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Death in Big Bend by Laurence Parent
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Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Death in Big Bend by Laurence Parent on 10/11/2013 00:51:45 MDT Print View

I believe the park derives its name from the bend in the Rio Grande River, where it changes direction, heading northeast before once again continuing its southeast trip to the Gulf of Mexico.

Nevertheless, it does seem like a wild place.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Death in Big Bend by Laurence Parent on 10/11/2013 03:42:55 MDT Print View

It is an interesting place. One of the stories is the Jeff Winterow (sp?) story of him falling off a cliff in the middle of the night on the Mesa de Anguila. We located a creek named after him in the last couple of years. The temp extremes can be strange in any desert probably.

There is not much water in the Big Bend backcountry so that adds to the difficulty.

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Re: Death in Big Bend by Laurence Parent on 10/11/2013 16:14:58 MDT Print View

It is indeed a remote and little visited place. Wide extremes for sure. Here is my Big Bend page that talks about how big an area it is and how few people go there. One of my favorites for sure.

The book itself is not a bad read, kind of like the similar book about the deaths/accidents at the Grand Canyon. Not all about deaths, many stories about close calls too.

Edited by abhitt on 10/11/2013 16:16:43 MDT.

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Re: Death in Big Bend on 10/14/2013 05:32:59 MDT Print View

Thanks Scott, just a lot of years to practice.

There are several good threads over at BigBendChat about the book including some participation by Laurence Parent (the author) and a few of the members who are in the book or had relatives in the book.

Leigh Baker

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
movies shot at Big Bend on 10/20/2013 08:03:32 MDT Print View

@Scott, there have been. Friends of mine were floating the river thru the park and ran into Tommy Lee Jones as they were filming The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. No Country for Old Men was filmed in the area IIRC, and I think also There Will be Blood...others may correct me on those.

Fred Thorp
(BFThorp) - F
Big bend on 10/28/2013 08:49:16 MDT Print View

Love the place but it's tough. We're were out there several years ago and experienced a 75-80 degree drop in 24 hrs. Enjoyed the book too.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Death in Big Bend by Laurence Parent on 10/28/2013 16:19:27 MDT Print View

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Re: Death in Big Bend by Laurence Parent on 10/30/2013 11:35:41 MDT Print View

"Looking at that Santa Elena canyon was interesting on the web. Have you ever floated that? I watched a youtube video where there was a hiking trail. Not sure how far it went down the canyon but it seemed mysterious."

Scott there is a short trail that goes about a half a mile up into the downstream mouth of the canyon and then cliffs out at the river that most visitors walk. There are also two backcountry trails that drop down to the river near the upper end of Santa Elena canyon off the Mesa de Anguila. I have never rafted the canyon but have walked the Mesa out to the point over looking the mouth of the canyon. This is me standing on the point looking out over the whole park.

point of santa elena

As to the Bryan Brock story, his partner was a frequent contributor to BBC and actually published his own version of the accident on the site which elicited much discussion. Folks will always have some strong opinions about such events. Having been one of the few people to actually stand at the top of the falls where he died and then turning around to climb back out because we didn't have enough rope to descend, I can appreciate the difficulty and the decision making involved and how one error can lead to disaster.