In praise of place: the dry lands (part 11) — Ten Bits Ranch

The rugged and remote Trans-Pecos region of Texas holds boundless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts of all ilks, photographers included.

Ten Bits HQ seen from a local archaeological site

Back in the Spring of 2005, Anne and I decided to head to the Big Bend, and were looking for a place to spend a couple of nights in a setting involving roof and bed (i.e., not camping). As I recall, the Chisos Mtn. Lodge was booked up, and in the process of looking farther afield we came across an internet pitch for a guest ranch called Ten Bits.

Hen Egg Mtn. behind the “bank”

Just on the basis of its setting amongst the rocky crags, I was ready to give it a try; and Anne — being a green fiend — appreciated the fact that the entire operation ran on solar. And so we booked a room.

Old West flavor. And then some.

Ten Bits sits on private ranch land a dozen or so miles north of Study Butte, offering visitors an intimate view of some of the most dramatic Chihuahuan desert scenery you’re likely to see outside of the nearby government-administered parklands (Big Bend Natl. Park & Big Bend Ranch State Park). Jennifer and Steve Wick are charming and entertaining hosts, and included in the B&B amenities are numerous guided field trip opportunities visiting sites of both archaeological and paleontological significance.

The Mild Bunch

Given the scenic attractions of the guest ranch itself — and the tasty Mexican food to be found in nearby Study Butte — we ended up making only one trip into the national park itself during our extended weekend outing, instead spending most of our time right there on the Ten Bits property.

Ancient campground view

It’s probably too late to consider a stay in this part of the country this year — until Fall rolls around, anyway. Unless you like your weather has hot as your tamales.

Dragonfly: tinaja close by

Roadside cholla

Cliffs and sky

Hen Egg sunup


135 thoughts on “In praise of place: the dry lands (part 11) — Ten Bits Ranch

  1. Love going on adventures with you and Anne through your photography – another wonderful post filled with amazing captures! Thanks for sharing (:

  2. Wow! That landscape and wildlife is so completely different from anything around here. Even the light has a different quality. Makes me feel an itch to travel, all of a sudden!

    • Vicky, hold off ’til it’s gosh-awful cold up in your neck of the woods. That would be the perfect time to visit the Big Bend country!

    • Understand why you haven’t made it down there yet then, henna. Pretty hot in summer, but you can also get the occasional rainstorm. Anyway, thanks for the comment!

  3. Hmmm, who would have thought that you could find pink flowers in a place like this. I know tropical weather can create some amazing plat life but in a desert like area? This one baffled me for sure and it must have been one hell of a trip for you -,o

    • Cacti have some of the most vibrant colorful blooms of any plants, future. And thanks for your comment!

      • Anytime john, i appreciate fine work and I’m hard to impress, so keep bringing the pics cause i know people will keep watching them -,o

    • Thanks Ron. And you definitely should go there. (Terlingua Chili Cookoff coming up in Nov. – Ten Bits would be a great home base – if they’re not already booked.)

  4. I was just looking at the Ten Bits Ranch website yesterday for a possible Big Bend trip after Christmas! Your blog post is very timely and persuasive (beautiful photos!). Thanks for sharing.

    • How wonderful Stephany! You will really enjoy your visit, I’m sure. (I’ll have to look into charging hosts Steve and Jennifer a finder’s fee!)

  5. Every year I say let’s head down to Big Bend….but we usually head more north. This year I think it will be a great place to plan….especially around Christmas. Thanks for the info on the B&B. I will keep it in mind and maybe you will read a post from us on our travels there too

    • It is that, righteous. It is also vast, and mostly dry. Take water, and gas up whenever you have the opportunity.

  6. Loved this! I’ve long wanted to go to Big Bend (live in NY) and have never carved out the time to do so. The ranch sound like the perfect place to jump off from. Thanks for such an inspiring post, lovely pix — congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

    • Thanks broadside! And it really is a great spot for doing the grand Big Bend tour, as it sits btwn. both the National Park (to the east) and the State Park (to the west).

  7. ” chihuahuan desert ” ??? – is this where chihuahuas are from??? my chi would like to know! 😉 amazing photos! they look like frozen scenes from a film set! incredible!

    • I hope to make it to your Outback one of these days, stonewall. Long drive from N TX, though. ;>)

      Thanks for the comment!

      • We went to San Antonio – loved it – especially the hidden river-way behind the shops in the main street. If you try to drive here you might get a bit wet – we are an island so it will have to be amphibious.

  8. Reblogged this on luvsiesous and commented:

    This is one of the most isolated places in the USA. You have to drive hours our of your way just to get there.

    But, the views are incredible.

    And I hate to say this, but this photo journal barely starts to express the wonder and beauty of it all.

    You need to visit Big Bend.

    Have you?


    • Wow, thanks for the stat, photo – not to mention the like! And your comment is icing on the trans-pecos cake.

  9. Píši z daleka, jsem ” jazyk Česky” z daleka, přes celou polovinu planety země. Obrázky a popis místa je pro mě tak krásný, vzdálený a exotický, že touha vidět to, je jen sen. Děkuji vám, že jsem mohla poznat, takové místo a znát jeho jméno, najdu si na Google a budu se radovat, s vámi. Anna Česko Evropa

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