Put A Pin In It! Big Ben Beck­ons

Luxe Beat Magazine - - News - By Deb­bie Stone

Ihad no con­trol over my burro. The spir­ited crea­ture ob­vi­ously had a mind of his own as he took off at a fast clip, then veered and at­tempted to squeeze between two of his friends. At one point my stirrups hooked onto those of an­other rider’s and we were locked leg to leg. Laugh­ing un­con­trol­lably, we bounced down the road like Si­amese twins, linked to­gether, even­tu­ally ar­riv­ing at our des­ti­na­tion: the tiny vil­lage of Bo­quil­las, Mex­ico.

Eas­ing off my an­i­mal in a most un­grace­ful way, I de­cided that burro rid­ing did not rank among my fa­vorite means of trans­porta­tion. To get to Bo­quil­las, a bor­der cross­ing is in­volved. It’s the short­est jour­ney between two coun­tries you’ll ever make, tak­ing mere min­utes. The Bo­quil­las Bor­der Cross­ing between the U.S. and Mex­ico re­opened in 2013 af­ter a clo­sure of more than a decade.

This “pedes­trian only” cross­ing al­lows vis­i­tors to go from a des­ig­nated area of Big Bend Na­tional Park in Texas to Bo­quil­las, Mex­ico, with the Rio Grande as the bor­der. You’ll need to show your pass­port be­fore hop­ping into a row­boat for the river cross­ing. If you’re lucky, you might get to meet Bo­quil­las’ judge, Jaime Ureste, who also doubles as an oars­man. Once you’re on the other side, bur­ros and horses are wait­ing to take you the mile into town to your first stop, a non­de­script white trailer which serves as the Mex­i­can im­mi­gra­tion of­fice.

Bo­quil­las, pop­u­la­tion 300 or so, is a hum­ble vil­lage where the res­i­dents sell a va­ri­ety of hand­i­crafts and in­vite you to eat at one of the two avail­able restau­rants. To dine with a river view, opt for Jose Fal­con, where the mar­gar­i­tas are made with Fresca and you can get a va­ri­ety of typ­i­cal Mex­i­can dishes. The lo­cals are ea­ger to be your guide as you walk around the area, point­ing out

the so­lar panel sta­tion, school, church and the few other sites of note. You’ll find peo­ple to be friendly and hos­pitable, though it’s dif­fi­cult to ig­nore the poverty that’s preva­lent in this eco­nom­i­cal­ly­de­pressed town.

Vis­it­ing Bo­quil­las is just one of the many ad­ven­tures that awaits vis­i­tors to Big Bend Na­tional Park. En­com­pass­ing more than 800,000 acres of rugged moun­tains, rolling desert ex­panses and deep river canyons, the park is the king of the state’s na­tional pub­lic ar­eas. A land of con­trasts, Big Bend con­tains ge­o­log­i­cal mar­vels, his­toric and pre­his­toric trea­sures and an amaz­ing di­ver­sity of plant and an­i­mal life across its range of el­e­va­tions. Its epic grandeur has cre­ated an al­most mythic sta­tus among those

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