Terlingua, a Texas Ghostown at the Gateway of Big Bend

casa-piedra-terlinguaMy birthday is in August and I wanted a remembrance to the occasion.  I was granted a wonderful experience as Lori and I headed west to Big terlingua-ghostown-wayne-goodenBend country. We wanted to soak up as much of the local color as possible, so we stayed a few days in Terlingua. Now if you are looking for a tourist town that has a Wal-Mart, Starbucks or Dairy Queen (after all this is Texas) you will not find it here. Terlingua is different and we would not have wanted it any other way. Surrounded by majestic views in every direction and the 83 mile drive from Alpine with absolutely no cell service of any kind on TX 118 gives you the feeling of being somewhat cut-off. Don’t freak out, when you get to Terlingua there is cell service and wifi … but not until you get into town.

Lori had booked us into a casita (Casa Piedra). 1 large king bedroom with a large bathroom and an outdoor shower. Fire pit and sitting area out front. It looked perfect. It doesn’t take long to drive through town, which we did straight away and then got unpacked and ready for adventure. There is a self guided walking tour map that you can purchase at the store. It costs a dollar and is worth it for clarity of all the things you will want to see. Of course my primary reason for going was to take photos and that’s what we did. In the center of town is the cemetery. All of the graves are homemade and very interesting to survey. The cemetery is about 4 acres and the interred there are mainly mercury miners. terlingua-cemetary-wayne-gooden

starlight-theatre-wayne-goodenWe had an enjoyable evening at the Starlight Theater and Restaurant. Serenaded by a couple of local Texan musicians, it was indeed a treat to hear true West Texas country music. We also had a couple of our meals at the High Sierra Bar and Grill, which is locally owned and operated. On our last night there the power was knocked out by a sudden storm that blew up and it made for great conversation with patrons of High Sierra in the dark. Fortunately we had cash so we could leave when we finished our meal.

The best breakfast place in town, that we found, was la Posada Milagro. Good coffee and great burritos. Not much on customer service, but great food. We were in a hurry anyway to get to Big Bend before it got too hot to hike. There were a few other touristy traps similar to the kinds of things you see in other Texas towns like the two headed snake or the talking chicken … but we stayed pretty much on the believable. There are a few outfitters in Terlingua that rent ATV’s, canoes and kayaks but this trip we stuck to driving and hiking. Oh, get a hiking stick (trekking pole) you will be glad you did. Hiking in Big Bend in the summer especially August, make sure you have a camelbak, canteen or back pack water bottles. This is real hiking folks. People can and have died out there because of the elements … and I’m pretty sure they won’t let you get buried in Terlingua. For fine art prints from our trip to Big Bend find us on etsy 

If you are heading to Big Bend, you should spend at least one night in Terlingua … just so you can say you did.

Wayne and Lori Gooden

wayne and lori gooden big bend texas

Wayne Gooden

Wayne Gooden, Photographer

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