This trip will begin by meeting at 9:00 am in Terlingua, Texas at the Go Big Bend staging facility where everyone will check in, pack their gear into dry bags and guides will double check that all guests have the appropriate gear and attire. After everyone is checked in we will drive our vans 12 miles to Lajitas and the put in for one of Americas greatest desert river trips: Santa Elena Canyon. All rafts will be operated by 1 guide with a center mount frame with possible paddle assist. A maximum of four to five guests will go on a raft along with the guide.
After launching we will make our way through the calm bends and long straits of the Rio Grande as it works its way through the vastness of the Chihuahuan Desert and towards Santa Elena Canyon, a high slice cut in the limestone of Mesa de Anguilla. That night we will camp riverside and enjoy a fantastic meal under twinkling stars while campfire music echoes across the canyon.
Our second day will have a more leisurely pace and will begin with the option to hike to the canyon rim possibly followed by a refreshing dip in the Rio Grande. If water conditions allow a layover day we will spend the day relaxing in the shade, eating, playing games, and listening to fantastic live music. If you would like to bring an instrument, please let us know.
On the last day we will break camp, pack the rafts, and shove off to drift through winding limestone cliffs and boulder gardens. We will stop to have a short side hike up Fern Canyon explore the shady depths of water smoothed limestone and fern shrouded springs. Fern Canyon is one of the most amazing place in the entire Big Bend Region.
From Fern we float a few miles to Canyon exit, awhere vertical cliffs loom 1500 feet over our heads. The river leaves the canyon as abruptly as it enters. We float another mile to our take-out point where we load up and return to base.
*Weather and water conditions in Big Bend and on the Rio Grande are unpredictable. The following itinerary is logistically the simplest and offers an incredible trip. Changing water levels and weather conditions sometimes dictate a change of river section to take advantage of the best possible conditions for the goals of a Texas River Music trip.*
Miles Zuniga is a Grammy nominated recording artist and songwriter. He started Fastball in 1994 with Tony Scalzo and Joey Shuffield. The trio had a smash hit with “The Way” in 1998. Miles has written several songs with other artists including Spoon and the Dandy Warhols.
“EXUBERENTLY SOULFUL” – The Austin Chronicle
Patrice Pike burst on to the music scene as the electric front woman for the seminal Austin jam band Sister Seven. She was honing her creativity as a vocalist and songwriter at Booker T. Washington School for performing and visual arts as well as the legendary music programs at the University of North Texas when she realized all of her mentors were graduating from programs and then trying to make a living on stage and in the studio. She left her entrepreneurial scholarship in the school bank account and started Little Sister that soon became Sister Seven. Soon after she co-wrote and sang Sister Sevens top 10 Billboard hit Know What You Mean. Richard Skanse for Rolling Stone called her “Tina Turner, Bessie Smith, Janis Joplin, and Robert Plant all rolled up into a tiny but explosive package.” The legendary John Fogerty commented about Patrices great voice also in Rolling Stone and Billboard Magazine has called her, One of the finest up and coming contemporary Rock Singers in America. In 2007 she became the youngest member of the Austin/Texas Music Hall of Fame, inducted alongside Lucinda Williams.
The Big Bend area in southwest Texas is composed of a stark and impressive desert-scape dotted with both small contemporary communities and the rock ruins of the wild west’s ranching and mining pioneer days. The towering limestone canyons of the Big Bend line America’s southern border here, and at the bottom of which flow the muddy waters of the Wild and Scenic Rio Grande. Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park make up the two large protected areas in the Big Bend, both of which include long stretches of the strip of green marking the winding flow of the southern Rio Grande. Our trip in this case will base out of the historic mining town of Terlingua, Texas and take us deep into the Chihuahuan Desert through Santa Elena canyon.
This is an area of rich history, culture and natural beauty which absolutely deserves more exploration than our three day river trip if you are able to budget the time.
What to bring, how to dress, etc:
October weather is normally quite pleasant, but like anywhere else in Texas, only fools and those of the northern persuasion attempt to predict. Daytime highs will be in the 80’s and possibly 90’s. Overnight lows in the 50’s and maybe 40’s.
Bring clothing to be comfortable from 40 to 95 degrees. You don’t need a heavy coat or jacket, but bring 2-3 layers in case of an unseasonable cold snap. Bring rain gear; chances are it stays buried in the dry bag. Bring a bathing suit, last year people were swimming up until the 2nd week in November, however brief. We will send you a best guess of anticipated weather conditions a week before departure, and updates with changes.
You need shoes to wear in the raft that will certainly get wet. We do not recommend flip flops; old sneakers are fine if you don’t already have water shoes or sandals with ankle straps. BRING A HAT, broad brimmed are the best. Sun screen is a must. though long sleeves and long pants are the absolute best sun protection possible, but even then you need to hit face, neck and hands.
Sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and tents are not included in the trip cost, but may be rented for a modest additional fee.
Get ready to pitch a tent, sling a hammock, throw down a pad, and relax! Every day we will prepare and serve you a delicious riverside lunch, not limited to, but often including an array of home-roasted sandwich meats and homemade dips and salsas (see some of our recipes here). In addition, our camp dinners and breakfasts are a classic staple of the Far Flung experience, as 40 years in business has not only taught us the principles of reading white-water…but also of cooking and camp ambiance!
***Please let us know ahead of time about any allergies or special food requirements***
Following is a list of required and recommend items for this three-day camping excursion. You will also receive this list as part of your confirmation email. As part of the trip we will provide waterproof drybags for all of your personal items and camp chairs for fireside relaxation and enjoyment. Tents, pads and sleeping bags are not included though if needed we provide a sleep kit (1 two man tent, 1 sleeping bag and sleeping pad) for an additional $12/night.
Please click here to look at a more in-depth list of required and recommended camp gear:
Going Camping? Here’s what you’ll need.