Big Bend National Park is nestled in the southwest part of the great state of Texas. It is the only U.S. national park that encompasses an entire mountain range, The Chisos Mountains. The park ranger made mention that a black bear had just been seen around the trail we had just been on; he said we probably wouldn't see a mountain lion but do watch for bears and rattlesnakes. At Santa Elena Canyon the elevation was about 1,800 feet and nearly baked us with temperatures reaching 109*; in a higher elevation near Lost Mine trail the temperature was a windy 74*. While hiking use commn sense; carry plenty of water (a gal per person) and keep hydrated; avoid the cliffs during a thunder storm as well as the barren creek beds. The Rio Grand, which borders the southern part of the park, serves as an artificial border between U.S. and Mexico. As we found our way to Santa Elena Canyon, the hike and pass was an easy treck but the heat and a menopausal episode clashed - even playing in the Rio Grand was of little relief. There wasn't much of wildlife to photograph but we did see lots of desert lizards, snakes, vultures and songbirds. As we headed out of the park we were tempted to drive the "short-cut" through Maverick Ranch Road (only 14 miles) but realizing that it would be a rough 14 miles, we opted to return via the park highway, 30 miles or so. A couple more notable comments about Big Bend NP, summer is their off season and everything is closed and the only gas station has limited hours and is very expensive. But, more interesting is that there have been many fossils found within the park, including a giant prehistoric alligator - weighing over 9 tons and about 39 feet long. There are many other fossils including a saurpod that measured 100 feet in length and weighed over 50 tons. If you have an interest in prehistoric fossils and finds, this is the park to visit.