big bend texas {family vacation}

While this was technically a workshop/styled shoot that I attended, Jake was immediately on board when I pitched the idea a few months ago about going to Big Bend National Park. Halfway there we realized this was our first trip as a family that didn’t include extended family members. Just us three! And a few other photographers & their families. haha

Jake had visited Big Bend a few years ago with his dad & our brother-in-law, & he was itching to take us out there. Friends had recently given us their heavy-duty backpack baby carrier & we knew Maclin enjoyed being in it when we took it for a spin in our neighborhood.

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So, we packed up our new giant SUV & made the trek out to Terlingua, TX.

We set out Thursday evening late & drove to Llano to spend the night at one of Jake’s coworkers ranch homes that featured a view of Enchanted Rock. While I joked beforehand about it being a super romantic Valentine’s night, it ended up be really nice. Even if we drove up & down the same stretch of road for 30 minutes in the pitch dark trying to find the driveway.

Friday morning we set off for the long stretch & we were SO impressed with how Maclin handled the entire trip there. He didn’t cry or fuss until the last 20 minutes! Maybe that was because we gave him his first burger & fries for lunch. Once in Terlingua & we checked in to our hotel, we enjoyed dinner at the gas station next door. (We had to enjoy that restaurant & their prices more than once.) Be sure to check out the photo of the high chair.

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I thought I had a correct idea in my head: small dusty town. But, I was still surprised. Don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t upset. It was kind of nice running around covered in dust, no makeup, & not wearing a single piece of jewelry I packed. Nor did I pull out any other pair of shoes out of my overstuffed shoe bag besides my tennis shoes. And somehow 6 of my jackets made the trip. SIX. Did I wear any of them? Only one, & that was because I was up before the sun on Sunday.

With the towering mountains breaking up the skyline (yes, towering, us Southerners don’t have much in the way of mountains), teepees, tiny homes, mobile homes, school buses converted into homes, & the like were sprinkled throughout the landscape. We didn’t have time to explore any of the little art galleries but Jake said he enjoyed several of them last time he was there.

Saturday morning the group went scouting for locations for the afternoon shoots, & Jake was happy to get Maclin in the carrier. We all enjoyed trekking through the cool of the canyon. Later, while the boys napped the afternoon away, my styled shoots were a blast & I can’t wait to share those photos! For dinner we experienced La Kiva & that is something I won’t be forgetting soon. Part of me wanted to participate in karoke, but then, no. haha

After my Sunday morning sunrise shoot was over & we checked out of the hotel, we took off for the other side of the park that our group hadn’t shot in. We drove a lot, hiked a smidge, took Maclin’s one year photos (coming up next), & eventually made it to the Rio Grande border. Unfortunately Chunkymonk fell asleep 5 minutes before we got to the border, so we had to take turns walking to the river. I had to take a picture of me with my hand in the river to prove to Jake I had gone all the way.

Thankfully Maclin slept the whole drive back through the park, slept through Terlingua, & almost slept all the way to Alpine where we spent the night. Dinner was rather early that night & we were all fast asleep by 9pm.

Monday was by far the roughest day, because Maclin had finally caught on that he had been in the car for a ridiculously long amount of time, but we made it home.

More on the actual workshop later!

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