The Hot Springs of BBNP, TX

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

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“Freedom on Both Ends of the Leash”, our Book, is now available autographed through us for $24.99 [$19.99 + $5 S&H, Continental 48 States] by clicking the photo links on top of this page. [PayPal accepting all cards]. It is also available through Amazon in paperback or as a Kindle download. All other electronic formats are also available.
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I have always called this Southern tip of the USA, "the end of the world"… and it kind of is, as much as "things" have changed these past winters population wise, crime and robberies I must say. Not pleasantly. Yet, the World itself has also changed. It is inevitable it seems that the human condition and peaceful out of the way at one time empty spaces would ever stay the same. I myself disregard much of the changes. I have to. I keep an eye shut on them, just a sense of awareness one must have. "The Oasis" even though not as remote as it use to be is still an island in this space. East of us dwellings are present, about a mile or two, no one yet West of us. We do have an unobstructed view of that horizon and its sunsets. For now.

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"Histories never conclude; they just pause their prose. Their stories are, if they are truthful, untidy affairs, resistant to windings-up and sortings-out. They beat raggedly on into the future…."
~ Simon Schama ~

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Is the present rich in cultural history as it has been in the past? I guess the future will tell when in 500 years or so the writings will take place. Native people lived here or passed by through this area for thousands of years. Many pictographs and archaeological sites are a strong evidence. This space changes the people who experience it. It has changed us. People live here, some struggle and some thrive within this unique environment. Ranchers, residents, organizations, advocates and also Park Rangers, National and State.

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While most, at least that is what I use to hear a few years back, called themselves outlaws, the history and culture of Big Bend was and still is, especially with the opening of the border at Boquillas, intertwined with Mexico. This present land we are on was part of Mexico until the treaty of Guadalupe which was signed in 1848. The earliest settlers were Mexicans who established residence here in the early 1800’s and what a shame that traditional history of this area overlooks these settlers as many details have been lost with time because they had few opportunities for formal education and few historical records were kept. True records became reality when in the late 1800’s when Anglo-American settlers moved in while Mexican and Mexican-American families were already living here.

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Mexican "vaqueros," Spanish for cowboys, were renowned for their horsemanship and knowledge of cattle and began raising such cattle along the Rio Grande in the 1830’s. The Mexican stockmen were familiar with the dry climate of the Chihuahuan Desert, and they raised a rugged, thin-blooded variety of longhorn that was well adapted to desert conditions. Attracted to the grazing lands and abundant spring water of the Big Bend, Mexican vaqueros drove their herds north across the Rio Grande where some established successful ranching operations.

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The cattle is now long gone, the land overgrazed, and a fairly busy space stands out day in and day out. The Hot Springs, also known as the Boquillas Hot Springs. It started as a resort in 1909 when it took about a week to get there from Alpine. It was originally developed by J.O. Langford who was a native from Mississippi having contracted malaria as a child. While searching for a cure he heard of the curative hot springs on the Rio Grande while they were visiting Alpine. Sight unseen as we can do in Texas, he made a homestead claim. Little did he know that the space was already occupied by Cleofas Natividad, his wife and ten children. Regardless, the Langfords developed a cooperative relationship and the story goes that after 21 days of drinking and bathing in the hot springs he regained his health.

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The site was the first tourist attraction predating the National Park before being established. Adding to a small stone tub they renovated the dugout, build an adobe house, a stone bathhouse and brushwood bathing shelters. This lasted until 1912 when the area became unsafe from bandits but the Langfords did return in 1927 when they rebuilt the bathhouse, added a store, a motor court consisting of seven attached cabins.

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Yet, this recent history sounds as the present as many petroglyphs left by Native American visitors can be found. Going back to 1747 while Pedro de Rabago y Teran was going through the area he came across Apaches farming the area. The Hot Springs remains at a temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit while frequently submerged by the Rio Grande. It is accessible by a mild unpaved road about two miles West of Rio Grande Village, South of the Park. The Hot Springs was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 17, 1974. Another gem near by us! 

Sunrise 

And above us…

Stay well,
              Ara and Spirit

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2 Responses to “The Hot Springs of BBNP, TX”

  1. john H Says:

    i spent many an hour soaking in those springs after backpacking in the Chisos… thanks for taking me back…

  2. Bill Says:

    First geology then archeology keep going Ara, I love it!

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