Anyone heading to Big Bend National Park in Texas for the first time would benefit from a guidebook to suggest ways to enjoy the park, and Enjoying Big Bend National Park, A Friendly Guide To Adventures for Everyone moves you in that direction.
Though it has been available since 2009, the intervening years haven't taken away from the book's contents. Within its 113 pages you'll find chapters dealing with short hikes, long hikes, car tours, traveling with kids, where nature lovers should go, even a section for visitors with limited physical ability.
Gary Clark also provides some information on Big Bend's cultural history, wildlife, and geology. You'll also find the requisite equipment section -- hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, compass, maps, etc.
Chapters dealing with hikes lead off with the basic information: trailhead, time you can expect to spend, distance to be covered, degree of difficulty, best season, age suitability. Complementing the text are photographs by the author's wife, Kathy Adams Clark. Her gorgeous shot of Santa Elena Canyon and the Rio Grand River rightfully claims the book's cover.
Make no mistake, though, this is not an all-encompassing guide to how to enjoy Big Bend, a sprawling park at more than 801,000 acres that is some 100 miles from the nearest town of considerable size. It's more introductory than anything else.
You won't find any backpack treks detailed, no in-depth history, no lodging details, nothing on river trips that a return visitor or well-seasoned adventurer might be interested in learning about.
That sort of information, and more details on what is in the book, would make this a more practical guide for someone who expects to visit the park more than once, or for someone coming for more than a day or two.