Sunday, April 10, 2011

Leaving the Last Frontier

Today we rolled out of Big Bend NP. It was getting so, so, so, so HOT. The park is half in the river basin and half in the mountains. At the river, temps are over 100 already, with limited shade. In the mountains it can be up to 20 degrees cooler, and there is shade to be had. Anyway, it was magnificent, but I would like to return in October. When they haven't been in drought for almost 8 months.

Friday night, we took a little hike into Boquillas Canyon. The trail winds down along the Rio Grande, with a great view of the city of Boquillas (the Mexican town just across the river). You climb down into the canyon and see how the river gouged out this beautiful place. There were horses that had crossed the river grazing on the grasses beside. It's a majestic place.

The next morning, it was the hot springs again. Trying to take advantage of them as much as possible. Fortunately, not many people frequent them- maybe they don't know about them. But you should certainly visit the hot springs if you are ever in Big Bend. Then, during the hottest part of the day, we headed up into the cooler Chisos mountains. We did a little hike out to what they call the Window, which has a great view of the park. The Chisos mountains are unique, and it was hard to get any photos to do them justice. The trail wound down the mountain, through several different types of terrain including a nice green treed area full of birds that I didn't know. The rocks were so many different colors because of all the minerals, and the sky was overcast meaning we were able to stay relatively cool.

The trail opened up to the window quite dramatically. The wind was crazy strong through here, and at the edge it just dropped straight down. It was a bit unnerving actually. But incredibly worth it. This is one of the more popular spots to see in the park, so I hear. And the hike is not difficult.

We took our time heading back to the hot river, though it was still burning up when we got there. We took a little walk before sunset on this trail next to the campground that had a great view of Boquillas and the Sierra del Carmen mountains.

Then last night one of the rangers gave a presentation on mountain lions. It was so so incredibly educational. This guy was a wildlife biologist and a ranger at Big Bend in the winter and Yellowstone in the summer. He explained the behavior of lions, the territory habits they have here in the park, and how to tell if a lion could pose a threat to you just by observing them. Apparently their coat turns reddish if they are nutritionally deficient (due to old age or the inexperience of youth, or injury). Typically this is the only time they would pursue a human (out of extreme and desperate hunger). I've seen mountain lions 3 or 4 times in Tucson, and they are so beautiful. It was nice to learn so much about them and know that they have an undisturbed home in the park.

Heading out of Big Bend, it's just more desert. Chihuahuan desert. There are a few small towns. We are in Sanderson now. When asking locals what there is to do here, they say "sit inside." It's just too hot to do anything. So I'm taking this time to be on the internet. Who knows when it will happen again.

Day 11 of being on the road, and the first night in over a week that I'll be sleeping within walls. It feels a little weird, but I'm grateful for some cool air and a nice shower. Living outside changes your skin so quickly- sunburn, bugbites, dirt, cuts, wind, etc. And I think it changes your soul even more quickly. Puts you more in touch with the elements, with the extremes. Makes you more pliable in a sense. Stronger, too. Part of the animal nature of being human. So many people try to deny this, but I think it is important to embrace this aspect of our existence. As important as embracing our divinity.

Well perhaps that's enough contemplation for one blog post. I hope this finds you well and alive and living your life to the utmost.

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