Rafting Big Bend National Park, Texas
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Big Bend National Park, Texas

Rafters on the Rio Grande make their way through the rocky cliffs of Big Bend National Park in Texas. The park’s remote location and infernally hot summers make it one of the system’s least visited sites, despite its craggy beauty and scenic views. The shallow waters of the Rio Grande make for a placid journey through miles of river rafting. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Texas singer-songwriter Butch Hancock, whose tunes have been sung by Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris, provides entertainment along the way. For 20 years, Hancock has been joining raft trips run by local outfitter Far Flung Expeditions, which runs two or three musical Big Bend trips every year with homegrown artists. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
River guide Sandi Turvan offers snacks during a break by the water. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles)
Butch Hancock maneuvers a raft on the river. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Supplies in waterproof sacks await loading on the rafts at the start of the trip. (Christopher Reynolds / Los AngelesTimes)
The rafting group takes a break at the entrance to Santa Elena Canyon, one of three major canyons that cradle the Rio Grande as it passes through Big Bend. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Guide Patrick Harris helps Jodi Houlon down a rock face during a trek in Santa Elena Canyon. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Singer-songwriter Butch Hancock provides the soundtrack to a campfire scene along the river. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
A rock cliff is reflected in the glassy surface of the Rio Grande. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)