Midterm Recess: Big Bend National Park


Midterm Recess is a 4-day weekend for students to re-energize for the rest of the semester. An Owl can spend their Midterm Recess in a plethora of ways—from listening to live artists at Austin City Limits (ACL) to visiting their friends at other universities. My friends and I decided to visit San Antonio and Big Bend National Park. Our group of 7 road-tripped from Houston to San Antonio to Big Bend, amounting to around a day’s worth of driving altogether. Of course, a few Buc-cee’s stops along the way were mandatory. 

San Antonio served as a great pitstop before our final destination. We stayed in a hotel with close proximity to the city’s downtown, boasting great tourist destinations that allowed us to tap into the city’s rich culture. We began by visiting the Alamo, a historic mission and fortress that commemorates the Battle of the Alamo and the Texas Revolution. After this historical excursion, we decided it was time to eat. We dined at the Historic Pearl Food Hall, a court with local pop-ups, restaurants, bars, and dessert. We wrapped up the night with a pleasant stroll along the River Walk. We got to explore some of the local vendors selling jewelry, knick-knacks, and artwork.

San Antonio
Venture Garden

A 6-hour drive later, we ended up in Big Bend National Park. Our group stayed in an Airbnb in Lajitas, Texas, a small town nestled on the Texas-Mexico border. Whether it was hiking for 10 miles to get to the top of Emory Peak or tapping into the local ghost-town culture, the Big Bend portion of our trip was an unbelievable experience with many highlights. While I could admittedly talk about this segment extensively, here’s a round-up of some of the group’s favorite portions of the trip:

  • "My favorite part of the trip was the final rock scramble to the top of Emory’s peak. I’m terrified of heights, but it was so worth it to reach the climax and soak in the breathtaking, rugged views." Eric Liu ‘24
  • "The breathtaking views from Emory Peak, one of the highest peaks in Texas, stood out as one of a kind. Along with Emory Peak, every night we witnessed an entire sky full of stars in a way I had never seen before. I also got a chance to refine my photography skills!" Christopher Hallock-Solomon ‘24


  • "I’ve never been somewhere so desolate, so quiet, and with such little light pollution. It was really calming. I was able to see the Milky Way for the first time in my life!" Clara Ursic ‘24
  • "My favorite part of the trip was the incredible views of the desert landscape and the Chisos Mountains, especially during sunrise and sunset. I really enjoyed being surrounded by nature in such a remote location." Nikhita Mummaneni ‘24
big bend sign
Big bend

Midterm Recess can look different for everyone. Our 4 days were filled with an exploration of a new city, a chance to get away from urban sprawls, and an opportunity to integrate with nature! 


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