Terlingua Cemetery, Terlingua Church, Starlight Theater, mining ruins.
- Santa Elena Canyon via Ross Maxwell drive and Santa Elena Canyon Trail hike. 1.5mi out & back.
- Grapevine Hills and Balanced Rock via gravel surface Grapevine Spring road and Balanced Rock Trail. 1.9 mile out and back.
- Rio Grande Valley via overlook from Big Bend Ranch State Park.
- Boquillas Canyon via Boquillas Canyon Trail. 1.2 mile out and back
- Hot Springs on the Rio Grande.
- Dorgan, Sam Nail, and other early settlement ruins.
- Chisos Mountains, Casa Grande, and the Window Overlook.
- Ross Maxwell Drive, Sotol Vista, Mule Ears, and the Rio Grande.
- Spring blooms of cacti, sotols, agaves, and wildflowers
- Wildlife among the desert.
WHAT TO BRING
- Your camera equipment should include a wide angle lens that stops down to f/2.8 aperture or lower for astrophotography. A telephoto such as a 70-200mm range or longer. Sturdy tripod & an external intervalometer to allow for longer shutter clicks
- Downloaded: Adobe Lightroom Classic, Adobe Photoshop, and one of the star programs listed below. Please double check to make sure everything is fully downloaded.
- Please download Starry Landscape Stacker for Apple https://apps.apple.com/us/app/starry-landscape-stacker/id550326617?15=1&mt=12
- Or please download equator for Windows. https://sites.google.com/site/sequatorglobal/download
- Food and Water. There are nearby restaurants, and stations for food, but pack lunches and snacks for the road beforehand as groceries are more expensive in the area. Coolers recommended.
- Laptop, chargers, extra SSD's, and SD card reader
- Proper hiking shoes, one for trails and one for getting wet. Rain jacket. Light Jacket. Sun- screen. Rain cover for backpacks.
- Sunscreen, bug spray, sanitizer, face-masks.
- COVID-19: As a group we will follow any regulations required of us by the National Park Service and Brewster County. While inside any federal building (ranger station) masks will be required. Mask wearing outdoors when social distancing is already in practice is left to the individual. Our job as instructors is to make you feel safe and comfortable during this time. Social distancing will be practiced during all editing sessions.
- Carpooling: We will assess our collective comfort level regarding transportation and carpooling during the meet-and-greet.
- Road Conditions: Nearly all of our time on the road will be spent on smooth asphalt. The roads to Grapevine Hills, and Hot springs are on graded gravel roads however weather conditions may prevent low-clearance access and will require high-clearance or 4x4.