Add soaking in an inflatable pool on a deck in the Chihuahuan Desert to the list of things that make me happy.
I spent a night at Paisano Azul Ranch in Terlingua, where you can rent a yurt or a small modern cabin, or pitch a tent alongside a cactus-covered hillside.
I chose the yurt, which came with a hot tub that doubles as a “cool pool” when the temperatures rise.
Which they did. This was Big Bend in June, and it was hot as heck during the day. But I knew going in that June, July and August are typically the hottest months out there; highs hover between 94 and 97 degrees.
Just prepare for the heat, drink lots of water, and remember that back deck oasis.
We spent the afternoon at nearby Big Bend National Park. When we returned, my husband cooked dinner on the grill on the deck while I lounged neck deep in the inflatable tub. The next morning, I climbed in the pool again to enjoy sunrise.
The tub wasn’t the only thingI liked about Paisano Azul Ranch.
Ten cool things about Paisano Azul Ranch
1. Two resident goats, Stella and Clyde, patrol the place. If you’re lucky, you might catch one of them hitching a ride in the golf cart the manager uses to check on the property.
2. You can watch the sun set on two sides – the west, like you do in most places, but also east, where you can see the setting sun light up the Chisos Mountains.
3. The yurt is fancy. Besides a queen-sized bed, you can pull out the couch into a full-sized bed. There’s a kitchenette, shower, and a toilet, too. You can flip on a TV, but who needs that? Go outside and watch Mother Nature’s show instead.
4. The toilet is equipped with a bidet!
5. The Cottonwood General Store just down the street feels like a teeny, tiny Whole Foods, with an array of cheeses, wines, and fresh produce to make your own charcuterie tray, best consumed on that deck.
6. The yurt is a 10-minute drive from the Starlight Theatre and Terlingua Trading Post, where a lot of the guitar-strumming, hula-hooping action takes place in Terlingua. For such a small town, Terlingua’s got a hopping bar scene.
7. It takes about 30 minutes to get from the yurt to the Panther Junction Visitor Center in Big Bend National Park, where you can plot an adventurous day (or three) of hiking in the Chisos Mountains, dipping your toe in the Rio Grande, or looking for wildlife.
8. It’s a 20-minute drive from the yurt to Barton Warnock Visitor Center in Big Bend Ranch State Park. Bring your mountain bike to access incredible trails that start at a trailhead across the street.
9. Step outside at night. We timed our visit to coincide with a full moon. After darkness fell, my husband stood on the deck naked, and I caught a great image of a double moon.
10. The yurt is just a few hundred yards away from Terlingua Creek. Big Bend got a ton of rain in May, and the creek raged. Take a walk down to check it out.