The Rio Grande forms the Texas 1,255-mile border with Mexico from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico. But it is only at Los Ebanos where people can cross the river not with a bridge but with a hand-pulled ferry.
The Los Ebanos ferry is a part of the border that time forgot. Tucked away in the southwestern corner of Hidalgo County this crossing has existed as a popular place to ford the Rio Grande since the days of Spanish colonization. Then like now the summer sound of the cicadas pulsate in the breeze.
The hand pulled ferry went into operation in the 1850’s and has seen few improvements since then. The ferry is still tethered by a thick rope tied around the base of a large Texas Ebony tree. And it’s still muscle power that propels the flat bottom barge from Texas to Mexico and back again.
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