Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Big Bend

If you've been following me at Flickr or on Twitter, you'll have seen a few of these photos from our getaway to Big Bend National Park this week. I'll be posting more photos later, but I wanted to get out a quick post while I had wifi access and a little spare time on our last day here.

We got here Sunday afternoon and immediately had a bit of drama when the vet, where the dogs were being kenneled, called at the last possible moment of mobile reception to tell us that a lump we'd noticed on Pona's neck should probably be biopsied or removed. We had to make some quick decisions. All correspondence has been via spotty email, but Pona's mass was removed, it was benign (a histiocytoma) and he's right as rain. Can't wait to see him -- and Kate -- tomorrow.

On Monday, we hiked down to The Window, a pour-off out of the Chisos Mountains that drops several hundred feet to the desert below. Watch your step! After getting back, we drove the thirty miles down to Santa Elena Canyon where the Rio Grande has carved a deep divide through solid rock. It's just one of my favorite places on earth and I never tire of visiting it. You can't see it here, but the river follows the bluff along the Chihuahua side to the left for several miles, forming a steep wall.

Tuesday was our major hiking day. We did a 12-mile loop that went up the Pinnacles Trail to the top of the Chisos Mountains, up through Boot Canyon out to the South Rim, and then back through Laguna Meadows. We're sore today, but it was worth it. I first did this same hike half my lifetime ago, and it's gratifying to know that I can still do it.

We saw lots of Mexican Jays and other birds during our walk, but unlike four years ago, no bears. And, lucky for us, no mountain lions. Apparently, they've been getting a bit bold as the continuing drought forces them to seek water near the campgrounds.

Today, we headed to the east side of the park and drove down the rather primitive Old Ore Road to Ernst Tinaja. A tinaja is a hollowed out pool in a canyon stream bed, that, being somewhat deep, tends to hold water most of the time, even if the stream is dry. Since we'd had a storm the night before, it was quite full with dark, tannin-rich water. The folded pink and gray rocks around it are beautiful.

Afterwards, we headed to the newly re-opened border crossing and took a boat across to Boquillas del Carmen in Mexico. This town was hit hard when the crossing was shut down after 9/11, and it's good to see it open again. A nice guy named Gabriel gave us a ride into town -- in his truck, not on these burros -- and showed us around, and answered our questions. We grabbed a beer at one of the bars in town and bought a few trinkets from some of the local kids. It's a miracle this former mining town has hung on as long as it has -- here's hoping the tourists start coming back.

Heading back to Austin tomorrow. Oh -- and I didn't knit a stitch while I was here, even though I brought the sock I'm working on. I'll get back to it when I get home!



  1. Sounds like a great trip!

    Did you camp? Stay at the lodge inside the park? Or drive the REALLY long road to the hotels outside the park?

    We have got to take our boys here one day...

  2. I'd really like to go there someday.... And I'm glad Pona is going to be okay!

  3. Janelle: We stayed at the lodge inside the park. Camping? Where would I plug in my hair dryer?

    Janna: Pona is fine, and will continue to be if we can just keep him in the Cone of Shame.

  4. It was great reading about this, sounds like a magical place.