I can't emphasize how remote Big Bend is. If something happens to you and/or your vehicle help may be days away. It is a huge area without cell service and the only wi-fi is at a couple of convenience stores 50 miles apart. There were supposed to be two pay phones but one was a 30 mile drive and when we got there it had been ripped out. So let's make it remote with a capital R. It is also VERY dry. There is very little water except for the Rio Grande which you can't drink. As a matter of fact it is so dry there were notices that water should be limited to 5 gallons per person per day, which isn't much, especially since they recommend hikers drink a gallon per person per day in warmer months. Parts of it were beautiful - the Chisos Mountains, the Sierra del Carmen range, the riparian area on either side of the river and Santa Elena Canyon. This is not a nicely manicured place for big RV's but a wild and rugged place for tent campers or small RV's who can navigate the back country which is what we would do if we were to go back.
There is a lot of wildlife and birds in the Park. There are mountain lions, which they call panthers, and black bears in the Chisos Mountains and every trail is boldly signed about their presence. You are very much in THEIR habitat but we didn't see anything, dang. There is one voracious hunter we did see every day... the Vermillion Flycatcher. A very successful perching hunter, he dove to the ground and rarely missed, and good lookin' to boot.
We are often asked about whether or not we feel safe in our travels and, yes, we felt safe on the border even though it was very "porous". We saw several row boats and trails on both sides of the river. One of the other women in our campground said a man on horseback stopped and spoke to her during broad daylight. He wasn't trying to hide at all. The people from the small village of Boquillas make walking sticks or small wire and bead trinkets and leave them in places they will be seen. These items are illegal for them to leave, because they crossed illegally to do so, and illegal for Americans to possess because they were left by people who brought them into the US illegally. When we were at Boquillas Canyon there was a man on the other side of the river singing for donations. All of this was sad to see for several reasons. The folks from Boquillas would do anything for a few dollars for their families, but buying their craft items only encourages them to cross illegally. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. We actually could have crossed into Boquillas at a border crossing and walked the town. When I asked the Park Service how we would cross the river, he looked at me and said, "There's a rowboat." Um, maybe it was borrowed from the village....