The least visited National Park in the country sits down along 118mi of the Rio Grande river and covers nearly one million acres of Chihuahuan desert. An arid landscape revealing a diversity of microclimates and vegetation meets me as I wind my way around the park. Following Ara's advice, I navigate down the gravel Old Maverick Rd past Luna's Jacal. The small structure is built into the boulder on the north side of a mesa by the banks of a dry creek. Old Luna raised nearly 50 kids and lived in this small ocotillo and ponderosa pine roofed abode.
In the distance, a narrow gouge cuts deep into the mountain where the powerful waters of the Rio Grande have carved a notch through solid rock. Santa Elena Canyon offers a steep hiking trail into the cool shade of the soaring walls to mesas above. Carrizo cane grows down along the river banks and prickly pear cactus up higher.
From here I explored over to Castalon, an old US outpost for monitoring the border and any unrest around the turn of the century. Old equipment rusting in the sunshine contrasts nicely against the bright blue desert sky. The backcountry camping permit is secured and I make my way over to Buenos Aires overlooking the dense vegetation of the Rio Grande.
The following day the little bike climbed over 2000' to Sotol Vista, a promontory overlooking the western side of the park. Despite the constant uphill struggle, the small machine chugged along at 12mph or so up the grade to a lunch break and time to cool.
In May 2014 I quit my job to ride a Honda Ruckus over 59'000 mi and counting. Wild camping most nights and cooking most of my own meals, I keep the costs low and the landscape changing.